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Michael Johnson >> Southern Rock Legends >>
Lesson Subject: Southern Rock Legends I
What you learn: Marshall Tucker Band Style
Michael: Michael Johnson

Michael:
Welcome class to the lesson on the style of the Marshall Tucker Band. This is a continuation of our series on Southern Rock Legends. The Marshall Tucker Band came out in 1973, pretty much around the time of Skynyrd launching their career as well. Marshall Tucker featured more of a country sound, using melodic major pentatonic solos and open country sounding chords however they would occasionally branch into blues and even some jazz at times. Toy Caldwell would handle the solos while George McCorkle would cover the rhythm guitar. The first part of the lesson sample starts with a boogie blues feel and jumps into a country feel. Check out the lesson sample of the licks you'll learn:

Lesson Sample - Highband - 3.2 Meg

Rob: I like the lesson sample. I saw them last summer and they played mostly country.

Michael: Yes, in fact they sound like most modern country bands, but were categorized under "Southern Rock" and got airplay on rock radio. Let's get started, here are the chords for the rhythm guitar track:

Part 1 - Rhythm Guitar

Part 1 - Rhythm Guitar

Rob:
Palm mute?

Michael: Rob, yes I mute the strings using my picking hand. You basically strum 2x and then palm mute.

Michael: Notice these are basic chords, you start with the C and then add the C7 in the 2nd bar, then moving to F, D/F# and back to C. You then descend from C to Am using the single B note in between and then move to D7 after the Am. You end by using G, C, F, C and G. This is a common variation of a standard blues using additional chords to make the progression sound interesting. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 1 - Lowband

Michael: Now you can play a few licks over this progression. Here's the first lick:

Part 1 - Solo 1

Part 1 - Solo 1

Michael: This lick is in the C Major Pentatonic pattern. Now do any of you remember that C Major and A Minor are relative? So basically you are using the A Minor Pentatonic pattern on the 5th fret. I'll send you two scale patterns to give you an idea of how they work.

Rob: Why does that work that way?

Michael: Here's the notes for each scale:

C Major: C, D, E, F, G, A, B
A Minor: A, B, C, D, E, F, G

Michael: Now here's the Pentatonic: 

A Minor Pentatonic: A, C, D, E, G
C Major Pentatonic, C, D, E, G, A,

Michael: Same notes, only different order.

Rob:
I understand that they have the same notes, but I don't understand why they are two different scales.

Michael: Rob, a rule of thumb is to use the Key of the song foundation of the progression and scales, so basically in this case you are using the C Major Pentatonic scale for this progression.
Here's are two scale patterns to help you visualize the concept.

C Major Pentatonic - A Minor Pentatonic

Michael: Let's jump to another lick.

Part 1 - Solo 2

Part 1 - Solo 2

Michael: Now this is a very cool lick, I like how you use the open E throughout the ascending chromatic run, starting from the 12th fret/1st string. After the ascending chromatic run you jump into the C Major Pentatonic pattern near the 12th fret, here's the pattern:

C Major Pentatonic

Michael: In bar 4 & 5 you play licks using the C Major chord position. Here's the chord formation:

C Major Chord

Michael: Let's move to the next part, in this section you use a basic country D, G, C progression.

Part 2 - Rhythm Guitar

Michael: Here's the jam track so you can get an idea of the rhythm pattern:

Looping Jam Track 2 - Lowband

Michael: Now in progressions like these you can play solos the fill up the spaces of the song in between vocals. Here are some licks you can use.

Part 2 - Solo 1

Part 2 - Solo 1

Michael: Now remember we shifted the Key up to D Major, the scale you will now be using is the D Major Pentatonic.

D Major Pentatonic

Michael: Here's the next lick:

Part 2 - Solo 2

Part 2 - Solo 2

Michael:
Notice that most of these licks are easy to play, but sound very melodic. Most of the notes use the 1st and 3rd fingers, but you shift to using the 4th finger when you play the 2nd string (B) / 10th fret. This allows you to play double-stop licks as well. Notice the the last bar you use the 3rd finger to bend the 2nd string - 10th fret, this finger gives you more control for bending notes. Here's the next lick:

Part 2 - Solo 3

Part 2 - Solo 3

Michael: Now you jump to a higher position for the D Major Pentatonic scale pattern.

D Major Pentatonic

Michael: Here's another lick using this pattern:

Part 2 - Solo 4

Part 2 - Solo 4

Michael:
Well it's time to go, see you all next week!

Rob:
Thank You!

Frank: Yes, thanks so very much!!

Michael: Bye!

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