Matt shows you a more advanced version of Eldon Shamblin–style backup in this video.
Check out these songs featured in the Western Swing Guitar course.
Matt talks about the origins and main practitioners of western swing and western swing guitar.
Matt shows you some characteristic western swing harmonic sounds using the western swing classic “Stay All Night.” He shows you classic major sixth voicings and how these voicings can be turned into dominant seventh (or dominant ninth) chord voicings by moving them down a whole step. Then he shows you how to use these voicings to give a two-chord song like “Stay All Night” a western swing flavor. He also shows you a couple of classic western swing intros and endings.
Western swing–style fiddle tune backup was mostly invented by Bob Wills guitarist Eldon Shamblin in the 1930s. In this lesson, Matt shows you a basic and advanced example of the style using the Texas fiddle tune classic “Sally Goodin.”
Matt shows you a jazzy version of the melody of the fiddle tune “Sally Goodin” in this video. He plays “Sally Goodin” in a closed position (without open strings) up the neck at the fourth through seventh frets and adds a couple of lines that mirror the chords that Eldon Shamblin plays in his backup.
The blues is a very important part of western swing. For example, “Milk Cow Blues” is one of the classic western swing songs. In this lesson, Matt shows you the kinds of chords and bass runs that Eldon Shamblin would play on a 12-bar blues progression like “Milk Cow Blues” in the key of A.
A lot of the early Bob Wills recordings include twin guitar lines and twin fiddle lines. “Bob Wills Special” is a blues in A that Wills recorded in 1940. In this lesson, you’ll learn a chorus of the twin fiddle solo as well as a chorus of Leon McAuliffe and Eldon Shamblin’s twin guitar (steel and standard guitar) solo.
Eldon Shamblin credits the song “Take Me Back to Tulsa” and Bob Wills’s 1940 recording as being the origin of his extensive use of runs. In this lesson, Matt shows you a variety of the kinds of runs that Eldon played on “Take Me Back to Tulsa.”
“I Hear You Talking” is a Cindy Walker song that Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys recorded as an instrumental on The Tiffany Transcriptions, which are recordings taken from a series of live radio shows that the Wills band played in 1946 and 1947. They are undoubtedly the loosest and hottest recordings of a super hot band. The Tiffany Transcriptions recording of “I Hear You Talking” features a twin guitar line played by Junior Barnard and steel guitarist Noel Boggs. You’ll learn the chords to the song as well as the twin guitar line.
“Right or Wrong” is a western swing classic. It was originally written in 1921 and then later picked up by Bob Wills, who recorded it in 1936. It was also recorded by Milton Brown in the same year. In this lesson, you’ll learn to play “Right Or Wrong” with both the western swing–style chords that Eldon Shamblin uses and the kind of “sock” chords that Homer Haynes (of Homer and Jethro) played.
Eldon Shamblin didn’t play a lot of solos on record, and it’s rare to hear him play chord melody solos, but he plays a great chord melody version of “Right or Wrong” in a YouTube clip. You’ll learn Matt’s chord melody version, inspired by Eldon’s, in this lesson.
“Panhandle Rag” is one of western swing’s most well-known instrumentals. It was written by Bob Will’s steel guitar player Leon McAuliffe in the late 1940s. Matt shows you Eldon Shamblin’s chordal accompaniment of “Panhandle Rag” as well as an arrangement of the melody with some double-stop ideas borrowed from steel guitar playing.
“The Waltz You Saved for Me” is a beautiful waltz that was written in 1930. It was recorded by Bob Wills in 1938 and became popular with other western swing bands and country artists. In this lesson, Matt shows you how to turn a twin guitar part into a triple guitar part, a technique perfected by guitarist Whit Smith.
“Faded Love” is probably Bob Wills’s most famous song. The melody is a version of the 19th-century ballad “Darling Nelly Gray” with lyrics written by Johnnie Lee Wills, and it was recorded by Bob Wills in 1950. But it wasn’t until Patsy Cline recorded it in 1963 that it became a big hit. In this lesson, you’ll learn Eldon Shamblin’s reharmonization of “Faded Love,” which is a great lesson in how to reharmonize a folk song.
Bob Wills recorded the humorous song “Roly Poly” (written by Fred Rose) in 1941. The recording features a twin-guitar intro played by Jimmy Wyble and Cameron Hill. Matt shows you how to play both parts of the intro (as played on the original recording) as well as Jimmy Wyble’s guitar solo.