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Arlen Roth Lessons
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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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This was one of the first blues chord “inflections” that I discovered in my formative years, listening to folks like Mike Bloomfield and T-Bone Walker. It’s very easy to imitate the sound, but it took me a while to actually discover that these slides came from 9th chords!!
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Today’s lesson is going to show you perhaps the No. 1 reason for B.B King’s incredibly recognizable style and technique. Even though he is a truly masterful and complex guitarist, he has over the years been whittling his style down to some very basic “signature” licks and runs that are instantly identifiable, such as the ones I’m about to show you.
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This approach towards slide guitar is often neglected by players who want to get into it because the proper techniques are overlooked. The tilting and angling of the slide for achieving true accuracy are very important, and of course, the all-important right-hand dampening goes a long way towards achieving this sound.
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This lick from the song made popular by Howlin’ Wolf, and then later by others such as The Rolling Stones, is always a good starting point for players wanting to create a “low and high” part that is synchronized as one interesting slide piece together.
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