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Arlen Roth Lessons
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Arlen Roth
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This is a classic variation on the kind of Blues guitar and bass unison lines that became so popular as the result of the great Chicago blues players. I’ve personally been playing this lick for years, even recording “Treat Her Right” on my second LP, Hot Pickups. If you listen carefully to the original recording by Roy Head and The Traits there are actually two guitars playing on this part. We’re going to be playing it as one part, homogenized together.
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The “Train Whistle” lick utilizes the technique of half-step bending, producing one of the most unique guitar sounds available to players. The lick has developed into two very distinct styles, or positions: one is the more standard folk-blues style, and the other is the more advanced two-string bend, which produces an almost Hawaiian-style approach.
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The alternating bass has an entirely different feel and stylistic bent compared with the constant bass in the last lesson, yet they are totally related to each other, and can even be interchangeable.
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This technique, made famous by many great players but most notably Jerry Reed, is usually created by using a thumb pick and fingers, or the hybrid “pick and finger” style. It’s basically a “grabbing” type action of the open positions, hence the “claw” name.
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Arlen Roth
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This is a unique, one-of-a-kind lick that really takes the banjo-like sound and raises it to a special level. I created this lick back in 1969 for my song “Upstate Rag,” which I originally played with my band Steel. We also performed the song in 1970 at the first anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, which was held at the actual site of Woodstock for thousands of campers. The same song also appeared as an acoustic piece on Guitar Harvest, as well as the full-band version on my 2005 CD, Landscape.
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