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Dobro Lessons: Advanced Right Hand Technique

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In this lesson, we're gonna talk
a little bit about developing speed and
how you can learn to play faster and more
So in bluegrass music, as you probably
have noticed,
the music can go quite fast and now that
in the advanced curriculum I figure we may
as well, sort of push the envelope
here a little bit and try to get,
ourselves playing faster.
So before we get too far into this we'll
talk just a little
bit more about right and left hand
technique and
the proper technique that will allow you
to play fast.
So, one thing that we'll discuss is
efficiency of motion.
We touched on this before, but this is
where that type of, thinking, efficient
hand motion is gonna really come in handy,
and that's why you wanna have it.
so if you look at the overhead camera view
that we've got here.
You can see that even though I will play
it's actually not a ton of hand movement.
And if you look at the right hand, the
fingers are curled under, pretty much.
the left hand is just working smoothly.
I'm not lifting it too high when I do
hammer-on's and
pull-off's and I'm just keeping a nice
even grip on it.
One of the keys to playing fast actually,
is staying relaxed.
Which can be difficult when a tune kicks
off and
it's moving really quick it's, it's
natural for the body to sort of tense up.
But, one thing I've learned and if you
look at, great performers,
Bryan Sutton is a great example, if you've
ever seen him play guitar.
He is one of the more relaxed musicians
that you'll ever see and
he can play at breakneck speed.
So you want to stay relaxed.
You want your shoulders to be relaxed you
want your hands to be relaxed.
You don't need to be real tense or really
have a lot of
you don't really need a lot of force to
play fast, that's, that's the key.
A lot of people think you need a lot of
muscle and
to really force it to play fast, but it's
actually the opposite.
You need to sort of breathe and settle
into it and you can really get movin'.
So the key is just to be smooth and
practice your right hand exercises.
I've got a pretty cool exercise here that
will help you develop speed.
You wanna take a minute and, and study it
and check out how it's played.
But once you get it down, you can use this
to develop your speed.
So what this is, is it's just a basic one,
four, five chord progression but
it's a series of licks and patterns that
are gonna be some rolls,
some hammer-ons and pull-offs, and sort of
a nice mix.
So, what it does is it mixes a few
different techniques into one long
sort of piece, and so what I'll do with
these is I'll
play it at two different tempos, one
moderate and one quite fast.
But what I would do if I were you is to
play these, start it slow, and
move it up in increments.
And what you can do is, play it slowly and
then move it up to about
as fast as you think you can play it
cleanly, and make a note of it.
And then what you wanna do is you'll have,
you'll have a note saying,
okay, I was able to get this up to about
100 beats per minute cleanly.
And then you can continue to practice it
throughout the week, you know,
maybe the next week, you'll be able to
bump it up ten beats per minute, and
you can refer to that and see your
progress as you go.
So, we'll play it once here at a moderate
[SOUND] One, two, three, four.
that's the whole
developing speed
practice technique
once through.
So you can see there's a variety of
it starts with some hammer ons.
pretty much each pattern it does twice.
That one on the C combines
a few different rolls.
And then the one on the D,
is mostly forward rolls.
And you may notice this roll.
I've used this particular roll in some of
the other lessons.
And then at the end, it sorta ends with
kind of a bluegrassy lick, just to finish
it off.
So you can see the right hand just sort
of, has a little bit of back and forth
motion in it.
You can see it doing that.
And the left hand
just stays relaxed.
So that's the idea,
and you can float a little bit.
A lot of times my right hand will be
anchored hard onto onto the cover plate,
but this one
that's actually one other thing I should
talk a little bit about is, the right hand
doesn't always have to stay hard anchored.
And you'll notice my right hand, all the
fingers are curled under.
Some Dobro players extend their pinky out
as almost an anchor here
and that's probably somebody that maybe
had played banjo or something.
Some of you maybe be banjo players out
there as well, that's totally fine.
You wanna be able, though to, to move
little bit.
You don't wanna to be too hard anchored
here because you wanna be able to move
forward and back like this.
You wanna be able to drift a little bit,
so, when I do a roll like that I'm, my
hand is gently placed here.
It's not hard locked, you know?
So I recommend just keeping that in mind.
And as I say, the right hand, all the
fingers are curled under.
Some people have a pinky extended.
Either way is fine.
The main thing is, you don't wanna be just
too locked to just one position.
You wanna be able to have your hand move a
little bit.
So let's try this exercise now at a fast
tempo and see what it sounds like.
[SOUND] One, two, three, four.
So you can see that's
quite a bit faster, but
you can see the technique
remains the same.
And so, you just want to bump it up slowly
in increments,
and eventually, you'll be playing quite