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Learn the basics of the lap-style resophonic slide guitar, with essential tips on right- and left-hand technique as well as arrangements of classic tunes and songs. Includes 15 complete songs, 24 lessons, and 48 videos.
With his gorgeous tone, dead-on intonation, and musical ideas and solos that are jaw-droppingly creative and tasteful, Mike Witcher is one of the best resonator guitar players in the world.
The youngest of five siblings (including a twin brother) in a musical and artistic family in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Mike Witcher began playing the resonator guitar at the age of 14. Influenced by the many styles of music he heard at home, he was soon playing with his father, Dennis, and brother Gabe (who currently plays in Punch Brothers) in the legendary Southern California-based bluegrass band the Witcher Brothers. An in-demand session player in LA and Nashville, Michael has worked with Dwight Yoakam, Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, Missy Raines and the New Hip, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin bassist), Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), and many others.
A gifted and caring teacher, over the last 15 years Mike has developed an effective method of teaching the resonator guitar that allows the student to quickly grasp and apply complex concepts. He has written two instruction books (Resonator Guitar—Tunes, Techniques, and Practice Skills and Resonator Guitar—20 Bluegrass Jam Favorites), and teaches at the top acoustic music camps around the world, including Reso Summit. mikewitcher.com
The melody to the popular gospel classic “Amazing Grace” can be played almost entirely on the first string, making it a great exercise for practicing your intonation on one string. With Tablature
Download a PDF list of all the Beginning Dobro lessons so you can keep track of your progress.
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ALL ABOUT THE DOBRO
Welcome to the wonderful world of the dobro, or resophonic guitar. In this video, Mike gives you an introduction to this popular lap-slide instrument, showing you how it’s tuned and how to get it set comfortably on your lap. He also talks about the strings, picks, and steel (slide) he uses, and gives advice on tuning the dobro.
PICKING-HAND TECHNIQUE Your first four video lessons get you started on the Dobro with an excellent guide to using your picking hand. You’ll get set up with a good picking-hand position, learn how to get the dobro situated on your lap, how to place your hand on the palm rest, and curve your fingers so your thumb and fingers hover about a quarter of an inch above the strings, ready to play. You’ll also learn some basic roll patterns, the essence of the bluegrass dobro style, and some exercises that will help you play cleanly and avoid getting a scratchy sound with your fingerpicks.
SLIDE TECHNIQUE The bar is really what makes the dobro unique. In these five lessons, you’ll get tips on holding the bar, with advice on how much pressure to put on the strings, and learn how to mute the strings behind the bar. You’ll also learn some essential techniques that will help you clean up your playing, reduce buzzing, and get a pure tone. Then you’ll learn some arpeggio exercises and the best way to play hammer-ons and pull-offs, an essential technique for dobro players.
EXERCISES FOR BOTH HANDS Put both hands together on some great exercises that apply the slide to roll patterns as well as a scale pattern using hammer-ons and pull-offs.
FIRST DOBRO TUNES AND SONGS Apply the techniques you’ve learned to some classic tunes, with step-by-step instruction, tablature, and play-along tracks so you can practice the tunes you’ve learned with rhythm accompaniment.
PLAYING RHYTHM In most bluegrass situations, the dobro fulfills the same rhythmic function as the mandolin, providing a percussive chop on the back beat. You’ll learn a couple of different ways to play the chop, as well as a percussive rhythm that uses more of a roll pattern.
ADDING ROLLS TO A MELODY
PLAYING IN CLOSED POSITION Being able to play in closed position means that you can move your melodies and roll patterns to any key. You’ll start by taking some melodies you’ve learned in open position and moving them up to the 12th fret so they sound an octave higher. Then you’ll learn to move these positions to other keys.
LEARNING THE FINGERBOARD If you want to start learning to improvise and play melodies in different keys on the dobro fingerboard, you’ll need to know the triad (chord) shapes and scale patterns on the dobro.
MORE DOBRO TUNES AND SONGS You’ve learned to add rolls to melodies and move around the fingerboard. Now it’s time to apply your techniques to some other great tunes and songs. You’ll also learn to play in the keys of D, A, and C and how to use a capo to move G position to other keys.
BLUEGRASS SOLOING: ESSENTIAL TECHNIQUES At a jam session, you may encounter songs that you haven’t heard before or haven’t learned a solo for. In these lessons you’ll learn some licks you can use in numerous songs and get ideas on creating solos to songs.