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Michael Johnson >> Southern Rock Legends >>
Lesson Subject: Southern Rock Legends II
What you learn: 38 Special Style
Michael: Michael Johnson

Welcome class to the lesson on Southern Rock Legends featuring the style of 38 Special! The band came out during the late '70s, but it wasn't until the early '80s when they became popular. Formed by Donnie Van Zant (brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant), .38 Special maintained a devoted following throughout the 1980s. The band members included Jeff Carlisi (guitar), Don Barnes (guitar, vocals), Ken Lyons (bass), Jack Grondin (drums) and Steve Brookins (drums). 38 Special featured a heavier guitar sound then most southern rock bands, and produced many hits. Listen to the lesson sample to check out the licks you will learn:

Lesson Sample - Highband - 3.1 Meg

Michael: Our first section features a mellow rhythm pattern with a solo that feature ambiance using delay and reverb. Here's the rhythm for the first section:

Part 1 - Rhythm Guitar

Part 1 - Rhythm Guitar

Michael: The intro rhythm in Dm, using D5 interval, then sliding one and a half-steps to min 3rd and b7 interval. Next you play in the open position using 4th and b7 interval. You end the phrase with the Bb add9 by barring the first finger on the 1st fret. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 1 - Lowband

Michael: You use a lot of reverb to create the ambient sound. The solo is very melodic and uses reverb and delay as well.

Part 1 - Solo

Part 1 - Solo

Michael: Bar 1 start with a descending slide from the 10th fret/1st string. Notice how the delay sustains the note. The lick uses the D Minor Pentatonic scale pattern as you ascend in bar 2. Notice in bar 3 you shift to the minor 2 (9th fret/3rd string) which is in the D Minor scale. Bar 5 features a descending sequence in the D Minor Pentatonic pattern. Let's jump to the next section, here's the rhythm guitar part.

Part 2 - Rhythm Guitar

Michael: The rhythm guitar uses a straight power chord type rhythm. You use the G, D, B, D, E, C & D. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 2 - Lowband

Michael: Notice how the rhythm guitar fits with the bass and drums. Here's the solo.

Part 2 - Solo

Part 2 - Solo

Michael: This lick uses the B Phrygian at first. The lick also mixes in the G Major Pentatonic as well. Bars 1 & 2 start in the B Phrygian, bar 3 uses the a ascending run in the G Major Pentatonic. In bar 4 you have a descending chromatic run on the 3rd string. Bar 5 repeats the lick theme in bar 1, then you play a ascending chromatic run on the 1st string. Bar 7 plays a descending G Major pentatonic run, then ascends the pattern in bar 9.

Michael: Let's jump to the next section. Here's a staccato rhythm pattern that is often used by 38 Special.

Part 3 - Rhythm Guitar

Michael: Nice how you start with the E5 bar chord and the first finger moves down one half-step to play the Eb #9 chord. This produces a cool descending sound, here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 3 - Lowband

Michael: Here's the solo.

Part 3 - Solo 1

Part 3 - Solo 1

Michael: This is a melodic solo! You actually start in the C# Minor. The lick also shifts between the E Major Pentatonic as well. Notice the hammer/pull-off licks in bars 5 and 6. This is a lick used often by Jimmy Page. Here's the next solo.

Part 3 - Solo 2

Part 3 - Solo 2

Michael: This solo starts off with a cool descending pull-off in the C# Minor scale. I use the 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers, but you can try using the 1st, 2nd and 4th if it feels more comfortable to you. Mastering the pull-off will take practice for some of you. Bar 3 jumps back into the E Major Pentatonic, using a whole-step bend on the 1st string. Notice in bar 4 how you use the 1st finger to play the 12th fret/1st string, then in bar 5 you shift to using the 3rd finger on the same fret. This sets you hand position to play the licks in bar 5 and 6.

Michael: Here's the next rhythm pattern.

Part 4 - Rhythm Guitar

Michael: You start by ascending the 6th string and play A, the back to G# on the 6th string. You finish with C# and F#. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 4 - Lowband

Michael: Here's the solo for this section.

Part 4 - Solo 1

Part 4 - Solo 1

Michael: This melody continues to use the C# Minor, notice the lick theme in bar 1 is repeated in bar 4. Well time to go! Great to see you all and catch you at the next lesson!

Jim: Thanks!

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