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.
Often when jamming, guitarists are required to play rhythm accompaniment for long stretches of time over repeating chord progressions or vamps. This can be tedious and monotonous for the player (as well as the listener), but it doesn’t have to be.
As touring guitarist for Great Southern, the group formed by Allman Brothers Band founding guitarist Dickey Betts, I’m required to lay down musical rhythm parts behind extended solos on songs like “Blue Sky” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” It’s a challenge to craft supportive rhythm parts that will enhance the power of the soloing instrument while locking in with the rhythm section.
Born from the boogie-woogie sounds of jazz piano in the very early 20th century, the swinging shuffle groove is built from an insistent and repetitive forward-leaning rhythm that is generally written in 12/8 meter—wherein four consecutive beats are each subdivided into three evenly spaced eighth notes—and comprises a repeating quarter-note/eighth-note rhythm that sounds like “da—da, da—da, da—da, da—da.”
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.
Over the past two columns, we covered many of the common chord forms and licks used when playing slide guitar in open G tuning (low to high, D G D G B D).
If you have gone through all of the examples illustrated in these past two In Deep columns, you should have a strong grasp of how the licks in an open G tuning “fall” on the fretboard. Now we will transpose those licks to open D tuning.
Forrest Richard “Dickey” Betts, founding member of the legendary Allman Brothers Band, successful solo artist and leader of his own ensemble, Great Southern, possesses one of the most distinct and influential guitar styles in the history of rock. In this edition of In Deep, we’ll take a look at a few of the scales Dickey relies on most when weaving his classic solos and melodic patterns.
Even casual fans of jazz and blues guitar are likely to be familiar with the names T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt, all towering figures of blues and jazz who are rightfully revered as three of the greatest and most influential guitarists of all time.
But far fewer are aware of the incredible playing of Lonnie Johnson, a truly brilliant guitarist and violinist (he also studied piano and mandolin, among other instruments) who was performing and recording well before any of the other three.