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Michael Johnson >> Chuck Berry-Rolling Stones styles >>
Lesson Subject: Rolling Stones Style
What you learn: Rhythm & Solos (C)
Michael: Michael Johnson

Michael: This interactive lesson will cover lead style of the Rolling Stones, ala Ron Wood! Ron has a very unique country-rock lead style which was influenced by some of the old country greats and rock 'n' roll players like Chuck Berry. Ron's solos always fit nicely over Keith Richard's melodic rhythm style, much in the way a great classical composer would intertwine horns, percussion and strings to layer the sound of the band. Sample some of the licks you'll learn:

Lesson Sample

Michael: In this lesson we'll learn a few techniques that show you how to achieve that sound. Here's a summary:

1. Plying the C I, IV, V progression
2. Playing Major Pentatonic scales that follow each chord of the progression
3. Playing licks in the scales that follow the progression changes

Michael: This is fun stuff! I have a great time playing them!!! Here's the notes and related chord for the C I, IV V. The tab will show you the various positions you can play a C - I, IV, V progression, the notes are highlighted in the tab:

Michael: This is based on the C major scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B. What notes make up the I, IV, V?

arpeg: C F G

Michael: Correct arpeg!

C (I), D (II), E (III), F (IV), G (V), A (VI), B (VII) 

Michael: In this case we'll use the barre chords rooted on the 6th string (E). Here's the C major barre chord and the attached C Major Pentatonic scale pattern:

Michael: Notice the pattern is the same as a A Minor Pentatonic scale. In this case the C Major Pentatonic is RELATIVE to the A Minor Pentatonic. Notice you start on the C note as the root instead. I highlighted the ROOT notes "C", so you can play the barre chord, move a step and 1/2 down, play the pattern and it gives a country rock/rock sound. Now you can follow the scales with the chords. Here's the F barre chord and F Major Pentatonic.

Michael: See how it changes positions, but same pattern. Make sure you practice these scales, you'll need it in a little bit. Now, here's the G Maj barre and G Major Pentatonic which is the V of the progression.

Michael: Same chord and scale pattern for each neck position. Now here's the progression we're going to play the coming licks over.

Michael: Here's a break down of the chord and scale order. In this progression we have a I, IV, I, V, I progression, or other words C, F, C, G, C. To make it fun try practicing over this jam track:

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: Try practicing the scales and changes over the jam track a few times, then I'll give you the licks. The whole idea is to get use to changing the scales, this applies to the coming licks as well. Here's the rhythm tab if anybody wants to learn it:

rhinosaur: Easy to understand.

Michael: Good, it's basic stuff. The main idea is the changes standard rock n roll pattern. Now let's get down with the licks! Here's a cool country rock sounding lick:

Lick 1 sample

Michael: Here's a jam track you can practice the licks over.

Looping Jam Track - Lick 1

Teacher: Notice how it follows the progression, same lick, different positions. Notice you position your hand using the 4th barred on the 8th fret. The highlighted notes are the root notes.

Michael: Notice the 2nd finger supports the 3rd when bending the 3rd string. The jam track will give you an idea on the phrasing.

Razz: I like that, there's a bit of a burn in the ring finger =)

Michael: Oh yes Razz, some of you can also jam on the C major pentatonic scale all the way through the progression as an option. Here's our next lick variation:

Lick 2 sample

Michael: This lick is a lot like the last one but playing 3 notes at a time for the beginning of the phrase. Here's a jam track you can play over.

Looping Jam Track - Lick 2

Michael: The last lick sounds very country, it shows the country influence of the Stones.

finn: My pinkie wants to lift off :(

Michael: Adjust your thumb to pinch the back of the neck.

finn: Much better!

Michael: The thumb gives you the extra strength. OK next lick... this lick takes the same positions but plays a variation on the scales:

Lick 3 sample

Michael: Notice the bend on the 3rd string then the 4th finger is in position to play the next note, and then the 1st finger on the high E string. This position can be a bit of a challenge for some, try playing to this jam track:

Looping Jam Track - Lick 3

Razz: Great strengthening exercise by it self even!

Michael: You bet Razz!

Tonester: Are you "clawing" with your picking hand?

Michael: You can Tonester, but I'm using a pick for this example, but the clawing will really make it sound country 8-) Also
try holding the 3rd string up with out bending to neutral position while playing the other strings as well, it sounds cool!

arpeg: What does clawing mean?

Michael: Using you fingertips to pick by hooking them under the strings. Here's a picture of this technique.

Michael: You can use your fingernails as well to get more attack, much in the way a classical player does. Here's our next lick, this is a variation on the last one:

Lick 4 sample

Michael: Same hand positioning. Here's a jam track:

Looping Jam Track - Lick 4

Michael: Here's the last lick, it's a another variation on the last theme:

Lick 5 sample

Looping Jam Track - Lick 5

Michael: Now try to mix these licks up like I demonstrated in the first audio sample:

Lesson Sample

Michael: Well class it was great having you all, see you next lesson!

Razz: New riffs are almost as cool as new strings =0

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