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Cant play, wont play slide? Maybe its time to learn some licks that l help you
capture the sound and vibe without so much as a bottleneck in sight

eres an inconvenient
truth: there really is no
easy way to play slide
guitar. Just as Derek
Trucks, Kelly Joe Phelps and
Martin Harley attest in our
interviews in this issue, it
takes lots of practice, and
several of the skills are not
transferable from standard
guitar techniques. Its fun, and
worth persevering with, but its
something that requires a lot of
time to truly get to grips with
As a compromise, there are a
number of ways of creating a
fake slide sound using standard
guitar technique.
The licks here are still not
exactly for total beginners, but
you can get some great results
with a bit of practice, and whats The whammy bar is one way
more, you can open up a huge you can simulate the sound
range of new ideas for your of slide guitar
playing in the process. [AC]

The general theme here is bending, as that's the only way of getting a smooth portamento sound on a guitar. Portamento is a
smooth glide etween notes, unlik glissando, where you hear the step (like sliding up the fr ts). Tr bending as many notes as
possible, add generous reverb and play slowly to create this spacious Ry Cooder film-score vibe!

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Of course, theres another way of bending notes on the guitar, and thats to use the whammy bar. What you ose in precision
pitching, you gain in flexibility: you can move all the strings, p or down, an you can bend wider intervals (especially wi h a locki g
trem). T is example also has some s immering chords, remin sce t of Hawaiian guitar or lap steel.


The pedal-steel is the ultimate slide machine. It has pedals for instantly changing the tuning, allowing for a more complex range of
sliding effects. On guitar, we usually simulate these sounds with dual-string bends and oblique bends (bending one note while the
other remains stat c). Heres a begin ers guide to some basic options, all working with simple chord shapes.


Heres a tricky lick with a pedal steel-like finish. Pick, bend and hold the 4th, then the 3rd string. Note that the 2nd string should now
be caught under your first finger, too, along with the 3rd string. Pick the 2nd string too, so three strings are ringing. Release the 3rd
and 4th string bends, but keep the 2nd string under your finger as you do so. Itll bend up a semitone, creating the G triad (BDG).

April 2014 Guitarist 81

Now youve read our interview with slide supremo Martin Harley, try this elegant lick
for either lap-steel or regular guitar, with a video lesson courtesy of the man himself


Itching to give slide a try, but need a leg-up? Have go at this simple rhythm-and-melody pattern in open D [D A D F# A D] specially
cooked up by Martin to get you slip-slidin away

April 2014 Guitarist 61

Techniques Blues Headlines

Blues Headlines
This month, Neville Marten takes a break to invite Guitarist
regular Adrian Clark to be your guest tutor. He wants to free
your blues from that pentatonic cul-de-sac

Breaking The Habit

Difficulty +++
Tutor: Adrian Clark |
| 1015 mins per example Guitarist Vault
Gear used: Gibson ES-335 (lead) and Fender Strat (rhythm), Fractal Axe-Fx (Fender-type amp models)

IF you grew up in a shack in Mississippi, with

deep Delta spirit running through your veins,
and can wring several songs worth of pure
heartbreak from a single pentatonic scale,
you probably dont need this lesson. This is for
all the people who like to play a bit of blues,
but often find themselves running out of
soloing ideas. Once youve run through your
favourite blues licks, where do you go next?
Blues is often seen more for its limitations
than for its possibilities, and thats a shame.
Its not hard to see why that happens, though.
Its used as an easy starting point for
beginners, where you just need three chords
and a pentatonic scale, but then so many of
us never look any deeper. There are rich
possibilities for expanding your blues
vocabulary, just like any other musical style.
What Id like you to do first is try to get out of
the habit of thinking of a blues scale. Despite
the old stereotype of noodling up and down
the pentatonic, blues is actually one of the
least scale-based musical styles! There are
various scales that work over a blues
progression, but all the great players have
always worked on several levels, using scales,
notes from the underlying chords and varying
numbers of outside notes.
That said, Ive built this solo around the Matt Schoeld uses
unexpected scales and
familiar 5th-fret A minor pentatonic box, just targets underlying
to show how much melodic variety you can chords to add variety
reach from there. Over a standard 12-bar
progression, its possible to use all 12 notes
from the chromatic scale with a little care This will already mean that youre targeting learning the notes of the chords (see Ex4),
theyre all in my solo! Admittedly, this is a little more of the useful chord notes. and compare them with the notes of the
on the extreme side, and I certainly wouldnt You can, of course, use the faithful old minor scales listed above.You could also try the
play like this normally, but hopefully itll give pentatonic over all the chords, but try jazzy trick of approaching a chord note from a
you some ideas to work on. hammering (or bending) from the C to the C# semitone above or below; again, this creates a
If you feel safer working in a scale when you use it over the A7 chord. The C momentary tension or dissonance.
environment for now, try using A Mixolydian creates a tension, and its up to you how long Enjoy working your way through these
(A B C# D E F# G) over the A7 chords, and A you hold that before resolving to the C#. examples, and Neville Marten will return as
Dorian (A B C D E F# G) over the D7 and E7. When youre ready to go further, start off by usual next issue.

