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Arlen Roth Lessons
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Most guitar players tend to only bend a whole-step, or two frets in length, without realizing that many times a half-step, or one-fret bend can be just as effective. In some cases it can even be more effective. The musical effect is totally different, and in many ways possesses a sweeter, more melodic sound than most of our usual whole-step bends.
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Today’s lesson features a time-honored technique for blues fingerstyle playing that is equally at home on the electric or acoustic guitar, but perhaps most at home on the acoustic. It evokes the great blues styles of folks like Robert Johnson, Skip James, Brownie McGhee and many others.
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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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“Dust My Broom” is one of the great Chicago Blues slide tunes as played by Elmore James and the Broomdusters, and the main lick is perhaps the most commonly used slide lick of all time. But it’s the second lick – or second verse lick – that we’re going to work with here.
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This position is extremely useful, and of course, it’s not ONLY a turnaround lick. In piano playing circles, however, it is one of the most recognizable licks of all, and so much so that it’s almost become a cliché. Ray Charles was a master of this lick, but you can also hear it in the playing of other piano greats such as Jerry Lee Lewis, and some of the great New Orleans players like Fats Domino and Dr. John.
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