The Beatles were pop trailblazers and studio experimentalists, but the Fab Four also had a heavier side – and it laid the groundwork for the rock revolution that followed

The Beatles play Top of the Pops for the last time in 1966
(Image credit: Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns)

The aim of this lesson is to learn and apply some of the concepts behind the rockier side of the three guitar-playing Beatles. With a body of work as iconic and influential as theirs, studying and learning from their approach can benefit your own musicianship no end. 

The Beatles were rockers first and foremost, with influences like Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Scotty Moore and Carl Perkins. Blues and R&B were also key elements for their music, and that melting pot led to them crafting one of the heaviest songs before Black Sabbath.

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Jon Bishop

Jon Bishop is a UK-based guitarist and freelance musician, and a longtime contributor to Guitar Techniques and Total Guitar. He's a graduate of the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford and is touring and recording guitarist for British rock 'n' roll royalty Shakin’ Stevens.