Photo by Calli Cohen

On his latest solo album, Reasons Why, which features a collaboration with Cory Wong, celebrated Canadian guitarist Ariel Posen continues his evolution as a multi-faceted artist.

For years, Ariel Posen has captivated listeners with his tone. Starting with his first solo album, 2019’s How Long, and on through successive releases such as 2021’s Headway and a sprinkling of EPs, the Canadian guitar virtuoso has distinguished himself for his unique approach to sound. His playing is warm and rippling; it has a way of grabbing you, or at times even jabbing you, but once it does, it changes up and envelopes you like a comfy pillow. His lyrical lines don’t just sing—they swoon. All of this is to say that he doesn’t do just one thing with his sound. There are nuances and levels to his artistry.

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Five ways Indian-inspired drones can help you improve your intonation.

Chops: Beginner
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Create simple and meaningful blues phrases in the style of B.B. King.
• Understand how to emphasize chord tones over a blues progression.
• Learn how to use repetition to build tension in your solos.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Improving your intonation on slide guitar can be a real challenge when you’re flying solo—one is definitely the loneliest number in this context. Most people don’t realize it, but when you’re learning slide guitar, you’re not just developing your muscle memory. Training your ear to discern the subtleties of pitch variation is as important as developing your touch.

Playing with a slide opens the door to much greater pitch inflection then simply fingering a note on the fretboard. When fretting notes, the main challenge is to avoid using a death grip—applying too much pressure will result in a note going sharp. But when playing with a slide, you can easily sound sharp or flat on any given note. Too many players simply rely on their eyesight to tell them when their slide is in tune. Although this can work, to truly master slide you need to learn to hear when it’s in tune. I’ve often had to adjust for a string that went a little out of tune onstage, and when that happens, you can’t trust your vision to bail you out.

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Photo by Andy Ellis

Coax extra mileage from a familiar lick by slipping in some sly slide moves.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Understand when and where to combine slide with fretted notes.
• Create drone-style licks using open strings.
• Develop a better sense of intonation. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Here’s a thought: You don’t have to exclusively stick to slide technique when that bottleneck is on your finger. Why not use those three other fingers? For this lesson, we’ll explore how to sneak the slide into your “normal” fretted licks. It takes skill and practice to merge the two techniques, but the resulting sounds are well worth the effort. For these examples, we’ll focus on mostly roots and blues-style licks in standard tuning. As we launch into these examples, it’s important to think of your slide finger as a normal finger with a slight extension that lets you emphasize legato lines. Don’t switch back and forth between the two styles … instead, make them one!

Our first lick (Ex. 1) is based around a G minor pentatonic scale (G–Bb–C–D–F). For the first notes of measure one and measure three, use the slide to “bend” the note just a bit before the pull-offs. This works great over a G7 vamp.

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