Intermediate

Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Develop an understanding of how to approach chord tones with bends.
  • Learn to think and phrase like a pedal-steel player.
  • Create old-school, honky-tonk lines with a twist.
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Let’s face it folks, pedal-steel is a pillar of the country music sound. It’s one of my favorite instruments—not just in country, but all music genres. The ability to play complex chords, the range of the instrument, the way you can manipulate bends (with knee levers and pedals), and the lyrical quality and tone add so much to the country sound. The textures and chord voicings can really beef up a rhythmic part, but also can make you cry in your beer with a single-note line that includes so much articulation and manipulation it can make your head spin. We are going to mainly focus on a one element that really makes the pedal-steel guitar special and very difficult to emulate on guitar: bending notes.

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Learn how to solo effortlessly using the CAGED system.

Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Learn how to map out the neck with five CAGED shapes.
  • Create melodic lines by targeting chord tones on strong beats.
  • Discover how to enhance your phrases with chromatic notes.
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Originally published on March 15, 2015

The CAGED system is a subject we’ve explored many times before in Beyond Blues, and as you may know, it plays a big role in the way I teach. If you need a quick refresher, or if you’re totally new to the CAGED concept, read “A Guitarist’s Guide to the CAGED System." This CAGED approach doesn’t often generate resistance, but when it does, I usually find that it’s because of a misunderstanding of the system—there’s a lot more to it than just barre chords. While we’ve discussed arpeggios and scale fingerings several times over the years, this lesson will finally bridge the gap between those two.

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Sometimes slow and steady doesn’t win the race.

Advanced

Intermediate

• Develop a better sense of shred.

• Understand how to phrase in odd-numbered groups.

• Create blistering pentatonic lines in the style of Joe Bonamassa and Eric Johnson

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Since blues playing and improvisation is based around vocabulary, you can’t just throw in intervallic fusion lines or neoclassical sweep arpeggios and expect them to fit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for experimenting with sounds from different genres, but you’ll want to pick the right moments to work in these ideas. Having a strong foundation in the blues will ground the listener and make the experiments pop out more without alienating them. So, let’s look at a handful of shreddy blues licks that you can throw down at the next local blues jam without (hopefully) drawing the blues purist’s wrath upon you.
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Guitarists can learn a lot by dissecting the art of articulation of the horn-playing masters.

Advanced

Intermediate

• Develop a more fluid jazz time-feel by using hammer-ons and pull-offs.

• Create elegant jazz lead lines.

• Understand how to navigate bebop harmonic passages.

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Few figures in jazz history loom as large as Charlie Parker. His pioneering work in the 1940s remains a cornerstone of modern small-ensemble jazz and his playing still sounds fresh today. Parker’s legendary practice regimen combined with his brilliant artistic vision yielded a uniquely personal and virtuosic style. It’s a high bar, but let’s learn some Parker-style jazz language and see how well his style adapts to the fretboard.

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