With all the travel I've been doing lately, I've just now gotten around to looking at the LickLibrary DVDs covering the recently released 2DVD series "Learn to Play Pink Floyd."
There's no doubt that David Gilmour's guitar playing in Pink Floyd is one of the most soulful and unique styles in rock and roll. Gilmour's playing is immediately recognizable with his distinct phrasings, extreme bends and classic bluesy Strat tones. But learning to play in the style of David Gilmour is not easy. He combines a lot of Pentatonic scales, hammer-ons, pull-offs, double stops and vibrato to pull off what he does. While there are plenty of Tab files out there that cover Pink Floyd, they aren't always accurate or complete. And even then, you're still missing a lot of information on exactly how to play the notes.
That's where LickLibrary comes in. These are fully authorized note-for-note recreations of classic Pink Floyd songs "Money," "Another Brick in the Wall (pt 2)," "Wish You Were Here," "Shine on You Crazy Diamond," and "Comfortably Numb." It's every Pink Floyd fan's dream to be able to play these songs. So how well do the DVDs do the job? Lets take a look.
One of the best things about LickLibrary is that they use top-notch talent to teach their DVDs. These are pro musicians who are not only great players, they know how to teach. Jamie Humphries is the instructor on the Pink Floyd series and he's got the chops that come with playing guitar since he was five years old. If Roger Waters ever decides to take "Dark Side of the Moon" back on tour, he could do worse than taking Humphries in as a stand-in for Gilmour. Heck, if Humphries put on about 60 pounds he could probably pass for the man himself.
"Wish You Were Here" is probably the easiest song among those included, and it's a good place to start. Humphries takes you through the chords that make up the song and then illustrates the rhythm. Once that's under control, the solo is a kind of counter-melody to the rhythm pattern. While it's not a complicated song, it's certainly easier to learn it from the video than from just reading the tabs or chords on line.
Other songs, like "Money" or "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" are considerably more complex. Still, Humphries breaks the songs down into their separate pieces so you learn the intro, the verse, the chorus, the solos and so on. He also explains the different guitar parts that are being played and provides just enough musical theory to get you going, for example, explaining key and time signatures changes, scales being used, blues forms, etc. Humphries also shows how to do the bends, slides and vibrato to channel your inner Gilmour.
It sounds easy, but you should expect to spend many hours, or more likely, days, learning these songs. Other than "Wish You Were Here," the rest of these songs are at an Intermediate level or higher. If you're not familiar with Pentatonic scales and finding notes around the fretboard, it might be hard slogging for a while. But the songs will give you plenty of incentive to learn what's needed.
Having an instructor right there on video makes learning these songs much easier than doing it on your own and it's more convenient for many people than taking an in-person guitar lesson. LickLibrary uses multiple camera angles to show what's going on with the both hands at the same time. There's also a set of complete performance videos that take you through each song in its entirety along with drums, bass and acompaniment. You could use these videos as backing tracks for your own practice.
If there's one minor shortcoming in this package, it's that it would be even better if they included on-screen chord diagrams and tabs in the lessons. For example, when Humprhies walks through a song, I would find it much easier if they showed on-screen chord diagrams at the start, and on-screen tabs to illustrate phrases in a solo. Maybe that's just my style, but I think it would make it easier to visualize some elements of the songs. If they included a booklet of printed tabs, then that would be another way to cover it.
All in all, if you're a fan of classic rock, this is a great DVD set to have. You get more than three hours of note-for-note instruction for under $50 (£25), less than you would pay for a single private lesson. Even if you just want to tackle one or two songs, it's a great value and can be used as a reference as you're building up your repertoire. You can buy them direct from LickLibrary or at Amazon as well as many guitar stores .
Check out the Learn to Play Pink Floyd series as well as the many other LickLibrary DVDs. Below is a YouTube excerpt from the QuickLicks series, also featuring instructor Jamie Humphries.