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Dobro Lessons: Picks, Capo, and Gear

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All right.
Let's talk a little about the various gear
that you need to play the Dobro.
At first, it can be a little bit
intimidating cuz there's a,
there's a number of things that you sorta
have to have to do this.
The first thing as I was mentioning in the
last portion is a, is a strap.
It's good to have you can get a Dobro
strap online.
Some music stores will carry them.
When I first started playing I had just a
guitar strap that went about here and
then a shoelace tied around the peg head.
You know, it may not look as cool as some
of the other straps.
We can certainly get you going.
But you can order a specific Dobro strap
for yourself.
The other bits of gear are you've got the
bar or the steel which looks like this.
This is a Dobro steel.
You'll see other steels out there that may
be round, and
that is generally more for pedal steel.
The Dobro steels look like this and they
contour to fit your hand, and
they only, you only use the one side of
You probably wanna get something like this
because one technique that you use on the
Dobro may be like a hammer-on or
a pull-off, and you want the bar to fit
comfortably in your hand.
And that some of those bullet bars, as
they're called,
where they're perfectly round don't do as
And you probably don't want a
bottleneck-type slide that
you would slide on your finger.
You want the metal Dobro slide and there's
many different types so just depending
on what's comfortable for your hand you
just find one that that seems to suit you,
they're made of different metals, this one
has to, happens to be stainless steel.
Some are made of nickel-plated brass.
You might notice a little difference in
tone, but
mainly you wanna get one that's
comfortable in your hand.
So this is what I use, the sheer horn
stainless steel bar.
Then you have the picks that go on your
right hand.
This is really important you want these to
be comfortable, you use three of them, so
I don't know if you can see, there's my
thumb pick.
This is called the blue chip pick, it's
got a metal wrap with a plastic face here,
and it just goes on your thumb like this.
You just want that to be comfortable.
You know, somewhere towards the bottom of
your fingernail.
You don't want it to be on the bend of
your knuckle,
you want it to be on the main part of your
thumb, held like that so you can [SOUND],
so you can pluck the strings.
And then you have two metal finger picks.
So they go on like this.
Now, don't feel bad the very first time I
put picks on I put them on in reverse,
so the pick side was going this way.
I didn't have anybody tell me otherwise
but it became very clear very quickly it
was gonna be difficult to play like that,
so you want the sliding face of the pick
to face up like so, and the angle of the
pick should be about like that.
Just a nice curve up, so that you can get
[SOUND] just a nice strike to the string.
And one thing that I do that helps me, I
noticed, you know, getting comfortable
with the picks can take a little bit of
time because it's, it's sort of foreign to
you when you're first starting and it can
sorta tear up your cuticles I noticed.
So for me, what I would do and
since I wear these picks so much is I use
electrical tape.
I don't know a lot of other people that do
this but
this is just something that I happen do.
I put little pieces of electrical tape on
my fingers and
it keeps these things from getting
swollen, cuz you don't develop calluses
on your cuticle, they just keep growing
and get swollen.
The other thing that I'll do is I use
fiddle rosin or
violin rosin crushed up into a powder, and
I put my fingers in that,
and it makes this tackiness, and then I
just slide my picks on, and
what that does is, it make, gives your
picks a really good grip.
Cuz for years before I started doing that
I would notice these picks would just be
sliding off and the thumb pick [SOUND]
you'd strike and sp,
it would spin around, so this rosin trick
is something that I’ve been using for
a long time and it really helps me.
You certainly don't need to do it but it's
but it's something that that,
that helps me.
You also wanna get yourself a good tuner.
There's a wide variety of tuners out
I happen to use a tuner on my iPhone.
It's an iPhone app called Clear Tune.
I've spent hundreds and hundreds of
dollars on great tuners.
This is $3.99 and it works great.
But there's any number of different tuners
that you can get and
this will just obviously help you to be in
which you wanna do when you pick up the
Dobro each day.
I think that pretty much covers the gear.
Oh there's one other thing, is the capo.
You wanna get a capo.
This is a sheer horn capo and
what this does is it allows you to play in
your open position in other keys.
So, this is G.
if I want to play the things I would play
in G in the key of A,
I take this capo and I place it here on
the second fret, and
now I can play everything that I would
normally play in G in the key of A.
So it just raises the whole pitch
of your instrument up where, wherever you
might need it to.
I can move it to here and raise it up, yet
a capo can be really helpful especially if
you are just getting started.
You wanna play in the key of A, or B Flat,
some other keys.
It'll get you going a little bit quicker
in that regard.
So, I think that covers the gear.