Guitar Lesson Intermediate Players: Learn To Play “The Apostle” by Peter Green





Hello, today we will be looking at a Peter Green Song. It is called ” Apostle” and is from the late 70s, from the “In the Skies” album. Peter Green started out with John Mayall  and the BluesBreakers. He replaced Eric Clapton who had left the BluesBreakers to form Cream later on. Peter Green only stayed for one album with the BluesBreakers and then went on to create Fleedwood Mack.

It is worth to check out all the guitarists from this period ==1960s upto late 1970s== as a lot of those guitarplayers had a lot in common, they all had their roots in bluesmusic, but they all developed their own styles and sound. A few names who come to mind are Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jeff Beck and Jimi Page. Next to them it may be worth looking at Keith Richards and Mick Taylor. From all of these guitarplayers Jeff Beck may be the most interesting and prolific player, but then again, that may be just my own personal taste………..

Compared to the list of players mentioned before Peter Green is certainly one of the guitarplayers who seemed to be able to create great melodic compostitions at the time. Think of Albatros and Black Magic Woman, as both songs do contain a memoriable melody. It is this side of his musicianship which comes back in his later period, from the late 1970s up to early 1980s. During this period he made some albums which do not really sound much like any of the Fleetwood Mack material he had been associated with before.

Before I will carry on with the rest of this lesson first have a listen to the song we will be looking at: Listen to the chords and the three different parts which makes up this song. It sounds reallly simple but melodic at the same time.

The first part of the song contains just two chords: Em and G, You can finger them like this:

      Em           G

       x            x
       x            x
       0            0                                        Notice that I do not play the top two strings, this for the melody
       2            0                                          to come out better! 
       2            2
       0            3

        Now have a look at these two E minor scalepatterns as they are slightly different from what you would expect them to be:

     E —————————————————————————-(0)———————————

     B ———————————————————0—–2—–3—————————————– 

     G ——————————————–0—-2————————————————————-

     D —————————0—(2)—-4————————————————————————

     A ————–0–2—4——————————————————————————————

     E –(0)–2–3—————————————————————————————————– 


     E —————————————————————————————————————–

     B ————————————————————————2—-3—–(5)————————–

     G ———————————————————–2—–4———————————————-

     D ————————————–(2)—–4—-5————————————————————

     A ———————–2—-4—-5——————————————————————————

     E –(0)—2–3—5————————————————————————————————

 Here is the Melody of the first part including the chords. It is an 8 bar section played twice. Each line     contains two bars. The chords are played two strums per bar.

          Em                   G                                     Em               G
     E ——————————————         —0—————————
     B—————–0—3——2——-0—–         ——-3——2——0—0—-
     G ——-0–2——————————-          ——————————–

     D —2————————————–          ——————————–

     A ——————————————-          ———————————

     E ——————————————-           ——————————–

          Em                        G                                 Em       G

     E ——————————————            -0—————————————
     B ——————0—–3——-2—0—             –3–2————————————
                    H                                                                                Slide
     G ——-0—2—————————–             ——–4—2—-0–(2)—4—0———-

     D—2————————————–              —————————————2—

     A ——————————————              ——————————————-

     E ——————————————-             ——————————————-

           Em                     G                                        Em                     G

      E —————————————                ————————————————

      B —————————————                ————————————————

      G —————————————                ————————————————
             Pull                Slide                                       H  Pull
      D –2—0———-(2)–4—2–0——-                –0—2–0————————————-

      A ————-2———————-2–                —————2——————————–
      E —————————————–               ———————-3——0——————

           Em                 G                                           Em                             G
       E ————————————–                ————————————————–

       B ————————————–                ————————————————–

       G ————————————–                ————————————————–   Repeat
              Pull          Slide                                                                                                      all 8 Bars
       D –2–0——(2)–4—-2————-                 ———-2———-2—————————  once again!

       A ———2——————-5—-2—               —5———————————————–

       E —————————————-              —————————————————-

                  Pull= Pull-Off, H= Hammer-On, ~= Vibrato


     Here are the Chordshapes for the Second Part:

            Am                      # Am   D

       E —5—-3—-0—————0—–2—-

       B —5—-3—-0—————1—–3—-

       G —5—-4—-1—————2—–2—-           N.B: Observe different fingering for Am at #

       D —7—-5—-2—————2—–0—-

       A ——————————————

       E ——————————————

             Here is the pickingpattern for playing the chords:


        E —————————5—————————-

        B ————-5——————5———–5———-

        G ——-5———5——————-5—————-

        D —7————————————————

        A —————————————————–

        E —————————————————–

Count: One And Two And    Three And Four     And

                         N.B:  Picking Pattern is similar for all chords! Careful with the picking for the half bar chords, the rhythm stays the same but the strings will be different, each part of the Beat is played, make sure you play 8 strings per bar!! Observe the different fingering for the Am chord near the end of the full sequence, it is indicated by #.

The beauty of this sequence lies in the half Barre Chords, and how they move the music along, the different fingering for the Am chord is used to preserve the linearity of the sound. Get used to this kind of playing as it will improve your chordplaying a lot. Do not jumps up and down the fretboard like a Clown! Only do this when you want to sound like a Clown!! And yes, there will be times when you just want this.


