American roots music originated in the southern states and ultimately caravanned up the Mississippi River to other music hubs like Chicago and New York. The electric guitar was the force that revolutionized music in the 20th-century and led us to where we are today.
In his course, Southern Roots, Scott Sharrard explores the fundamental creative process and rudiments that guitarists need in order to form their own voice. These valuable techniques apply to play any style of American roots music.
Here are eight free video guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Scott Sharrard’s Southern Roots on TrueFire!
Guitar Lesson – Approaching Stormy Changes – Demonstration
This is a T-Bone Walker classic and blues standard that every musician should know. It has some great twists and turns in the turnaround section that incorporates a jazzy sound. You’ll see that this is a fun set of changes where you can play over or through all the movement. I had the honor of playing this song many many times with one of its greatest interpreters, Gregg Allman.
Guitar Lesson – Stormy Changes – Performance
Digging in and playing the blues. Sounds simple, but it never is!
Guitar Lesson – Stormy Changes – Breakdown
Covering all the bases on how to navigate a 12/8 blues with a “jazz turnaround”. Focus on learning how to play over the changes and also how to “skate” past them and play G blues.
Guitar Lesson – Horn Line Phrasing – Demonstration
Don’t pick, blow! Once, Miles Davis was supposedly asked by a young John Coltrane, “how can I end a solo?” This was during a period when Coltrane was taking endless choruses on the band stand and then walking off stage to practice in the dressing room during the rest of the song. Miles advice on how to end a solo? “Take the horn out of your mouth.”
Here’s another good one from Miles: “It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.”
Guitar Lesson – Horn Line Funk – Performance
Trying to approach phrasing as a wind instrument and play IN the pocket instead of around it.
Guitar Lesson – Horn Line Funk – Breakdown
I’m doing my best to remember what I played! Let’s break down what we did in the performance study.
Guitar Lesson – Somebody Done Slide – Performance
More Elmore James but now by way of the Allman Brothers Band classic At Fillmore East version. Gregg Allman and I would often play this one live – it works really well in standard tuning. Duane Allman copped the entire intro note for note from Elmore. Duane was in open E, Elmore open D and I’m in standard…many ways to approach this blues classic.
Guitar Lesson – Somebody Done Slide – Breakdown
A quick summary of standard slide approaches to mimic Elmore James or Duane Allman styles. Watch for muting and intonation. The slide is a tricky beast…stay with it and follow your ear and your gut. I usually recommend practicing electric guitar unplugged at home to get a feel for what your hands are doing. For electric slide make sure you plug it in now and then when you ‘shed; that glass can make a lot of noise! Half the challenge is getting a good clean sound, THEN you have to make music.
Digging these free American roots guitar lessons? Check out Scott Sharrard’s full course, Southern Roots.