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Michael Johnson >> Southern Rock Legends >>
Lesson Subject: Southern Rock Legends I
What you learn: Charlie Daniels Band Style
Michael: Michael Johnson

Michael: Welcome class to our lesson on the style of Charlie Daniels. This lesson continues our series on Southern Rock Legends. Charlie Daniels started his career backing up various country and rock artists until he made his claim to fame as a solo artist featuring his very unique blend of country, rock and blues. This sound inspired many southern rock bands. Check out the lesson sample of what you will learn.

Lesson Sample - Highband -2.1 Meg

Michael: First let's start with the rhythm guitar used on the lesson sample.

Part 1 - Rhythm Guitar

Part 1 - Rhythm Guitar

Michael: First let me give you the jam track to practice over and then we will cover the picking patterns;

Looping Jam Track 1 - Lowband

Rob: Picking Pattern: down -Up?

Michael: Very good point you guys, I'll cover that question in the following exercises.
 The first part of the rhythm starts with a common country/western riff with the bass alternating between the 5th and 6th strings. Here's a common country rhythm pattern in D Major:

Part 1 - D Major Exercise

Part 1 - D Major Exercise

Michael: Notice in bar 1 notice that I use all down strokes, bar 2 uses an alternating strumming. So to answer your question in the rhythm I just gave you, you use down strokes. Now you can change the country sound by converting this exercise into a D Minor chord, it still has the country sound but darker. Here's the exercise:

Part 1 - D Minor Exercise

Part 1 - D Minor Exercise

Michael: Notice you use the same picking pattern depending on if you strum the higher sting once or twice. Let's jump into the solo licks:

Part 1 - Solo 1

Part 1 - Solo 1

Michael: These licks have a unique sound, you're actually using the D Harmonic Minor scale which has a darker more exotic sound. Here's the scale:

D Harmonic Minor

Michael: Notice how unique the D Harmonic Minor scale sounds. The only difference is the last note between the 2 scales: Here's the formula:

D Minor: 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
D Harmonic Minor: 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7

The 7th note is raised one half step.

Charlie is usually playing with little or no distortion?

Michael: It depends on the song, but generally some distortion on the solos.

Rob: The rhythm is a clean sound here right?

Michael: Yes, usually clean rhythms, distorted solos. Charlie Daniels switches on fiddle as well and usually has two guitarists to back him up. Let's jump to the next part of the solo:

Part 1 - Solo 2

Part 1 - Solo 2

Michael: This is a common hammer/pull-off descending run using the D Minor scale.

Rob: In the first part of the solo, is there a hammer on or slide into the second to last note of the first bar? Of the first solo.

Michael: Rob, there are a couple of pull-offs used, but no slides or hammers, everything is basically picked. OK here's next section, this riff uses the D Harmonic Minor as well and has a very dark sound:

Part 2 - Riff

Part 2 - Harmonic Minor Riff

Michael: Notice the dark sounding descending arpeggios. This reminds me of the song "Green Eyed Lady" as well. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 2 - Lowband

Michael: I really like these type of riffs, it can be challenging to keep the riff going because the fingering is a bit awkward. I suggest taking a bar at a time and then practice the entire riff slow and then increase your speed later. This is a great exercise though if you're not use to these type of riffs. OK, now you can add a chord comp over this riff, here's the chords:

Part 2 - Chords

Part 2 - Chords

These are very interesting sound chords, together they have a descending type feel with the 1st string (E) moving down one half-step with each chord. Here's the jam track with the chords and rhythm:

Looping Jam Track 3 - Lowband

Michael: This phrase sounds very cool when all parts are layered.

Rob: This is "the band of demons." : )

Michael: Oh yes, Rob. OK, let's jump to the next part, this section has more of a blues groove in A. First here's the jam track in A.

Looping Jam Track 4 - Lowband

Michael: Here's the lick you will play over this track:

Part 3 - Solo 1

Part 3 - Solo 1

Michael: In the first 3 bars you use the A Major Pentatonic on the 5th position. Here's the pattern:

A Major Pentatonic

Michael: Notice that this pattern rests over the A Minor Pentatonic and A Minor Blues scale pattern as well. Layering these scale allow you to jump between the patterns quickly when soloing. Here's all the patterns:

A Major Pentatonic - A Minor Blues

Michael: I highlighted the A Minor blues, notice in bar 4 of the last lick you jump to the Minor Blues pattern.

Rob: When you play this major pentatonic pattern do you use just 1 and 3 fingers?

Michael: You can, but I suggest using all your fingers when playing the scale, but switching to using the 1st and 3rd fingers when playing licks, using the 3rd finger more will allow you more control when bending notes and using vibrato.

Rob: Where does the hammer-on to c in the fourth bar come in? Is that helping to transition between scales?

Michael: Yes, that allows you to flow naturally in the next scale pattern. Well, it's time to go, see you all next lesson!

Rob: Thanks for the great lesson!

Hank: Thanks great lesson!

Michael: Thanks!

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