“We wanted to be able to cater to people who’ve literally never touched an instrument before,” says Mandy Smith, director of education. In five-minute video tutorials featuring the Hall’s educational staff, 16 tracks from inductees are used to teach skills on guitar, keyboard, bass and drums.
Here’s a sonic study guide, highlighting skills you’ll score on four tracks.
“About A Girl,” Nirvana (1989)
Learn the bass-ics on this example of Nirvana’s ear for moody melody. The track walks through the mechanics of string-plucking. “During the verses and part of the solo, there’s actually only two notes,” says Smith. “On the first, you just pluck it and it’s an open string. On the second, you just push down on one of the frets, or spaces on the neck, to change the note.”
“Smoke On The Water,” Deep Purple (1973)
Known for the iconic riff every guitar student plunks through, it illustrates power chords, the heavy two-note backbone of countless tracks. “We made it easier than what Richie Blackmore plays,” Smith says. “It’s hard for beginners to move between strings, so we moved the chords to be played on the thickest string closest to the top of the guitar.”
“1999,” Prince (1982)
The Purple One’s ode to the apocalypse showcases block chords, or notes played all at once that add a rhythmic underscore to the melody. “Those exact chords don’t appear in a lot of songs, but the idea of big block chords do,” says Smith. “It also introduces what synthesizers sounded like in the ’80s.”
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams,”Green Day (2004)
Feel tre cool on this alt-rock smash as you learn a standard backbeat pattern, what Smith calls the “rhythmic foundation for all rock ‘n roll.” “It lets you learn this very basic rock beat at a slower tempo. It’s the same drumbeat you’d hear in more traditional punk rock, just then, it’s a lot faster.”
8:00 AM EST
September 9, 2019