150 Guitarist April 2014 Blues Headlines Techniques

Example 1
THE b5 (here, D# or Eb) is a common addition to the minor pentatonic, and Ive used it in two ways here, leading up into E in bar 1 and down
into D in bar 2. Most of the notes here are from A Mixolydian (A B C# D E F G). The final F note would sound weird on its own, but leads us to

Ex 1 A A 7
. n . 1/4

BU 1/4 BU
E 5
B 4 5 8 (10 ) 8 4 5 7 (8) 7 5 7
G 7 5 6 8 7 5 7 5 7 5 6
D 7 7 5 7
A 7 7

Example 2
THE F# of the D7 chord! We used F# in Example 1, where it functioned as the sweet 6th over the A7 chord. Over the D7, its the much more
solid major 3rd. I couldnt resist using the b5 (Eb) to create a D7b9 arpeggio spanning bars 5/6. Very jazzy, but a comfortable shape to use.

Ex 2 B

1/4 1/4
. 1/4 1/4

1/4 1/4 BU BU BU 1/4 1/4

E 5 7 (8) 7 5 8 (10) 8 5
B 7 5 7 8 (10) 8 5 6 7 7 7
G 5 5 6 8 7 5 5 5
D 7

Example 3
THE E7 provides new melodic possibilities. The B note always works quite well within a regular A blues scale (its the 9th in the key of A),
but here, it becomes the 5th over the E7, approached from the Bb at the end of Example 2. When the E7 returns in bar 12, I played a little E
augmented arpeggio (E G# C): the fifth is now C (not B).

Ex 3 C
b E7 . .
.. .

E 6 7 5
B 5 5 7 4 5 8 8 5
G 8 5 8 5 7 5 6 7 4 7
D 7 7 7 6 7 7 7 6

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Techniques Blues Headlines

Example 3 continued
j . nA 7 .

D7 E7
# j
E 5 7 5 6 5 8 (10 ) 8 5 5 7
B 5 8 5 5 5 6 7
G 7 (9) 8 7 5 7 5 6 5
D 7 7 6
A 7

j A7
n .
12-Bar sequence repeats . . .
E 7 ( 8) 7 5
G 5 6 X
D 7 7 5 7 7 7 7 6 5 X
A 7 6 5 3 4

Example 4
TO get you started with the theory, heres a comparison between the notes of A minor pentatonic and the I, IV and V chords in the key of A.
As you can see, there is some crossover. Its the other notes that make the difference try to view a blues solo as a journey through shifting
melodic environments, determined by the underlying chords.

Ex 4 D A minor pentatonic A7 arpeggio D7 arpeggio E7 arpeggio


root min3rd 4th 5th min7th root root maj3rd 5th min7th root maj3rd 5th min7th root maj3rd 5th min7th
E 5
B 5 8 5 8
G 5 7 6 5 4 7
D 7 7 4 7 6
A 5 7

LARRY CARLTON Handful Of Blues Siftin Thru Ashes
Last Nite Poised, stinging and eloquent, Robben Fords A fine player, Schofields fretwork takes
Carltons a master at melodically playing is, for many, the ultimate expression some cues from Robben Fords work,
sophisticated interweavings of blues, jazz of jazz-literate blues guitar. As the title but also from more traditional blues.
and more.Youll find a wealth of ideas for suggests, this 1995 outing sees Ford plant Nonetheless, his blend of power, precision
extending blues licks into other realms on his feet firmly on the soil of tradition but and melodic sophistication is entirely his
this commanding 1986 live album, cut in when he takes solos on tracks such as Tired own. Check out his incendiary playing on
California with a dynamic backing band Of Talkin, youll hear a fluency and creativity this 2005 album to hear how powerful that
including Terry Trotter on keys and Abraham that gives you a wide-angle view of whats blend can be, and also have a listen to his
Laboriel on bass. possible in blues. latest record, Far As I Can See.

152 Guitarist April 2014