If you're a guitarist looking to add a touch of classic rock to your repertoire, delving into the legendary catalog of Kansas City might be your best bet. Kansas City, often referred to as simply "Kansas," is renowned for its epic sound, intricate guitar work, and timeless melodies. In this blog post, we'll take a journey through some of the best Kansas songs to play on the guitar, from iconic classics to hidden gems.
"Carry On Wayward Son"
"Carry On Wayward Son" is arguably Kansas's most recognizable hit. With its soaring vocals and electrifying guitar solos, this song is a must-learn for any guitarist. The intro features a powerful arpeggio sequence, and the song's energetic, riff-driven verses and chorus make it a joy to play. You'll also get to explore some blistering guitar solos that showcase the band's progressive rock prowess.
"Dust in the Wind"
For a change of pace, consider tackling the acoustic masterpiece "Dust in the Wind." This iconic ballad is a fantastic choice for fingerstyle guitar players. The song features a beautifully intricate picking pattern and heartfelt lyrics, making it an excellent option for solo performances. Learning to play "Dust in the Wind" not only adds to your guitar skills but also offers a heartfelt piece for your audience.
"Point of Know Return"
"Point of Know Return" is another gem in the Kansas catalog. It's known for its captivating intro riff and powerful chorus. The intricate guitar work throughout the song provides a great opportunity to hone your picking and fretting techniques. The song's dynamic shifts and instrumental sections allow you to explore the full range of your guitar-playing abilities.
"Song for America"
"Song for America" is a showcase of Kansas's progressive rock influences. The track is characterized by its complex composition and intricate instrumental passages. For guitarists seeking a challenge, this song offers an excellent opportunity to dive into intricate time signatures and explore the art of guitar composition.
A slightly lesser-known Kansas track, "The Wall," offers a delightful mix of acoustic and electric guitar work. The acoustic sections have a serene, folk-inspired quality, while the electric guitar parts bring in a rock edge. Learning "The Wall" can help you appreciate the band's versatility and their ability to blend different guitar styles within a single song.
"Portrait (He Knew)"
"Portrait (He Knew)" is a haunting and melodic piece with a beautiful acoustic guitar intro. The song is a great choice for those looking to incorporate more fingerpicking into their playing. It showcases Kansas's ability to create evocative, emotional music that resonates with the listener.
Tips for Learning Kansas Songs
Use Tablature: Tabs are a valuable resource for learning Kansas songs. They provide a visual representation of the guitar's fretboard and the finger positions for each note, making it easier to follow along.
Listen Actively: Pay attention to the nuances in the original recordings, such as the dynamics, tone, and expression. This will help you capture the essence of the songs as you play them.
Practice Slowly: Take your time to learn each section of a song, playing slowly and accurately. As you become more comfortable, gradually increase the tempo.
Experiment with Tone: Kansas used a variety of tones in their songs. Experiment with different settings on your guitar and amplifier to capture the right sound for each track.
Enjoy the Process: Playing Kansas songs is not just about mastering the notes; it's about immersing yourself in the music. Enjoy the journey of recreating the iconic Kansas sound.
Kansas's music offers a treasure trove of guitar material for enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you're a seasoned guitarist looking for a challenge or a beginner eager to explore classic rock, Kansas songs provide a rich and rewarding experience. By mastering these songs, you not only enhance your guitar skills but also pay homage to one of the great bands of rock history. So, pick up your guitar, turn up the volume, and start your journey through the best of Kansas on six strings.