Classic Rock Guitar

Author: Joe Musella | Course Code: OGUIT-225

Learn composition, melodic soloing, chords, and licks in the styles of the classic rock guitar masters: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, The Allman Brothers, Jimmy Page, as well as modern masters Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Eric Johnson.

This course begins with a primer on the blues foundation of rock, covering minor pentatonic scales, 12-bar blues chords and rhythm, classic rock tunes that use the 12-bar form, and licks and scale sequences over the 12-bar blues. Then every week, students will study the selected works of a different classic rock master, including Clapton's "Crossroads" and "Layla," Hendrix's "Wind Cries Mary" and "All Along the Watchtower," Gilmour's "Comfortably Numb" and "Money," Beck's early blues work and later rock fusion tunes, and Page's "Good Times Bad Times" and "Kashmir," to name a few.

Through this analysis, students will learn methods of improvisation, phrasing, scales, chords, rhythms, fretboard mastery, and sound conception that are essential classic rock guitar techniques. The course will also explore modes and their use in rock improvisation.

Lesson 1: The Minor Pentatonic Scale, Basic Solo Technique, and the Blues Influence on Classic Rock

The Minor Pentatonic ScaleMinor Pentatonic Scale Rhythmic GroupingsThe Blues ProgressionReal World Blues Examples

Lesson 2: Eric Clapton: Bluesbreakers through Cream

Biography"Steppin' Out""Crossroads""White Room""Badge"

Lesson 3: Eric Clapton: Derek and the Dominos and Solo Work

"Layla""I Shot the Sheriff"/The Natural Minor Scale"Old Love"/Aeolian Mode"Cocaine"/Mixolydian Mode

Lesson 4: Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin

Biography"Good Times Bad Times""What Is and What Should Never Be""The Ocean""Ten Years Gone"

Lesson 5: Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin—Open Tunings and Acoustic Work

"Dancing Days""Kashmir""Over The Hills and Far Away""The Rain Song"—Original Page Open Tuning

Lesson 6: The Allman Brothers and the Major Pentatonic Scale

BiographyThe Major Pentatonic Scale in Five PositionsCombining Major and Minor Pentatonic"Blue Sky""In Memory of Elizabeth Reed""One Way Out""Melissa"

Lesson 7: Modes for the Rock Guitarist

What Are Modes?Modes in Position (Vertical)Modes Up and Down the Neck (Horizontal)Sequences—Triplets and Sixteenth Note Patterns—In Position and Up and Down the NeckModal Jam Recipe/Create Your Own Modal Jam

Lesson 8: David Gilmour and Pink Floyd

Biography"Time""Money""Another Brick In The Wall" (Part 2)"Comfortably Numb"

Lesson 9: Jeff Beck

Biography"Rock My Plimsoul""Freeway Jam""Cause We've Ended As Lovers""Come Dancing"

Lesson 10: Jimi Hendrix

Biography"Purple Haze""Red House""Little Wing""The Wind Cries Mary"

Lesson 11: Jimi Hendrix

"All Along the Watchtower""Spanish Castle Magic""Bold As Love""Voodoo Chile"

Lesson 12: Modern Masters

Joe Satriani: "Flying In A Blue Dream"Eric Johnson: "Cliffs Of Dover"Steve Vai: "For the Love of God"

Joe Musella

Author & Instructor

Joe Musella is a guitarist and music educator active in the Boston music scene. His rock quartet, the Joe Musella Group, performs internationally. Musella's recent collaborations include recording with Joe Vitale, the current drummer for Crosby, Stills and Nash, and with their bass player, David Santos. Other guitar work includes playing for theater productions and with the bands Freestyle and the Ginamark Band. As Assistant Professor of Guitar at Berklee, he developed and teaches the popular Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin course, and is developing a course on Eric Clapton. He is also a Berklee alumnus, and studied with Charlie Banacos and Mick Goodrick.

Kevin Belz


Kevin Belz is a versatile and well-rounded musician with years of playing experience, including extensive touring both internationally and nationally. Some of the names he has recorded with and/or played with include New Orleans piano great and legend Henry Butler, Susan Tedeschi from the Derek Trucks Tedeschi band, Blues great Duke Robillard, Ellis Hall of the Tower of Power band, Mighty Sam McClain, and Handy Award nominee Toni Lynn Washington, to name a few.

Along with his full schedule at Berklee as Assistant professor in the Guitar Department teaching Jazz, Rock and Blues styles, he also has a full schedule of playing live shows and records in and around the New England area. He has been a regular faculty member at Berklee College for the past 11 years.

Guitarists should have at least one year of playing experience and the ability to play some scales and chords on the guitar. Guitar tablature and some chord blocks, in addition to traditional notation, will be used throughout the course.


PC Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, Internet Explorer 10 or higherMac Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, SafariFlash Player: current versionQuickTime: current versionAdobe Reader: current versionAmazing Slow Downer from Roni Music ( basic audio recording tool that will allow you to record yourself playing along with a background track and save the recording in MP3 format. You will have a tool to use for this purpose inside the learning environment. Alternatively, you can use software like Audacity or GarageBand.
Windows Vista SP2 or higherIntel Pentium 4 or higher1 GB RAM500 MB hard drive space recommendedSound card
OS X 10.7 or higherIntel Mac2 GB RAM500 MB hard drive space recommended
Electric or acoustic electric guitar with a basic amp chord and a 1/4 to 1/8 adapter for recording directly into the computer.Speakers or headphones for your computerA built-in microphone or an external microphone plugged directly into your computer (via built in ports or an external audio interface).


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Next Term Starts June 27

  • Level
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition Add 6 CEUs
    $1,200 + $25

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