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Arlen Roth Lessons
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Today’s lesson features a time-honored technique for blues fingerstyle playing that is equally at home on the electric or acoustic guitar, but perhaps most at home on the acoustic. It evokes the great blues styles of folks like Robert Johnson, Skip James, Brownie McGhee and many others.
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This great and influential lick utilizes the “claw” or hybrid-picking style to its fullest. Often associated with tunes like “My Baby Left Me,” “See See Rider” and, of course, “Mystery Train,” this lick has kicked off more jams than probably any other rhythm part in history.
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This technique, made famous by many great players but most notably Jerry Reed, is usually created by using a thumb pick and fingers, or the hybrid “pick and finger” style. It’s basically a “grabbing” type action of the open positions, hence the “claw” name.
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The “Train Whistle” lick utilizes the technique of half-step bending, producing one of the most unique guitar sounds available to players. The lick has developed into two very distinct styles, or positions: one is the more standard folk-blues style, and the other is the more advanced two-string bend, which produces an almost Hawaiian-style approach.
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“Dust My Broom” is one of the great Chicago Blues slide tunes as played by Elmore James and the Broomdusters, and the main lick is perhaps the most commonly used slide lick of all time. But it’s the second lick – or second verse lick – that we’re going to work with here.
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