Even though the steady picking pattern will most likely prove to be challenging, this a great song for beginners as well as experienced players to learn how to play.
Whole Lotta Love, by Led Zeppelin, was released in 1969, as part of their second record, Led Zeppelin II. This song includes a middle section that features extensive studio experimentation by Jimmy Page and engineer Eddie Kramer. If you listen closely, you can hear a Theremin instrument being played, as well as loosened guitar strings being pulled tight.
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Whole Lotta Love – Song Parts and Analysis
This song only has two parts, besides the “experimental middle,” and each part contains only a few chords, making this a great song for beginners to learn. The steady picking pattern will most likely prove to be the most challenging aspect of learning this song. We will cover the solo in a future article.
Key and Scale
This song is in the key of E Minor Dorian, which is a mode of the D Major scale, and each shares the same notes.
E Dorian = E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D
D Major = D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#
The Intro for Whole Lotta Love is five bars long and it begins with just the Guitar. The Bass Guitar enters a little more than half way through the third bar. The whole section looks like this. (Fig 1 and Fig 2)
There are only two chords in this section of Whole Lotta Love, so let’s take another look at them. (Fig 3)
These chords show us that the progression goes from a B Minor to an E5 chord, which known as a VI-I progression.
The Verse of Whole Lotta Love is almost identical to the Intro, but shortened to be one bar that repeats eight or more times. It looks like this. (Fig 4)
We can see the same two chords, B Minor and E5, with the same VI-I progression being used here in a slightly more condensed form than in the Intro.
For the Chorus we have another one-bar section that repeats, and is similar to the verse. In fact , the Bass Guitar doesn’t change a thing. It looks like this. (Fig 5)
This section does introduce a new chord, so let’s take another look at the ones in this section. (Fig 6)
We can see that the new progression, which is a I-VII, goes from E5 to D5.
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Interlude and Guitar Solo
The Interlude section is known as the “Freak Out,” and it begins with many bars (about 38), of experimental music and sounds, after which the Guitar Solo begins. The Guitar Solo is seven bars long and is a type of “question and answer,” in which the Rhythm Guitar “questions,” with two E5 chords and the Guitar Solo “answers them.” The Rhythm Guitar part is just one bar that repeats and looks like this. (Fig 7)
The Second Interlude is after the third Verse and Chorus and it is a Free Time section of music. The only part that we need to worry about here comes roughly about 12 bars in and it lasts for roughly four bars and looks like this. (Fig 8)
For Whole Lotta Love’s Guitar Solo, Jimmy Page uses the Wah pedal, but he just leaves it wide open. He starts the Solo with an E Blues lick in the 12th position. For the second lick he plays the E Pentatonic scale in the open position. The third lick returns to the 12th position and the last lick is an E Dorian run played at the 17th position. (Fig 9)
Song Form and Analysis
Once we have learned each of these parts we are ready to play Whole Lotta Love from start to finish.
A = Intro
B = Verse
C = Chorus
D = Interlude
E = Second Interlude
Whole Lotta Love = A, B(8x), C(4x), B(9x), C(4x), D, B(10x), C (4x), E, B(24x)