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Rusty Cash >> Brian Setzer Style >>
Lesson Subject: Brian Setzer Style
What you learn: Lesson 2 
Teacher: Rusty Cash

This lesson will finish up the last part of the first lesson I covered last week. We'll begin with a surf lick which is about half way through the example.

Lesson Example

Looping Sound Clip 1

Rusty: All of the licks that we explore in this lesson will work over a twelve bar blues in E. The first lick we'll look at is an old surf lick. Most of you will probably recognize it as a Dick Dale signature lick used in "Pipeline". I'm sure Setzer has played it a time or two and works good with our example.


Rusty: I'm playing everything with a regular pick. Start this lick at the 17th fret. Mute the string just above the fret and play 16th notes or tremolo pick and slide your finger down to the open E, slightly muting the rest of the way. From there you'll slide back up to the high E at the 12th fret. The more reverb you add, the closer you'll get to the surf sound.


Rusty: This lick comes from the E minor blues at the 12th fret. There are two things that you'll want to pay attention to even though this is a quick lick. One is to exaggerate your bends by playing "loose". Two is to make sure you find a comfortable way to play the double stops. Some play with just a pick and some prefer hybrid picking using their remaining fingers. I would hybrid pick because Setzer tends to play this way more often.


Rusty: This is the first turnaround. Notice I'm changing my position with the chord changes. Use to the root notes on the high E as a reference. The next 12 bars will use the E minor Blues Scale:

Rusty: This lick uses several pull-offs that Setzer likes to play a lot. This lick comes from the E minor blues plus some extra tones from the E minor scale for the pull off's.

Rusty: Here we are finishing up the first verse with some hammer-ons a and more pull-offs. We are still using the E minor blues scale which also works fine by itself over the turnaround. Here is a video of lick 4 and 5 together.


Rusty: For the next 12 bars I'm thinking, "What can I do to make it sound a little different or get away from the E minor blues?". Now I'm playing from a country perspective and building my lead around the chords


Rusty: This part is played over the first 4 bars in E. It's really made of two licks. The first highlights the E minor triad using the b3rd, 3rd, 4th, and #4 as passing tones. The second lick is a country lick used a lot in E. I hybrid pick all throughout this part.


Rusty: This next part is played over 2 bars in A and 2 bars in E. The first part is something of a country lick that works over A with some hammer-ons and bends. From there I move into E with the chord change.


Rusty: Here is our turnaround. Because I'm already in position, I use some more country bends and end with a little "chicken picking" lick, Danny Gatton used this technique a lot. Honestly in Setzer's more recent recordings you can hear some similarities between the two artists. Danny was also a good rockabilly player. 

Rusty: These last 12 bars work out of the same position as the chords with the root note on the E string. You may want to hybrid pick the double stops.


Rusty: This uses the same lick over the first 4 bars in E. To add an extra edge, I slide in from a whole step back. Try playing those first two notes with your middle and ring finger. If you can do that then you shouldn't have much trouble with hybrid picking these types of licks.


Rusty: The same lick is used over A and then back to E.


Rusty: We end with another turnaround that's similar to lick 3.

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