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Lyle Ronglien >> Rock Legends >>



ROCK LEGENDS I - SCOTTY MOORE

Lesson Sample

Lyle: Scotty Moore was the guitarist responsible for the "Elvis Presley sound". Out of the many musicians that worked with Presley, none was more important than Scotty. He not only was the lead guitar player for the King, he was also the bandleader, booking agent as well as manager in the early days. With bassist Bill Black, drummer D.J. Fontana, Elvis and Moore, they had a group called the Blue Moon Boys. It began back in the summer of 1954 while during a recording and audition session with producer Sam Phillips, Elvis was auditioning as a singer and started to jam out his version of "That's All Right". The others jumped in and they recorded what became Elvis's first hit song. This event is known as "The Big Bang". Rock history was born.

Lyle: Scotty's approach to playing guitar behind the King is just that, playing behind him, not over-powering him. He would play strong rhythm guitar under Presley's vocals, then adding a few little riffs in between vocal lines. Scotty's lead guitar style is sometimes a combination of country, jazz, and rockabilly. As you will see in this lesson Scotty's influences come through in his rock guitar riffs, mixing chords and melody as he fuses white hillbilly mountain music with black R&B to produce his new sound.

Lyle: Scotty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a new "sideman" category on March 6th, 2000. Suggested listening: That's All Right Mama, Mystery Train, Hound Dog. His guitars of choice are: Gibson ES-295 with Bigsby tailpiece and also a Gibson Super 400.



Lyle: I'd like to show you a few rhythm riffs in the style of Scotty, then teach you the solos from the lesson sample above. Here's a basic jam track you will be using:

jam track scotty moore

Lyle: Set your amp to a clean tone, maybe just a bit of overdrive. If you have a delay unit, set it for one fast repeat, about 100ms.

Lyle: The jam track/chord progression is a 12 bar blues in E.

12 bar chord chart


Lyle: Here's a rhythm riff for you to learn for the E chords:



Lyle: Hear the "slap back" delay sound in the TAB file? You can play the same riff down one string for the A chord like this:



Lyle: For the quick B to A changes you can play this riff:



Lyle: Here's a TAB of all the riffs in the right sequence. It's the same as the bass guitar line, just sounds cooler on a guitar with the echo on it!



Lyle: You may find you'll get a tighter sound with a slight palm mute on the bass strings.

Lyle: Here's another way to play a rhythm figure over the 12 bar jam. You can play this over the E chords:



Lyle: I'm showing you the chord first, then the riff. Play this for the A chord:



Lyle: Over the quick B to A change you'll alter the rhythm to match the beat of the snare drum:



Lyle: Here's a jam track that has all of the rhythm 2 figures in it:

jam track - rhythm 2

Lyle: Try to copy it, then play rhythm figures 1 from earlier in this lesson.



Lyle: Now you will learn a couple solos in the Scotty Moore style. His main influence was country and jazz, later adding in rockabilly/hillbilly and R&B styles. He fused these sounds together to create his own style. Most of the following riffs are in the E minor pentatonic scale:



Lyle: Here's a jam track with solo 1 in it:

jam track - solo 1

Lyle: I'll break down the riffs for you. Many of Moore's riff are like the Chuck Berry style - two notes played at the same time.You'll see that right away in this first riff:



Lyle: Add this:



Lyle: Play both riffs together as one long riff. Here's a video example:

solo 1 - riffs 1 and 2


Lyle:
Next I've combined riffs 3 and 4:



Lyle: Only bend the 2nd string up slightly towards you, keeping the 1st string still during the part of the riff.

Lyle: Watch this video clip of riffs 3 and 4:

solo 1 - riffs 3 and 4


Lyle:
The next riff is over the quick B to A chord changes:



Lyle: It's hard to get the little finger to do the slight bend while you are holding the rest of the chord down. I'll show you a video of it after this last riff of the solo:



Lyle: Ok, now you can see a video of riffs 5 and 6 together. Notice I'm holding the chord down and bending up with the little finger/2nd string:

solo 1 - riffs 5 and 6

Lyle: If you were to compare Scotty's style with Chuck Berry, you'll find they both play riffs using two strings at a time, but Moore's style is broader, more melodic perhaps from his jazz influence.



Lyle: Here's solo #2.

jam track - solo 2

Lyle: Just like in solo 1, you'll learn and memorize the riffs, then play along to the jam track with the solo in it. This helps when trying to memorize all the riffs together I feel.

Lyle: Once you feel like trying the solos on your own, there is a jam track near the beginning of this lesson without any guitars.

Lyle: This riff is a good one to use over the E chord:



Lyle: Following the first riff you'll jump down an octave to the open E minor pentatonic position:



solo 2 - riffs 1 and 2

Lyle: The next riff starts on the A chord then ends with an E riff:



solo 2 - riff 3


Lyle:
Here's a simple riff to use over the B to A chord change:



Lyle: Here's a final riff to play over the E chord at the end of the progression. Notice how strong this riff sounds using two strings at a time:



solo 2 - riffs 4 and 5

Lyle: Take some time to do some reading about Scotty Moore on the Internet when you get a chance. There are a few interviews among other things that are very interesting to read. Also, give a listen to the early Elvis recordings and the famous '68 comeback TV special, you'll gain a new guitar hero in Scotty Moore if you haven't already.

Lyle: That's all for this lesson. If you would like to study more if this style or anything else, you can in a private, customized lesson like this using Riff Interactive technology. Email me at Lyle@theguitar.net for more info. Thanks - Lyle



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