You know you want to play Stairway to Heaven!

Mar 30, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Stairway!

Cons:Not really COMPLETE, just the first five albums.

The Bottom Line: Every guitarist wants to know some Zeppelin! But remember, many music stores forbid playing Stairway to Heaven


Growing up my second favorite band of all time was Led Zeppelin. (my favorite is Pink Floyd). The first time I tried to learn guitar was as a teenager, and I bought a student guitar that was the spitting image of Jimmy Page's sunburst Gibson Les Paul (although it said Global above the diamond design instead of Gibson). Like any other teenager, I wanted to be able to play Zeppelin's classic song Stairway to Heaven and one of my talented friends actually was able to teach me the first few measures. It was over 20 years from the time that I sold that guitar and decided to take it up again as an adult after my son started to learn to play. Although he is only 12, he had already been listening to and burning my collection of classic rock discs, and one of the first bands he wanted to learn songs by was Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin Complete is a huge Tab Book with all the songs from Led Zeppelin I, II, III, IV and Houses of the Holy. The book contains the music, tab and lyrics for 44 songs. For those of you who don't have the contents of each classic Zeppelin album memorized that includes such classics as Black Dog, Thank You, You Shook Me, Communication Breakdown, Good Times Bad Times, Heartbreaker, Livin Lovin Maid (She's Just a Woman), Rock n' Roll, Moby Dick, Going to California, Battle of Evermore and of course the classic radio staple Stairway to Heaven.

Tab is an easy to understand notation for how to play music on guitar without actually knowing how to play music. Even if one does know how to read music, tab is handy for knowing where on the fretboard to play particular notes, since many notes are repeated on the neck of the guitar.

So in TAB the opening notes of the most famous song in rock history!

___________5____7_______7___ E (high)
________5__________5________ B
_____5________________5_____ G
__7_____________6___________ D
____________________________ A
____________________________ E (low)

Each line represents a string on your guitar from the low E (the string at the top of the guitar with lowest sound) to the high E. The numbers are the fret that your finger should be on and play. Chord formations are above each bar as well, so the book actually shows you how to place your hand. For example the first 4 notes you hold your hand in an Am Chord, using your first finger to bar the fifth fret, and your second finger on the 7th. Then you simply play each note. This particular part of the song is finger plucked to get the harmonious sounds of the non adjacent played strings (here the 6 on the D and 7 on the high E). I did note that the book doesn't mention that it should be finger plucked. The strumming part comes later. Those notes are probably some of the most recognizable in rock. It always reminds me of the scene in Wayne's World when Wayne takes down a Stratocaster and starts to play it. The store owner simply points to sign that says NO STAIRWAY!. It is a running joke at the music store, Crossroads, where my son and I take lessons. Anyone who starts to play Stairway gets the No Stairway! comment.

Difficulty Level

The book is labeled as intermediate, and the songs range from relatively easy to pick up to quite difficult. Stairway itself for example is not really an easy song, it has many parts to it, and changes styles of guitar playing a number of times. On the other hand my son has mastered Rock n' Roll and Black Dog quite well and impresses both my friends and his friends with his playing. (Of course my friends actually recognize and remember the songs, my son laments that not many kids his age know Led Zeppelin).

Accuracy

Our guitar teacher is quite excellent at tabbing out songs. He noted that he would play some of the songs differently than they are tabbed in here. There is nothing in the book to indicate that this is the official note for note transcription of the songs or that this is exactly the way that Jimmy Page plays these songs. However, for the most part, I did find that playing them as indicated, they all do sound like the songs. Some songs do seem simplified. There are a number of ways to play songs and I found the transcriptions to be pretty good.

Value

This was actually the first guitar TAB book I ever bought, but for the longest time, but my son had it in his room, and I didn't know where it was, so I couldn't play anything or review it! It cost $25.00 which is a bargain, because I have seen individual TAB books for each of the Led Zeppelin albums and they cost $20.00 each.

Not Included

You will need to provide your own sunburst Gibson Les Paul, Marshall Amplifier and black pants and shirt with flowers embroidered on them. Moreover Dazed and Confused does not have the instructions for the live version with the violin bow solo, it only has the studio version.

Summary

Led Zeppelin Complete allows you to live the dream and play the songs of Led Zeppelin. hey hey mama gonna make you move, gonna make you sweat gonna make you groove. The songs in this book don't seem as detailed as Tab books with note for note transcriptions. However, to get you started playing Led Zeppelin this book is very good. I gave it four stars.

Other TAB books and Guitar Books

The Best of AC/DC
The Beatles - Abbey Road
Black Sabbath Tab Book
Franz Ferdinand
Guns N' Roses Complete
Metallica - Ride the Lightning
Metallica .. and Justice for All
The Rolling Stones Singles Collection - The London Years / Guitar Tab Edition
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Lightning Blues Lead Guitar
Neil Young Anthology

Chord Master - How to Choose and play the right guitar chords
Total Scales Technique and Application
Electric Guitars - The Illustrated Encyclopedia


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