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Dobro Lessons: Chopping: The Next Step

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Lets talk a little bit more
about chopping right here.
We're gonna go over a couple of more
advanced type chopping techniques and
ways to play rhythm back up in a group or
by yourself actually.
What we're going to do first is talk about
another way to play a pinch chop.
So, pinch chop,
by that I mean something where you, you
pluck the strings and lift the bar.
Now, one that we've talked about before is
this type of pinch chop,
where you just make sort of one chopping
There's one other way you can do this type
of pinch chop.
it's actually more based on a rolling
And this is the rolling pattern.
It's thumb, thumb
Middle, index.
So the strings being used are five, four,
two, three.
So we can start by just doing the roll.
Not as a chop, but just as a roll,
to get the right hand going.
So the idea here, then, is to create a
chopping sound within that, and
how we're gonna do that is by lifting the
That's the sound we're going for
So, where the chop gets created is when we
pluck the second string.
So if you're, if you're tapping your foot
one, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
The chop happens on two and four as it
always does.
The idea is to just lift the bar when we
hit that second string,
the one we play with our middle finger.
The thumb, thumb, middle, and
that's the chop.
And then we can replace the bar for
that last note on the third string.
So it sounds like this.
You can get
it goin' pretty fast.
So that's one other way you can do a pinch
job, now,
probably what I use most commonly in my
playing is a strum chop.
So, what that is, is
Now we had talked about a little bit of
the strum chop.
That's where you're using more of, just
your thumb pick.
And it's where you sort of, lay your hand
down on the strings, and
sweep your thumb across all the strings to
create a chopping sound, right.
And you can practice this just like that,
you don't even have to move the left hand.
Some people may, I don't, I can leave the
bar just right there on the strings.
And all the muting comes from the right
So, you get this type of thing.
And, generally when I'm doing this I'm
focusing more on the higher strings and
less on the lower strings.
The lower strings, you can do it, but it's
just a darker, kind of woofy sound.
And you want something that's really clear
and audible.
So, I tend to focus a little bit more on
the top strings when I'm doing this.
So, you can do this on the two and four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
And you can speed it up.
I'll recommend doing with, it with a, a
And it should just become kind of a motion
like this.
And you can see, my hand sort of goes back
forth even on the one that I'm not playing
anything on.
It's just sort of a, becomes a right hand
[SOUND] Kinda get a little groove going
with your hand that way.
If you're going really fast, you don't do
that as much, and
you just do something like this.
So you can practice that with a metronome
the next step for that
is I might do a strum in-between, so
I'm doing strum chop strum chop strum chop
strum chop.
So it's strum.
The strum obviously you don't mute.
You just strum is straight across with
your thumb the second time you mute it.
And now we're gonna add even more to that.
What we're eventually trying to get to is
this type of chop.
And how we get there is is pretty
Now there's two ways you can do this
What it is is, instead of just strumming
now you're gonna be strumming forward and
So, the way most people would do that is
strum forward with the thumb and
then back with one of the finger picks
could either be your index finger or
your middle finger, whatever's more
comfortable for you.
I think I use my index finger if I chop
like this.
So the way I would do it is first, just
don't worry about the muting or
the chopping.
Just do strum forward, strum back with the
strum forward with the thumb, back with
the index.
And just get this, strumming going.
every other time you go forward with your
thumb you're going to do that chop, so
it's, strum, strum, chop,
strum, and that's the whole thing.
Strum, strum, chop, strum.
Strum, strum, chop, strum.
Strum, strum, chop, strum.
And that's the idea.
And the idea is to eventually get it
Now, that's what most people
would do to strum backwards.
I'm a little different.
I do it kind of in a weird way.
And I'll show you what I do.
There's not many people that I've taught
that [LAUGH] prefer to do it this way.
But for some reason, it's how I developed
I strum both forward and
back with just my thumb pick.
it helps to have a thumb pick that is on
really tight.
[LAUGH] Because when you start strumming
forward and
back with a thumb pick, it can start to
move around a little bit.
But, so,
I'm not strumming really hard either, you
But I strum forward and back with my
thumb, only my thumb pick
So you can practice that, if this is your
cup of tea.
And then I can get that going really fast.
But you wanna
start it slow.
Strum, strum, chop, strum.
That's the idea.
So then, once I have that,
what I can do is if I'm just using my
thumb pick to go forward and
back, I can use one of these two fingers
for accents.
So I might do something like this.
I can use both the thumb, and
these fingers.
And you can
The nice thing about this strum too is you
can actually do it as a half time feel.
You can do it as a bluegrass feel.
One, two, three, four.
Or you can do it as a half time.
Where you're chopping half as much.
So sometimes songs have that halftime
And so this is a great chop for that.
So all I'm doing, I'm only using these
fingers one time for
that half time chop, so it's like strum
strum strum strum chop and
then right there right after the chop, is
the only time I use this finger.
One of these fingers and
that's strumming chop so
Right after the chop
I come back with one of these.
So, that's the idea with the different
types of strumming chops.
You've got a rolling kind of pinch chop,
and the various strumming chops.
The main thing is to just start slow and
it will be a little tricky at first,
but once you get it smooth,
it's going to be something you can add to
your repertoire to make some nice backup.