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Michael Johnson >> Contemporary Folk Guitarists >>


Teacher: Welcome class to the lesson series on Contemporary Folk Guitarists. This lesson will cover the style of David Gray. David Gray is a Irish folk singer who was actually discovered and signed by Dave Matthews. David's style features simplistic lines that sound great. Unfortunately my computer was in the shop and I didn't have a chance to make the videos, but I will add this later on with additional riffs. Make sure you check back on the archive.

Lesson Sample - Lowband - 800k

Lesson Sample - Highband - 3.2 Meg

Teacher: The lesson sample should give you an idea of the rhythms you will learn. Let's get started! This first rhythm pattern starts in G Maj7.

Part 1

Teacher: Now the fingering may be a little awkward to some. Notice how the 2nd finger holds the root note (3rd fret/6th string). The tricky part is to play the higher notes. Notice the hammer/pull-off combination. You have to arch the 3rd finger to let the notes on the 1st string to stand out. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 1 - Lowband

Teacher: I literally got my computer back a hour and 1/2 ago. So I didn't get a chance to create as many parts as I would have liked. The video card went out. OK, let's jump to the next part.

Part 2

Teacher: This is a cool sounding rhythm. Notice you start with a D Major and lift the 2nd finger on the 1st string to play D Maj9. Notice the next chord shifts to the A Maj with a G# bass note. You have a bit of a reach fretting the 6th string with your 3rd finger. Notice that you can include the open A string (which is the root of the chord) by arching the 3rd finger not to mute the 5th string open. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 2 - Lowband

Teacher: David Gray uses a lot of open chord progressions, but can create some unique variations to a standard progression. Remember Ireland is one of the original homes of folk music. It's interesting how Irish folk has influenced all types of American music styles. The roots of country, bluegrass, modern folk, etc can all be traced back to the old country. OK, here's the next rhythm pattern.

Part 3

Teacher: In this example you use a descending run in the A Major scale. Notice you use the open A as the drone or otherwise known as the "pedal tone." Notice how the open chords (D & A) the phrase. The G and E give the phrase a since of resolve. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 3 - Lowband

Teacher: Notice how all the parts flow together with the descending drone-string run in A. I'll send you the A Major scale extended on the D string.

A Major Scale

Teacher: See how the scale relates with the open A string.

A Major w/open A Drone

Teacher: OK, let's move to the next part. This next part uses a picking pattern while holding a E5, this lays the foundation while you add other parts over this phrase. Here's the main section.

Part 4

Teacher: It's a pretty simplistic line using the E5, but the you briefly shift to the Maj 7 note (D#). Notice the A with the C# bass note as well. Using bass notes over open chords is used often in folk. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 4 - Lowband

Teacher: Now David Gray will often add a counter rhythm/melody over the main rhythm track. Here's one variation you can try.

Part 4b

MicroGlyphics: It sounds sort of unresolved to me...that last bit.

Teacher: Yes Micro, this adds tension to the 2nd track. These notes use the Root, Maj 3 and 4th. The 4th can also be called an 11th note as well and leave the note sequence with the sound on tension. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 4b - Lowband

Teacher: See how both parts layer nicely. These simple melodies sound more complex when played together. Let's try another variation over the E5.

Part 4c

MicroGlyphics: He got a lot of room without the 3rd, eh?

Teacher: This combination of notes uses the Root, Maj 3rd and Maj 7th notes. Yes, Micro leaving out the perfect 5 does add a different dimension to this voicing. Notice how the melody descends on the 2nd phrase. Here's a jam track with both parts.

Looping Jam Track 4c - Lowband

Teacher: This creates a nice sounding combination. Many folk players will focus on layering simple parts. Most are very easy to play as you have found out in this lesson.

Teacher: Well time to go, I'll update the archive latter. See you next lesson.!

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