Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Useful Lick - B to E

Here's a great little lick that takes you from B to E very nicely (for songs in the key of E) and will spice up the end of any break. You can take it down one string and it will lead from E to A in the key of A, and move it around a bit to make it fit in G, C or D and all the other keys. Work it up until you can play it at a good speed like 110 or 115 bpm, then slot it in your next improvised break. It has a great rhythm and feel.

You can hear this played on "You Let The Dog Off The Chain" on Junior Sisk and Rambler's Choice's CD Blue Side Of The Blue Ridge. I believe the mandolinist on that album was Chris Harris. Maybe the lick sounds like a little dog barking - that's a good way to remember it.

It's very tempting to use too much left hand finger pressure when playing a lick like this - avoid it at all costs, it hurts your fingers and makes it too hard to play the slides. I've found it worthwhile finding and practicing the minimum pressure I need to make the notes ring out, but not sound clipped or whispery. It takes me a lot of practice.

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