Eric Johnson unplugged: a big wow

Eric Johnson, a well known guitar ace, especially known for his Grammy Award winning rock instrumental “Cliffs of Dover” has come out with a new album “EJ”, which is a collection of thirteen completely acoustic songs. We knew that Johnson knew his way around the acoustic guitar from songs such as “Song for George” and “Tribute to Jerry Reed” but his new acoustic album took me by surprise.

Check out this capture of Mrs Robinson (the opening track and a well know Simon and Garfunkel song) live from the House of Blues Houston.

 

Check out the complete album on Spotify.

Advertisements

Get more out of that G-run, yeeh-hah

guitarWith  many of my students I work on improvisation and developing  runs. In this lesson In will use a classic bluegrass run to show how you can get much more out of it in terms of developing solo ideas and phrases.  In this lesson we will use a standard run from the bluegrass genre and see where it might take us when creating our own break over a standard chord progression. 

The run we’ll use is a G major run, essentially a G major blues scale (G major pentatonic plus minor third or so you wish the E blues scale started on the G note). Ultimately we will use the lesson material to play a break over the following common chord progression ( BIG SANDY RIVER).

||: G  |  G  |  D  |  D  |

  |  G  |  G  |  D  |  G  :||

||: G  |  C  |  D   |  G  |

  |  G  |  C  |  D   |  G  :||

The G major blues scale run

Ok,  here  we go.

Ex. 1

ex-1

We could also do this run in a closed  position (no open strings)

Ex.2

ex-2

First of all transpose the run to C and D

ex-3

Play it backwards

Ex 4

ex-4

I’ll leave it up to you to play this in closed position and to transpose it to C and D.

Playing around with these six notes we can come up with alternatives.

Playing  around with the notes

Ex 5  Start at a different place in time

ex-5

Ex 6 Leave out the root

ex-6

Adding notes

Ex 7 Adding the flat 7th

ex-7

Ex 8 Adding the flat 7th

ex-8

While all examples are in G I leave it up to you to transpose.

Application of what was learned: Big Sandy River break/solo

Time to apply what we have been doing so far to a real life situation: a break over the chord structure of Big Sandy River, a bluegrass standard. A melody arrangement of the tune can be found here >>>

bsr-1

bsr-2

bsr-3

bsr-4

bsr-5

bsr-6

bsr-7

bsr-8

Experiment with hammer-on pull-off etc, remember that this is alternate picked (on the beat down, off the beat up) and if you have a question let me know. Below a you tube video of Big Sandy River for some extra inspiration.

All the examples and the break are available as a pdf here >>>

 

Have fun!

Amazing Rhythm Guitar: Rodrigo y Gabriela

I guess the summer brings out this desire to pick up the acoustic guitar more and play on that. Besides that I have found myself appreciating the acoustic guitar more and more and at times even over the electric. But most of all it is easier to pick up and play, in the sun, under the umbrella, when there are friends around for a bit of a sing along and to play and sing Christian songs as a way of personal praise throughout the week.

In all this, my (soon to be busking buddy ggg, you know who you are) sent me a you tube link to a song called Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriella, two people that left the metal rock band scene to go out and busk Now while it is easy to be distracted by all the beautiful melodies, what really hit me was the amazing rhythm guitar of Gabriella.

And to get a better idea of what she’s all about rhythmically I suggest the next video.

And here two video lessons by these two awesome players.

Have fun!