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Time for some more acoustic song here at RiffRiff.com! This is one of my favorite song maybe because of the finger picking style of playing the song or probably its those few songs that is dedicated to a father.
How to Play “Leader of the Band”
“Leader of the Band” is a song written by Dan Fogelberg. This song was from the album “The Innocent Age” which was released in 1981.
The song was written as a tribute to his father, a musician and who of course was a leader of the band. His name was Lawrence Fogelberg. Lawrence died in August 1982, a year after the song was released.
Released as a single at the end of 1981, the tribute peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1982. It became Fogelberg’s second #1 song on the Billboard adult contemporary chart, following his 1980 hit “Longer”.
How to Play Leader of the Band
You’ll need to know the guitar chords for the song and some Travis picking on the right hand in order to play “Leader of the Band”. No need to play this song note for note. If you get the rhythm of it and the main melody line, its fine and it would be singable.
The intro guitar chords for the song is:
Intro: G7 C Am Em D G (C/G) G (C/G) G (C/G) G
Now with those simple chords there are a lot of right hand action (finger picking). We’ll see how to play all those notes later, but let us first learn the basic, most simple melody of the intro of the song. Let’s point out those double stops and single note melody line that makes up the intro.
A double-stop is nothing more than two notes that you play at the same time. It falls somewhere between a single note (one note) and a chord (three or more notes). You can play a double-stop on adjacent strings or on nonadjacent strings (by skipping strings). You don’t need to do anything special in fretting the notes of a double-stop. Fret them the same way that you do chords or single notes. – Dummies.com
From the intro chords, the first chord is the G7 chord. The 7th note for G is the F note and so the first double stop that we’ll play is the F note on the 4th string and the D note on the second string. Later when we’ll do the complete intro via finger picking, the chord shape would be 3rd fret on the 6th string, 2nd on the 5th (string), 3rd on the 4th (string) that’s the 7th note of G major, open 3rd string, 3rd fret on the 2nd string and open 1st string (E).
The second double stop is on the C major chord with the 1st fret on the second string and 3rd fret on the 5th string (that’s the C notes one octave above the other).
Before we arrive on those notes, the melody line would be open E, D, C, B and back to C. Like these (shown in the video).
Next double notes are C on the 3rd fret 5th string and D on the 3rd fret 2nd string followed by open high E string, back to D on 2nd string and then C on the first fret on 2nd string.
The next double stop that would make up the melody of the intro is from the Am chord. That’s the open 5th string A and open 2nd string – B – followed by an immediate hammer-on on the 1st fret 2nd string. (Am chord)
After Am, the next chord is the Em and the two notes in play is the open 6th string and open B string 2nd string. This is followed by a hammer on and pulloff on the first fret 2nd string then release respectively.
Next chord is the D major chord. The two notes for the intro melody line is open 3rd string D and the second fret of the 1st string. And then the hammer-on pull-off combination on the 3rd string open to second fret followed by the 4th fret on the 4th string played by the pinky back to open 3rd string.
After that we play the G-C/G chord combination. We play the G bass, 3rd fret 6th string followed by open 4th and 2nd string with hammer-on on the first fret on 2nd string and 2nd fret on the 4th string. Do this 2 or 3 times and we’re done with the intro!
Below is the guitar tab for the song courtesy of GuitarAlliance.