Here is the full chordsequence, play it with the given pickingpattern, play it slowly at first making sure you get the fingering and the counting right!

             Am        Am  G       Am        Am

             Am        G              Am        Am

             G           E              #Am       D                   N.B:# = OPEN CHORD of Am

           #Am       #Am


                         Here is the Melody of the second part:

           Am                         Am                       Am                         Am

      E ——————–   ———————–   ——————–      ————————-

      B ——————–   ———————–   ——————–      ————————-
             *Hold until next bar
      G –9—————-    –9–7—5—-4——   ———————     ————————-
      D ——————-    ——————-5—  –7—-(9)—7——     ————————-

      A –7—————-    –7–5—3—-2——-  ———————-     ————————-

      E ——————–    ——————-3—  –5—-(7)—5——    ————————–

Count: 1and 2 and 3 and 4       1   and two 34 and     1     and   234

           Am                        G                              Am                               Am
      E ——————-    ———————–    ———————-     ———————————–
      B ——————-    –8——————–   –10—12—11——     ———————————–

      G –9—————     ———————–   ———————–     ———————————-

      D ——————     –5——————–    –7—-9—-10——-     ———————————-

      A –7—————     ———————–    ————————   ———————————-

      E ——————-     ———————–    ————————   ———————————-

Count:  12 34                      1234                           1     2      34

               G                        E                                  Am                            D                    
        E –10————–  –7——————      –(8)–7–5————-   —————————–
                                                                                          Slide                                 Slide
      B ——————-  ———————      —————–(7)–9–    –7—————(7)—9—

      G –7—————  –4——————      –(5)–4–2————-    —————————–

      D ——————   ———————-     —————–(8)–7–    –5—————(5)—7—

      A ——————   ———————–    ————————–    ——————————

      E ——————   ————————   ————————–    ——————————

Count:  1 234                  1 234                           1   2    34          and        1234                       and

             Am                      Am

       E ——————    ———————–

       B –5—4—-2—–    ———————–

       G ——————    ———————–      Repeat Whole Melody Once Again!

       D –3—2—-0—–    ———————–

       A ——————     ———————–

       E ——————     ————————

Count:  1   2      34              

N.B: Whole Melody Second Part Contains of Octaves, You Can Play Them With Your Fingers Using Pinch Technique,  Or Use Plectrum While Observing You Only Play Two Strings At a Time. Observe The Counting And Play Carefully Melody While You Count ( And Feel) The Melody!

                                   Here are the Chords for the Third Part:


                 E      Am    G7

  E —–3——0—–0—–1—————————————–

  B —–0——0—–1—–0—————————————–

  G —–0——1—–2—–0—————————————–

  D —- 0——2—–2—–0——————————————

  A —–2——2—–0—–2——————————————

  E —–3——0———– 3——————————————

                        The Chords are Organised in Four Bars, They Read as Follows:

    G     Am Am    G  G7   Am  E

                    Play them by using two strums for each chord, hold the final E Chord.

          Here is the Melody for the Third Part in Open Postion:

                              E                     Am                                                  G7                  Am              E

  E ————–0———     ——————————–  —————-0–1–5–3–    —————————

  B —–0–1-3—-3–1–0     ———0–1—3—1—0—–  ——0–1–3—————    ——-0–1-0————-

  G –2———————     —–2————————2- –2————————–    —–2———2–0——

  D ————————      –2—————————–  —————————–     –2—————–3–2

  A ————————-     ———————————  —————————–    ————————-

  E ————————-     ———————————  ——————————   ————————-

Count:         1  2and3 4                       1   2   and 3  4                     1   2 and3 4                   1 2and3and 4

             Observe where the chords are, notice that the first 3 notes of the melody are left without counting, you can treat them as an extra triplet, come in with the chord when you start counting. Dividing  the rhythm up in this way makes it easier to feel the song.


Some of you may say that the Melody of the third part  should be played higher up the fretboard. True!!, instead of me writing this one out for you,  I will give a hint how to play this: Play exactly the same as written but start on fret 14 on the G-string. You will now be playing in the 12th postion of the guitar, and yes, the melody is played up there in the song! I have chosen for the open postion as it may be easier for the folks who play an acoustic without a cutaway. If you can play the guitar the melody should not give you any trouble anyway! 

              Structure of the Song:

             First Part   2x
         Second Part   2x
            Third Part   1x
         Second Part   1x and finish

Ideas for Further Study:

This song is a good example of how to create a melody over a given chordsequence. Instead of me analysing the song I will give you an idea how you can analyse the song for yourself: Write down all the notenames of the melody, look at the chords, and see if you can find the relation between chord and melodynotes. Write also the notes of the chords down, now you really start to see which notes do reappear when you play the melody.

Why do I not analyse this song for you then? Sometimes it may be better just to play a little song you have been given without thinking about it too much, if you are hungry for more, go ahead and analyse the notes. You will learn a lot from it, it may take you a little time, but then again, think about how long it took you to learn to speak, write and walk.


Have a wonderful time and hope to see you next time for some Festive Songs.