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Michael Johnson >> Contemporary Folk Guitarists >>

Welcome class to the lesson on Contemporary Folk Guitarists. In this lesson you will learn how to play in the style of Dave Matthews! Dave's roots are in folk, but he has added some very intriguing styles to create his sound. Dave will use folk guitar and add jazz, rock, reggae, funk,... whatever to create his very unique and compelling sound. Check out the lesson sample of what you will learn.

Lesson Sample - Lowband - 817k

Lesson Sample - Highband - 3.2 Meg

Teacher: Our first part starts off with a standard folk sounding piece, then it progresses from there. Here's the intro.

Part 1 - Intro

Part 1 - Intro

Part 1 - Intro - Picking

Teacher: You might notice that the first chords can be a challenge to play. You start wit the C add9 chord which is common in folk and country, but then you add the F 6/9 which has some very interesting voicings. Here's a picture of each chord.

C add9

F 6/9

Teacher: Keeping the 3rd finger anchored on the 1st & 2nd string/3rd fret is important while the other fingers shift between the other chords. Here's the jam track for this part.

Looping Jam Track 1 - Lowband

Jim: I'm finding it easier to use 3 on the B string and 4 on the E string...

Teacher: Jim, yes that will work. In fact that is a common alternative fingering used among guitarists who play those chords. Let's jump to the next intro part. This section starts off with a rake using a D Major arpeggio/chord. Here's the part.

Part 2 - Intro

Part 2 - Intro

Teacher: Notice how you play the Em add9, A add9 and G add9 after the rake in D. The add9 chords can be a challenge to play. Here's a picture of some of the chords.

Em add9

A add9

Teacher: You have quite a stretch while playing these chords. Make sure the thumb is planted firmly on the back of the neck to help fret these chords. Here's the jam track for this section.

Looping Jam Track 2 - Lowband

Teacher: Does anybody recognize any bands that use these chords?

Drew: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Teacher: Drew sometimes. How about the Police or Rush. The Police use these chords in songs like "Message in A Bottle," "Every Breath You Take," and songs like that.

Drew: Rush your correct, they put more drive over it.

Teacher: You bet Drew!

kewlpack: Satriani's Circles uses the add9 eh?

Teacher: Satriani is a great example of players who use add9 chords!

kewlpack: Whew - that Gmadd9 is crazy stretching for my small hands.

Teacher: Yes it is kewlpack, this will be an excellent exercise to increase the stretch of your hand. Be careful these chords will be painful after awhile. Let's jump to the next part. Dave Matthews also takes a folk sounding progression and add a jazz rock or reggae rhythm pattern. Here's the next part.

Part 3 - Riff

Part 3 - Riff

Teacher: In this section however we'll continue to use the add9 chords in a slow jazz rock beat. Notice once you have the add9 chord down you can move it into various positions. Here's the picture for the E add9 chord and A add9 chord.

E add9 - Open

A add9 - 5th Fret

Teacher: The open E add9 is pretty easy, the fretted A add9 & G add9 is a little more difficult. Here's the jam track for this section.

Looping Jam Track 3 - Lowband

Teacher: Notice how the guitar layers nicely with the keys and bass tracks. The ascending chords towards the end of the phrase are actually pretty easy to play. Notice how the chords ascend on the 5th string, while you have a pedal tome note that drones on the open 3rd string (G). Let's jump to the next section. In this art you continue to use the add9 chords, but this time with more syncopation. Here's the part.

Part 4 - Riff

Part 4 - Riff

Teacher: This section uses all add9 chords, but shifts from position to position. Notice how the 2nd part of the phrase alters the chords used. Here's the looping jam track for this section.

Looping Jam Track 4 - Lowband

kewlpack: Would sound hot with some delay ;)

Teacher: It sure would, that's a great idea! Now Dave Matthews was inspired by many folk guitars and other musicians, but one folk artist who took folk outside of the traditional style is Joni Mitchell. Dave carried this flag to branch outside of traditional folk.

Jim: Picking? I'm use down-down-up, which seems to flow nice and give punch to the last note of each triplet.

Teacher: Jim, yes that is the picking pattern I'm using as well. You can use all down-strokes as well, to add extra attack. You can even palm mute the strings using you picking hand to add additional attack as well. The next part uses more standard folk chords, but with a different rhythm pattern. Here's the next section.

Part 5 - Riff

Part 5 - Riff

Teacher: In this section you hold down the B add9 chord and pick the various parts of the chords using a syncopated strumming pattern. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 5 - Lowband

Teacher: Notice how the guitar adds extra rhythm over the other tracks. Another folk guitarist who uses this technique is Ani DiFranco, who will be featured later in this series. Dave Matthews will also occasionally through in a straight sounding rhythm pattern and chords in for the chorus to add a commercial edge to the sound of a song. This seems to bring the syncopated parts together giving a sense of resolve. Here's the next part.

Part 6 - Riff

Part 6 - Riff

Teacher: Using simple chords can also add to the dynamics of the song. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 6 - Lowband

Teacher: Dave also will play single-note melody lines the compliment the other instruments. Here's an example.

Part 7 - Riff

Part 7 - Riff

Teacher: This melody uses the A Mixolydian mode. This mode has A, B, C#, D, E, F# G which is relative to D Major (Ionian) D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#. Here's the scale pattern.

A Mixolydian

Teacher: Listen how the single-note guitar melody compliments the other instruments in the looping jam track.

Looping Jam Track 7 - Lowband

Teacher: The bass and sax plays a counter melody, while the guitar does its own thing. Well that's it for this lesson, I hope you have a better understanding of the style of Dave Matthews.

Teacher: See you next lesson!

kewlpack: Good stuff teach, thanks!

Teacher: Thanks!

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