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Dobro Lessons: Basic Left Hand Technique

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All right, now, let's talk a little
bit about the left hand technique, here.
So as I was saying, before, you wanna
just, have the bar resting on the strings.
Your left hand should be relaxed.
It should be able to move.
And I basically grip the bar with these
three fingers, the thumb,
the middle and the index fingers, should
grip it just like that.
And these two fingers should just sort of
be loose, on the neck.
They can just sort of, you know, don't
make them too stiff,
they want to be able to just sort of be
And they serve a purpose,
really, which is to mute, the excess noise
that would be happening behind the bar.
If you, [SOUND] do like this you can hear
there's a lot of excess noise.
If you put these left fingers, and they're
just loose, on,
on the strings then it's gonna help mute
some of the excess sound.
Cuz, one thing that we know ,uh.
Probably you've figured out already, is
that when you pick up the Dobro it's,
it's hard to sort of get some of those
extraneous sounds under control.
So this is one easy way.
So the left hand should just be
just place it on the fifth fret, we'll say
for now.
So you want the bar to be directly over
the fifth fret.
This is a C chord.
And so you want, when you look from here
I'm very visual when I'm trying
to get intonations so I look at and I try
to just line this up.
If you want, when you're first starting
you can get right over the bar and try and
make sure that, where the bar is resting
is directly over that fret.
So, and then there's two things to be
aware of with the left hand.
One is playing chords, and the other is
playing single notes.
So, they are a little bit of a different
So, playing a chord is pretty simple, you
just press the bar,
let's say on the fifth fret.
And just strum all the strings with your
And you get a nice chord.
Right there.
So you want to give it a little bit of
pressure, you know,
you don't want it to be too gentle so that
you get rattling.
You don't want the rattle, but you don't
want to push too hard on it either.
If you push hard you're gonna affect the
So just, just play press down just hard
enough so that all the notes ring cleanly.
So, that's about a good pressure.
Should be relaxed, but there's a little
bit of pressure there.
So that's a playing a chord is pretty
And you just want the bar to be straight
if it's turned either direction you're
gonna get, out of tune chords.
So you just want it to be level with the
There you go, pretty easy.
Now the other technique with left hand, is
playing a single note
well just one note at a time, and that's a
little bit different.
What you're gonna want to do in this
say we wanna play the fifth fret of the
third string, so that would be right here.
So, in this case,
when I wanna play a single note, I only
want the bar to be on that one note.
I don't want to just have the bar resting
on all the strings and play that note.
[NOISE] You can.
[SOUND] But ideally what you're gonna
wanna do is, just have so
that one note is being touched by the bar.
So what you do is you angle the bar up
like this so that, you know,
[SOUND] none of these lower strings are
being touched by it.
And the tip of the bar only goes so far as
that third string, so
these strings are also not being touched
by it.
So you're just touching the one string.
And you angle your bar up just a little
And that way you can get a nice tone, and
you know if you want to give it a little
you don't have the other strings sort of
So, try playing a few single notes here.
That's the highest string,
the first string on the fifth fret.
Once again I've got the bar angled, so I'm
only playing that one string.
And you want to use the, you know, the
front of the bar for that.
[SOUND] Now if I wanna play a low note, I
move my bar all the way back so
I'm just [SOUND] playing the one note
As opposed to this.
[SOUND] You hear, you can get a little
rattle there.
Or, you know, you might get some other
strings ringing, so just try that.
Just try playing some single notes.
You angle the bar, put the tip on the, on
the bar on the string and just try that.
So that's the single note technique.
The chord technique, [SOUND] and that gets
you started with the left hand.