How to Play Guitar Like Deep Purple

Hi All,

This lesson is how to play guitar like Deep Purple, Its the ‘Black Knight’ riffs. Before we start the video lesson of how to play ‘Black Knight’ here is a bit of history of the band for you.

Deep Purple

Deep Purple is a classic hard rock band that overcame the side-effects of line-up changes and sustained success with a consistently heavy, agile, progressive sound. Pioneers of heavy metal; with 18 studio albums and over 20 live ones, Deep Purple is considered one the hardest touring bands of all time.

The origin of Deep Purple dates back to 1967 when a mega-band was idealized by former Searchers drummer, Chris Curtis. By means of Curtis’ recruit and management of HEC enterprises, vocalist Rod Evans, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, keyboardist Jon Lord, drummer Ian Paice and bassist Nick Simper came together to form ‘Roundabout’.
After obtaining their first gig in Denmark on April 20th they continued to tour the rest of the country. Soon after, they changed their name to Deep Purple, making mention of Blackmore’s grandmother’s high regard for the Bing Crosby song.

The Replacements

Deep Purple gained rapid success, placing #4 on the US Billboard for their cover of John South’s ‘Hush’ featured in ‘Deep Shades of Purple’, and supporting Cream during their ‘Goodbye’ tour.  Their supple hard rock sound immediately impacted the U.K. and U.S. alike.
During early 1969 however, style differences amongst members caused Paice, Blackmore and Lord to furtively agree to the replacement of Simper and Evans. With assistance of Episode Six’ drummer Mick Underwood, secret sessions were programmed for the conscription of vocalist Ian Gillian and bassist Roger Glover. Still uninformed, Simper and Evans continued to play for Deep Purple while rehearsals and recordings were already underway for the new line-up, Mark II. The unpleasant news came to light eventually and Deep Purple Mark I performed their last show at the Cardiff Top Rank, to be followed only six days later by Mark’s II first performance in London.


                             Black Night

Subsequently, Mark’s I album ‘Deep Purple’ was released in the U.S. with broad acclaim.
The new line-up gained unfocused recognition by collaborating in Jon Lord’s orchestral epic solo project with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as in ‘Gemini Suite’, another of Lord’s orchestral compositions. The group, however, was looking to project a different musical scope; a less classical, more hard-rock, heavier style of play. This being perhaps the reason to the title of their 1970 album ‘In Rock’, which placed #4 on the UK charts. Thereafter, the UK single ‘Black Night’ was released, rapidly climbing to the Top 10 rankings.
Their ’71 follow-up ‘Fireball’ was smoother and clearly more progressive than the predecessors yet as widely commended. The band traveled to a Casino Hotel in Montreux, Switzerland to record ‘Machine Head’; probably one of the most recognized rock albums in its history. The compilation features the hit “Smoke on the Water”, inspired by the incineration of the recording studio that the group was to use for ‘Machine Head’, which burned down during a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention session.

Made in Japan

In 1972, Deep Purple underwent four US tours and one tour in Japan, which gave place to the release of the iconic live album ‘Made in Japan’. Even though predicted a Japan-only release, the live album was, and still remains, globally acclaimed.

In late ’72 member differences between Gillian and Blackmore provoked Gillian to quit the band. Blackmore was given free creative control to craft his vision fully and Gillian agreed to fill in for the tour’s remaining bookings. The follow-up ‘Who do we think we are’ was released in March 1973, not receiving much attention and marking the end of Deep Purple’s Mark II.
Vocalist David Cloverdale and bassist Glenn Hughes were successfully auditioned and enlisted, leaving bassist Roger Glover in the dark and persuading him to leave before being pushed out.
Under Mark III Deep Purple toured the US, gathering crowds of up to 200,000 people in the California Jam Festival.  In 1974 they released two albums, ‘Burn’ and ‘Stormbringer’, both achieving thriving results.

Goodbye Deep Purple Hello Rainbow

In 1975 the line-up was modified again when Blackmore left the band dissatisfied with its course. He moved on to form Rainbow and talented guitarist and writer Tommy Bolin joined in his replacement. The release of ‘Come Taste the Band’ came thereafter, proving Bolin’s abilities and exposing a more jazz-funky, yet still hard rockish Deep Purple.
Drug addiction overcame both Hughes and Bolin, putting the band in danger and paving the way to their dissolution in July 1976. On December 4th of the same year, Tommy Bolin died overdosing on heroin at the age of 25.
After the dissolution, Blackmore’s Rainbow; Cloverdale’s Whitesnake; Glenn Hughes in Black Sabbath and Gillans Gillan all aided in the continuing success of the broken Deep Purple.

An unauthorized version of the band by Rod Evans emerged in 1980, but the remaining members took legal action and stripped Evans of $672,000 for damages.
The imminent reunion occurred on April 1984, faithful to the early 70’s lineup. Blackmore, Glover, Gillian, Lord and Paice released ‘Perfect Strangers’, an enormous and very profitable success. The reconstituted group toured and released ‘House of Blue Light’’ and ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ in ‘87 and ‘88 respectively.

The Battle Rages On

During 1989 confrontations persisted between Blackmore and Gillan resultant in the latter’s firing. Rainbow vocalist J. Lynn Turner stepped up in his replacement, releasing under this new arrangement ‘Slaves & Masters’ in 1990.
Turner didn’t prove strong to the band and label, and in 1993 Gillan was discreetly brought back. A paid contract was signed with Blackmore for his approval and the group released ‘The Battle Rages On’. Nevertheless, tension continued to grow and Blackmore desisted. Steve Morse filled in the slot.
Deep Purple continued to succeed despite the changing line-ups. ‘Purpendicular’ and ‘abandon’ were released before Lord moved on to do solo orchestral work, being later substituted by Don Airey. Succeeding albums of this arrangement include ‘Bananas’ and ‘Rupture of the Deep’.

Currently and under this last line-up, the band is heading to Europe for the Deep Purple 40 Year anniversary Tour.

Did you take that all in? Good! Then, on with the lesson



2 thoughts on “How to Play Guitar Like Deep Purple

  1. hey hellen just got my youngest onto tonys website he is practising on tonys guitar hope everything is well

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