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Arlen Roth Lessons
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Arlen Roth
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These are some of the most well-known and storied positions that come out of the major pentatonic positions, so favored by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts during the heyday of the Allman Brother Band. The position itself is an easy one to understand, but it’s the phrasing and the kind of runs that are created that make this Allman style so unique.
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This subject may seem just like another fingerpicking idea, but in this case, we are truly playing a lead “part” above the constant bass. Also, most of the time, we see this bass in the “shuffle” or “dotted 8th” form, whereas this exercise is based on straight 8th notes, played at a fairly rapid clip.
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This is a style and sound I first encountered while following the great Clarence White of The Byrds in the mid-to late ‘Sixties. Clarence, along with Gene Parsons, had invented the B-string bender. I did not realize that this was how he was getting his bending licks, so I simply started doing it with my fingers, emulating the more “mechanical” sound of the bender, and of pedal steel guitar, which is an instrument I was also starting to play at the time.
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A natural extension of the previous lesson, the "banjo rolls" I'm talking about are very strict right-hand and left-hand positions that simulate the "roll" of banjo licks, while still remaining truly guitar oriented. A great tool, they also can help with dampening, and learning to create patterns on the fly.
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This piece by the great Robert Johnson is one of the most identifiable slide songs and licks ever, and is an important part of slide guitar development for you. In this example, we are using open E tuning to play its classic main lick, as well as the famous slide fills it incorporates.
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