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Michael Johnson >> Contemporary Slide Guitarists >>

Teacher: Welcome class to the lesson on the slide guitar style for the guitarists of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Skynyrd's guitarist would alternate playing slide at times or even changed when they had different guitarists play. Gary Rossington mostly played slide for songs like "Free Bird", but guitarist Ed King would play as well. Later the band added Steve Gains who was a skilled slide guitar player as well. Most of these guitarists were influenced by Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. In this lesson you will learn some of the techniques from these guitarists. Check out the lesson sample of what you will learn:

Lesson Sample - Lowband - 1.4 Meg

Lesson Sample - Highband - 4.8 Meg

Teacher: Let's start with our first slide licks in E, first here's a jam track in E that you will play over:

Looping Jam Track 1 - Lowband

Teacher: This progression is a typical country rock groove, the slide guitar follows the scale structure for this key. Here's the first lick:

Part 1 - Slide Lick 1

Part 1 - Slide Lick 1

Teacher: This lick follows the E Major Pentatonic scale pattern and various related notes. Here's the pattern that is used for this lick.

E Major Pentatonic

ryan: They have many similar notes don't they?

Teacher: Ryan, yes they do! This sets up the notes you can use to improvise over in this key. You might notice this lick jumps into the E Major Pentatonic box pattern in front of the main pattern. Notice to how you use notes to slide into the main pattern of the scale. The major pentatonic is often used by country and southern rock players, basically the foundation of their sound. Let's try another lick using this progression:

Part 1 - Slide Lick 2

Part 1 - Slide Lick 2

Teacher: This lick uses the same basic pattern, notice for the slide for most of the notes start one whole-step before the note. It's pretty common to use whole-step slides in most slide licks. Notice in bar 2 you slide up to the higher positions of the E Major Pentatonic, then jump back into the main Major Pentatonic scale pattern. The last bar actually follows the chord change of the C and G by playing 5th intervals on the the middle two strings.

Teacher: Let's move to another progression that is related to the E, here's the jam track you will play over:

Looping Jam Track 2 - Lowband

Teacher: This progression uses a standard rock 'n roll/blues using E, A, B, then adding D and onto the octave of E. Here's the first lick you will play over this progression:

Tab 5

Part 2 - Slide Lick 1

For this lick you are basically following the chord changes of the progression using 5th intervals as well. In bar one you slide into the 12th fret while playing over E, then you move to the 5th fret position while playing over A, then bar 3 you play the half-step slide over B, then bar 4 is D and ending in bar 5 back in E. Let's try another lick variation:

Part 2 - Slide Lick 2

Part 2 - Slide Lick 2

Rob: Are these all down strokes?

Rob, yes they are. This lick flows much of the same structure as the previous lick, this time you jump into the E Minor Pentatonic at the end of bar 1. This lick has mostly half-step slides which sound very cool.

Rob: Is there a reason that you keep your index finger on top of the slide? :)

Teacher: Rob, I get more control when using the slide when I have my index finger to help the sensitivity of playing notes. It acts like a pressure control so I can adjust when playing slide on the various strings. The bigger strings need more pressure, while the little ones need less pressure to avoid fretting the string.

Rob: I notice that it is easier to play the high e string with my index finger on the slide like this.

Teacher: High action of your neck is very important when playing slide as well. I had some trouble on my higher string because I didn't raise the action for the lesson series. You might notice some slight buzz on a few higher notes. Let's jump to the next progression and slide licks.

Looping Jam Track 3 - Lowband

Teacher: This progression uses a standard I, IV, V progression in A using a repeating riff. Here's the lick you will play over the progression.

Part 3 - Slide Lick 1

Part 3 - Slide Lick 1

Teacher: As you may notice there is a lot going on with this lick, in bar 1 you start by playing in A using the 4th box pattern of the A Minor Pentatonic scale. Here's the pattern:

A Minor Pentatonic - Box 4

Teacher: In the 3rd bar you shift to play over IV (D) of the progression and then in bar 4 you play back over the I (A) using the lower octave of the A scale patter. Bar 5 plays over the V (E) of the progression and the you shift back to the A for the rest of the solo. Let's jump to another progression, here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 4 - Lowband

Teacher: This progression has a typical country/country rock groove in D. Here's the lick you can play over this progression:

Part 4 - Slide Lick 1

Part 4 - Slide Lick 1

Teacher: This lick uses the D Major Pentatonic scale pattern, here's an outline of the notes used in this pattern:

D Major Pentatonic

Teacher: You might notice this scale is used often by Southern rock bands like Allman Brothers, Skynyrd, and others. The slide lick sounds very melodic when played over the progression. Here's the last jam track and lick.

Looping Jam Track 5 - Lowband

Teacher: This progression is in A this time, here's the lick you will play over the jam track:

Part 5 - Slide Lick 1

Part 5 - Slide Lick 1

Teacher: Well, class time to go, practice hard and see you next lesson!

Teacher: Bye!

audio: bye teach...

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