Led Zeppelin III - A comprehensive guide for guitarists
Guitar Lessons for the album by Danny Gill
Released on October 5, 1970, Led Zeppelin III is the third studio album by the legendary English rock band Led Zeppelin. The album showcased the band's versatility, as it deviated from the heavy blues-rock sound that they were known for and explored more acoustic and folk-inspired elements.
In this course, LickLibrary veteran, Danny Gill walks you through the many highlights of each song from the rock giants one phrase at a time, including all of Jimmy Page’s legendary guitar parts from the tracks; “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” “Gallows Pole,” and the epic “Immigrant Song.” In this article, we will dive deep into each song, analyse the guitar scales, solos, and discuss the contributions of the lead guitarist, Jimmy Page, to the album.
1. Immigrant Song
This iconic song starts with a powerful riff in F# minor. The main riff is based on the F# Phrygian dominant scale, which gives the song an exotic, Eastern feel. The verses feature a simple yet effective power-chord progression that provides a solid foundation for Robert Plant's soaring vocals. The song doesn't feature a traditional guitar solo but has an instrumental break that emphasizes the main riff and adds a sense of urgency to the track.
"Friends" is an acoustic-driven song in C6 tuning (C-A-C-G-C-E). The song features a unique, Eastern-sounding C9sus4 chord as its main hook. The acoustic guitar playing throughout the song is characterized by intricate finger-picking patterns and syncopated rhythms. Although there is no conventional guitar solo, the song's mesmerising guitar work and exotic sound make it a standout track on the album.
3. Celebration Day
This up-tempo rock song is in A major and features a catchy, syncopated main riff using open-string riffs and power chords. The verses are driven by a galloping rhythm, while the chorus is marked by a powerful chord progression that highlights the song's energetic vibe. The guitar solo showcases Page's ability to create memorable melodies using slides, string bending, and bluesy bends in the A Mixolydian scale.
4. Since I've Been Loving You
A blues ballad in C minor, "Since I've Been Loving You" features a soulful and emotive guitar solo that is considered one of Page's finest works. The solo makes extensive use of the C minor pentatonic scale, incorporating techniques such as vibrato, string bending, and legato. The song also features a beautiful arpeggiated chord progression in the verses, demonstrating Page's ability to create compelling guitar parts that complement the song's emotional intensity.
5. Out on the Tiles
"Out on the Tiles" is a heavy rock song in D major, driven by a powerful main riff that employs slides and power chords. The verses and chorus showcase Page's rhythmic prowess with syncopated rhythms and palm-muted power chords. The guitar solo is short yet impactful, utilizing the D Mixolydian scale and techniques such as alternate picking and string bending.
6. Gallows Pole
This folk-rock adaptation of a traditional ballad is played in standard tuning, with a capo on the third fret. The song features finger-picking patterns and open-string riffs, as well as a striking progression of arpeggiated chord progressions. Although the song doesn't have a guitar solo, the various guitar layers and rhythmic variations make it a fascinating track for guitarists to study.
"Tangerine" is an acoustic ballad in G major that showcases Page's finger-picking skills. The song's beautiful, arpeggiated chord progressions serve as the perfect backdrop for Plant's nostalgic vocals. The guitar solo, played on an electric guitar with a slide, makes use of the G major pentatonic scale and features a delicate melody that adds to the song's wistful atmosphere.
8. That's the Way
This acoustic track is in D major and features intricate finger-picking patterns throughout. Page utilises a combination of open chords, hammer-ons, and pull-offs to create a captivating melodic foundation for the song. The track doesn't have a traditional guitar solo, but the subtleties in Page's finger-picking technique and his ability to weave melodic lines through the chords make this song a must-study for any guitarist interested in acoustic playing.
9. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
"Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" is a lively, acoustic country-blues track in the key of D major. Page employs an alternating bassline finger-picking technique called Travis picking. The song is characterised by its percussive and rhythmic playing style, which complements the upbeat, foot-stomping nature of the song. While there isn't a standard guitar solo, the intricate finger-picking and rhythmic variations throughout the song provide an engaging and challenging study for guitarists.
10. Hats Off to (Roy) Harper
This experimental blues track is played in open G tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D) and features extensive use of slide guitar techniques. The song pays tribute to British folk singer Roy Harper and has a raw, unpolished quality. The guitar work on this track showcases Page's affinity for the blues, incorporating slides, string bending, and vibrato, resulting in a distinctive and hypnotic sound.
Jimmy Page's Contribution to Led Zeppelin III
Jimmy Page's contribution to Led Zeppelin III cannot be overstated. As the band's guitarist, producer, and primary songwriter, Page was instrumental in shaping the album's diverse and innovative sound. His ability to seamlessly blend various styles, such as heavy rock, blues, folk, and acoustic, while incorporating a wide array of guitar techniques, is a testament to his exceptional musicianship and vision.
On Led Zeppelin III, Page showcased his mastery of both electric and acoustic guitar, as well as his expertise in altered tunings and finger-picking techniques. His solos are marked by their emotional intensity, memorable melodies, and technical prowess, while his rhythm playing provides the perfect foundation for the band's powerful sound. This album demonstrates Page's versatility as a guitarist and his willingness to push the boundaries of rock music.
In conclusion, Led Zeppelin III is an essential album for guitarists to study and appreciate. It demonstrates the band's impressive versatility and ability to push the boundaries of rock music, while also showcasing Jimmy Page's exceptional skills as a guitarist, songwriter, and producer. By analysing each song and exploring the various guitar techniques used throughout the album, guitarists can gain valuable insight into the creative process of one of the most influential rock bands of all time.
Techniques Used on Led Zeppelin III
Below is a list of guitar techniques used throughout Led Zeppelin III, along with corresponding links to learn more about each technique:
- Alternate Picking
- Power Chords
- Palm Muting
- Travis Picking
- String Bending
- Syncopated Rhythms
- Open-string Riffs
- Hybrid Picking
- Altered Tunings
- Arpeggiated Chord Progressions
- Bluesy Bends
About The Tutor
Danny Gill is, without a doubt, the most loved tutor by our community. With an incredible array of DVDs and web lessons for LickLibrary covering a wide variety of topics all of which he covers with incredible detail, it's no wonder he carries as much respect as he does. As...