This instrumental track “Wonderful Land” was originally made famous by the Shadows. It was first released in 1962. It then held at number one in the UK singles chart for eight weeks. The composer, Jerry Lordan, is also known for the big hit “Apache” recorded by the Shadows in 1960. “Wonderful Land” was recorded in 1961 with the line up at the time being Hank Marvin on lead guitar, Bruce Welch on guitar, Jet Harris on bass, and Tony Meehan on drums. Norrie Paramore, the producer, added the strings to the track sometime later. “Wonderful Land" has been covered by a number of artists including Mike Olfield, Mark Knopfler and Tony Iomi and probably not last and certainly not least our friend “OldGuitarMonkey” Dave Monk.
Click here for Wonderful Land PDF tab/notation
Get the 50 Greats Album version PDF
You can watch and listen to the video transcription below...
General Elements - Beginner Level
Melodically you really only need to be able to play open position notes within the first position on the guitar. If you aren’t ready for sixteenth note rhythms and don’t have any guitar effects devices or a whammy bar you can still, as a beginner, play this piece have fun and sound good. If enough people contact me I’d be happy to produce a video lesson of Wonderful Land for beginners.
Below is a version slowed to a tempo of 90 bpm (beats per minute) or 70% of original speed
Here below is also a super slow isolated MIDI generated melody (digital electronic reproduction). N.B. Youtube allows you to control speed too. So you can really slow this one down until its backing up! Good luck!
Wonderful Land has a lot of chord changes! It is written in the key of C but has various forays into related harmony. There is a total of seven chords to know if playing the rhythm guitar part.
Those chords are: G, D, F, C, Bb, Em and Dm. This is not really a concern for us here, as we are only learning the melody part. (Drop me an email if you are interested in a rhythm lesson and/or the harmonic breakdown of this track)
This transcription of Wonderful Land is based on the cover performance of “OldGuitarMonkey”.
I have purposely chosen the simplest fingerings with as many open strings as possible in the tablature/score. It could therefore be melodically assigned to the rank of upper level beginner *IF it weren’t for the Fifth and Seventh Sections of the Eight Section form:
[ Intro-AB-AC-AC-Outro]. *(You can simply play 8th notes here as a work around)
This repeated section C uses a delay effect contributing to the perceived rhythm which breaks away from the very playable whole, half, quarter and eighth note rhythms by adding a sixteenth note pattern (or, if you must, the semi breve, minim, crotchet, quaver and semiquaver notes).
I have heard, and seen, a live Wonderful Land performance (recording) of the man himself, Hank Marvin, (as well as other less known performers) getting sixteenth note triplets achieved by a single pick attack per pulse.
The use of music technology manipulation OR the use of picked sixteenth rhythm in performance is, either way, to me and the rest of us mortals, reason to bump it up to the rank of intermediate player and beyond.
When you also include subtle and skilful phrasing, dynamics, expert tone and use of a “whammy”, or “vibrato” bar, it can raise the level even higher.
In fact, when all elements are played well in combination, this pushes the level concept all the way up to the rank of advanced, as heard in the Wonderful Land cover version by our friend Mr. Monk the OldGuitarMonkey.
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