Last month, I presented some techniques, chord forms and licks that are commonly used for playing slide in open G tuning, which is sometimes referred to as “Spanish tuning” or “happy tuning.” This month, I’d like to offer a further investigation into the musical possibilities that open G tuning offers for slide playing.
Delta blues giant Robert Johnson is one of the most fascinating and mysterious performers in music history. He created an essential body of blues guitar music, recording 29 songs in 1936 and 1937 that would exert a powerful influence on the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Johnny Winter and many others.
In honor of the expansive new box set from Rounder Records, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective, we focused on his single-note soloing on classic Allman Brothers’ cuts like “Stormy Monday” and “Whipping Post.” This month’s column is dedicated to Duane’s mastery of the art of slide guitar.
Rounder Records offers ample testimony to the beauty as well as the breadth of Duane’s recorded work in the new, beautifully compiled box set Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective. In this edition of In Deep, we will examine some of the key elements of Duane’s signature style as a lead guitarist.
When jamming, guitarists are always challenged by the task of creating interesting, evolving rhythm parts behind a soloist. In my experiences, I have found the study of modal chord patterns and structures to be tremendously useful in this regard and endlessly interesting. I recently devoted a few columns to the study of building chord shapes, or “grips,” and patterns from modal structures.
One of the most commonly addressed topics with my students is how one goes about connecting scale positions while playing an improvised solo. Many guitarists learn licks that are played on certain strings in specific areas of the fretboard. In this lesson, I’ll demonstrate how to use chromatic passing tones to connect scale positions up and down the fretboard and how to introduce some unusual and unexpected melodic twists and turns.
Though most often associated with country music, harmonized lines built from the major pentatonic scale have found their way into a great many rock songs. For example, Jimi Hendrix built many of his lead and rhythm guitar parts from harmonized patterns based on the major pentatonic scale.
Freddie King is among the triumvirate of the greatest and most influential electric blues guitarists ever, revered with equal respect alongside the legendary blues gods B.B King and Albert King. Together, they are often referred to as "The Three Kings"—all complete masters of their craft and essential subjects of study for any inspiring blues guitar enthusiast.
With the growing popularity of rock music in the mid-to-late Sixties, a great many young up-and-coming musicians were inspired—and encouraged—to push the limits of the musical form beyond anything that had come before.