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Michael Johnson >> Blues Legends III >>
Lesson Subject: Blues Legends III
What you learn: Robert Johnson Slide Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

This interactive lesson is the second installment on the style of Robert Johnson. This lesson will focus on his slide licks. You can use a bottle on glass first let's go over the various slides you can use. I prefer a glass slide myself. First, here's a sample of the lesson you'll learn:

Lesson Sample


Michael: The key to this technique is holding the slide directly over the fret for the correct intonation.

Michael: Make sure you have direct pressure, but not holding it down on the fret.

Michael: The next thing we need to do is tune to a Open G tuning. You do this by dropping the low E string down one whole step to low D, here's the audio file:

Michael: Then you detune the high E down one whole step to D:

Michael: The last string you tune is the 5th string A:

Michael: So the open G tuning should go:

D (6th), G (5th), D (4th), G (3rd), B (2nd), D (1st)

Here's how it should all sound and a video of tuning to open G:

Tuning to Open G

Michael: You should now be able to play open major chords just by strumming all the strings. You can also barre the frets and play chords that way too. Lets' try our first licks, the first lick uses a standard blues riff in the open tuning:

Michael: This riff sets up the groove for the jam track. Here's the jam track:

Michael: Now lets play a few slide licks.

Michael: First I should give you the turnaround since it doesn't use the slide. Try playing the turnaround over the jam track. I love the sound on the low string. Robert Johnson used turnarounds in many of his classic songs, now let's try the next slide lick:

Michael: This lick is a classic, using the 12th fret or octave of the key, notice how you slide on the 4th string from the 10th to 12th fret... then play the string below it on the 12th, it's simple but quite effective, try playing over the jam track, let's try another lick:

Michael: now this lick is based within the first 3 frets, you play the slides between the 2nd and 3rd frets, and then use the open strings,. Now the ending of the lick uses a nice double note slide, have any of you played any licks like this before?

Skedman: Haven't played much slide, this is very fun though.

Michael: Cool, what type of slide do you have? I sometimes use a beer bottle.

Michael: That's is really a cream soda bottle 8)

Michael: I'm sending a jam track that uses a 1, 4, 5 progression. It sounds cool to play over the chord changes, notice at the end of the jam track you have the turnaround lick. Let's try our next lick:

 mac: Trying to keep the noise down while playing is tough.

Michael: That is tough you can use your little finger or other fingers to mute and reduce the extra noise. Time to go, see you next lesson!

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