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Michael Johnson >> Southern Rock Legends >>
Lesson Subject: Southern Rock Legends II
What you learn: Atlanta Rhythm Section Style
Michael: Michael Johnson

Michael: Welcome class to the last lesson on Southern Rock Legends. The style featured in this lesson is the Atlanta Rhythm Section. This band was very popular, and mostly known for their ballads and other soft rock hits. The Atlanta Rhythm Section began in Doraville, Georgia where producer/songwriter/manager Buddy Buie, and songwriter/guitarist J.R. Cobb started the core band. Buie and Cobb later recruited Barry Bailey (guitar), Rodney Justo (vocals), Dean Daughtry (keys), Robert Nix (drums), and Paul Goddard (bass). The guitar work though was very cool and should be fun to play. Check out the lesson sample of what you will learn.

Lesson Sample - Highband 3.6 Meg

Michael: Let's get started with the 1st rhythm guitar for part 1.

Part 1 - Rhythm 1

Part 1 - Rhythm 1

Michael: This rhythm track is based in the key of E, and has a kind of bouncing rhythm like the Doors. This rhythm is the 1st layer, where the bass and guitar play the same lick. Here's the next rhythm track using intervals.

Part 1 - Rhythm 2

Part 1 - Rhythm 2

Michael: The intervals use various voicings of the Maj 3rd, Min 3rd and other intervals. Here's the jam track with both parts:

Looping Jam Track 1 - Lowband

Michael: Notice how all the layers work together in the jam track. Now let's try playing a solo over this track. This solo will be in the E Minor Pentatonic scale. Here's the solo in E.

Part 1 - Solo 1

Part 1 - Solo 1

Michael: This solo starts out in the 4th box pattern of the E Minor Pentatonic scale.

E Minor Pentatonic - 4th Box Pattern

Michael: Notice in bar 2 the series of descending intervals the play on the 1st and 2nd string.

Jim: E major descending?

Michael: Yes Jim. Bars 3 & 4 jump back into the 4th box pattern of the E Minor Pentatonic, and then in bar 6 you jump into the main E Minor Pentatonic scale, based on the open frets.

E Minor Pentatonic Scale - Box 1

Michael: OK, let's move onto part 2. This next rhythm pattern has kind of a ZZ Top type feel in E.

Part 2 - Rhythm 1

Part 2 - Rhythm 1

Michael: You start with the open E, which acts as a pedal tone, then playing double-stops in box 1 of the E Minor Pentatonic scale pattern.

Bob: are you palm muting that bouncy low E?

Michael: Yes I am Bob, good ear! Notice in bar 5 you start a series of 7 chords that descend one half-step at a time. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 2 - Lowband

Michael: OK, time for another solo, this time over the new rhythm track.

Part 2 - Solo 1

Part 2 - Solo 1

Bob: This is all pretty ambiguous key-wise, are you thinking E minor pentatonic for that solo?

Michael: Bob yes, you will jump from the E Minor Pentatonic and E Major Pentatonic. Let me break it down for you, bar 1 starts with the lick theme in the 4th box pattern of E Minor Pentatonic that you played in the previous solo. In bar 4 you shift into the 2nd box pattern of the E Minor Pentatonic, using a Major 3rd note to hammer-on. Here's the scale pattern.

E Minor Pentatonic - 2nd Box Pattern

Michael: In bar 5 you shift to the E Major Pentatonic.

E Major Pentatonic

Michael: And then in bar 6 you repeat the descending intervals that are played on the 1st and 3rd string. Bar 7 leads you into playing double stops in the E Dorian on the open strings, this scale shares common notes with the E Minor Pentatonic. The last few bars plays a series of 7th chords.

Michael: Let's jump to the next part! This section also has a clean sounding ZZ Top type sound in A.

Matt: It is true that the major Pentatonic Scale is always three frets lower than the minor scale right.

Michael: Sure Matt, the box patterns always work that way.

Part 3 - Rhythm 1

Part 3 - Rhythm 1

Michael: Take any minor pentatonic pattern, and then shift the scale pattern down 3 half-steps and that puts you in the major pentatonic pattern. Notice how this rhythm track starts in the open A, then plays a series of intervals that are related on the 3rd and 4th strings. The end of the rhythm ends with D. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 3 - Lowband

Michael: Now you can play more licks in A over this track.

Part 3 - Solo 1

Part 3 - Solo 1

Michael: For this lick you start in the 1st box pattern of the A Minor Pentatonic scale pattern. Notice you start with a lick theme and repeat it later in bar 2, this time ending with a a Major 3rd note. Bar 3 jumps into a series of double-stops that are related to the 2nd box pattern of the A Minor Pentatonic. Bar 4 returns to the 1st box pattern, until you jump back into the 2nd box pattern in bar 5 to finish the lick.

Matt: So you should be able to solo in A major Pentatonic three frets lower on the 3rd fret correct

Michael: Matt if you shift down 3 frets from the A Minor Pentatonic, that would put you on the 2nd fret. Here's the last part, using more of a mellow progression.

Looping Jam Track 4 - Lowband

Michael: Here's the Hendrix type licks you will play over the track.

Part 4 - Solo 1

Part 4 - Solo 1

I smell C#m in there on those Hendrix licks (or E Major)

Michael: Yes Bob, all in E Major

Jim: I get E Major. Sweet....

Michael: You use the E Major Pentatonic scale pattern for this lick. See you all next lesson!

Thanks man!

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