LEGENDS I - SCOTTY MOORE
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
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.
bar chord chart
Lyle: Here's a rhythm riff for you to learn
for the E chords:
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:
For the quick B to A changes you can play this riff:
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
Lyle: Here's another way to play a rhythm
figure over the 12 bar jam. You can play this over the E
I'm showing you the chord first, then the riff. Play this for the A
Over the quick B to A change you'll alter the rhythm to match the beat of the
Here's a jam track that has all of the rhythm 2 figures in
jam track -
Try to copy it, then play rhythm figures 1 from earlier in this
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:
Here's a jam track with solo 1 in it:
jam track - solo 1
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:
Play both riffs together as one long riff. Here's a video
solo 1 -
riffs 1 and 2
Lyle: Next I've combined riffs 3
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
solo 1 - riffs
3 and 4
Lyle: The next riff is over the
quick B to A chord changes:
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:
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
solo 1 -
riffs 5 and 6
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
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
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:
Following the first riff you'll jump down an octave to the open E minor
solo 2 - riffs 1
Lyle: The next riff starts on the A
chord then ends with an E riff:
solo 2 - riff
Lyle: Here's a simple riff to use
over the B to A chord change:
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
solo 2 - riffs 4
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.
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