Alfred Music have put out a number of Led Zeppelin music books over the years, but as a very amateur level player, I find that their guitar tablature titles are the easiest to use. In conjunction with the recent release of the concert DVD Celebration Day (which will be reviewed separately), they have just issued three excellent Led Zeppelin guitar TAB books, and a companion piece of sorts to last year’s Led Zeppelin Guitar TAB Anthology, this one for piano, with 20 songs notated. What makes the guitar books so special is that each focus on a full album, rather than being sort of a random “best of” as the earlier Led Zeppelin Guitar TAB Anthology was.
The first of these is Celebration Day, which features all 16 songs they performed at London’s O2 Arena on December 10, 2007. I suppose that this could be called a “best of,” as the set they performed that night was drawn from their entire career. What I found particularly impressive were the TABs for two songs from Physical Graffiti, “In My Time of Dying,” and “Kashmir.” Both of those songs are incredibly complex, yet with the TAB notation, at least there is something of a road-map to them for a guy like me.
The first eight pages of Celebration Day are in full color, and include shots of the band from the concert. After that is “Guitar Tablature Explained,” which shows the three different methods used. The methods employed are rhythm slashes, musical staves, and in tablature. When you see the methods explained and look how they are used in the sheet music, the notations become very clear. I think most people will opt for the tablature form, as it shows you exactly which strings and frets are to be used.
It sounds very basic, but believe me, even with this sort of a “cheat,” you still have to get the rhythm and intonations down. Jimmy Page is one of the world’s most respected guitarists for a reason. It must have taken an enormous amount of effort to reproduce what he does in tablature.
One of the keys in attempting to “crack the code” of Page’s playing are the various methods he uses in each song. “Directions for Special Notation” follows “Guitar Tablature Explained.” There are 16 examples which include various bends, slides, pull-offs, palm muffling, and more. In addition to the tablature transcriptions, the book also includes the chord symbols, chord diagrams, and lyrics for each song.