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Dobro Lessons: Sound Quality

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Dobro & Lap Steel with Andy Hall. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Dobro Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
In this lesson,
I'd like to talk about tone and
the sound quality you produce when you
play.
So, we've done some various exercises,
scales, chords, some tunes,
things like that, but what we'd like to
take some time and
focus on is the tone you're getting as you
play.
It's something you wanna keep in mind as
you're playing really all the time,
because when you play a melody or a song,
it's not just the notes you play but the
tone you get with your right hand.
And the right hand really is the crux of
your tone.
So, you wanna be aware of where your right
hand is, on the strings.
If it's closer to the bridge, you're gonna
get a brighter tone.
[MUSIC]
If you go farther away from the bridge,
[MUSIC]
you get a much warmer tone.
So, you can use these in different
applications.
Generally, my picking hand rests towards
the top of the cover plate,
right about in here.
[MUSIC]
And
the palm of my right hand rests on this
hand rest here.
[MUSIC]
That's sort of a good, even,
middle of the road tone.
[MUSIC]
Also,
how hard you strike the strings is gonna
affect the tone.
[SOUND] If you play it a little harder,
it's gonna be a little bit brighter, and
just have more presence, more impact.
If you play softer, [SOUND] it's gonna be
a little bit warmer.
So, [SOUND] you just wanna be aware of
that.
Generally, the way this'll work in the
slower songs, I might tend to drift my
hand a little further up the strings to
get a warmer sound like this.
[MUSIC]
Gives a nice
warm tone.
If I'm playing faster songs or want that
sound to be a little bit more aggressive,
I might go back a little bit towards the
bridge.
[MUSIC]
You can hear that gets
a little bit of a brighter sound.
So you can use this technique of moving
closer to the bridge, or
further away from the bridge to alter your
tone.
The other thing that's gonna affect your
tone is how your picks strike the strings.
The one, what you wanna do to get the
fullest tone is
make sure you're striking the strings
[SOUND] straight on, so
that you're getting it right on the pick
face, [SOUND] with the string here.
[SOUND] And one way you can tell is, if
you look at your picks after you've played
on them for awhile, you can see where
they're shiny and where they're dull.
And where they're shiny, that's where
you're hitting the string.
And if, and on the dull part, that means
you're not hitting the string there.
So you can actually see how much of the
pick face is hitting the string,
just by looking at your picks.
If you look at your picks and just, you
know, half of the pick or, or
one of the edges is shiny, that means
you're just picking with the edge of your
pick and you're probably getting a bright,
a tone that's a little brighter than you
might want or a scratchy tone.
So you want the pick face to be hitting
cleanly.
[MUSIC]
And you can check that by
looking at the wear on your picks.
So, that's a little bit about tone, it's
something to keep in mind and, something
to strive for, of course, you want your
instrument to be set up properly too.
But, a lot of your tone is gonna come from
your right hand, and so
it's just something to keep in mind.
[MUSIC]