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Dobro Lessons: The Key of G

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All right.
Well, let's talk a little bit about
commonly used keys on the Dobro,
and why they're used, and what are some
common keys in bluegrass music.
Obviously the key of G that the Dobro's
tuned to is
one of the most common keys you'll find
in, in bluegrass music.
The reason for that is basically, these
instruments are tune, tuned to a G.
Banjo's tuned to a G as well as the Dobro.
And the G chord on a guitar is sort of one
of the simplest chords.
And a lot of these songs are, are pretty
Traditional bluegrass repertoire tends to
be, you know, just a few chords.
It's not tons of chords like you find in
jazz or something.
But G major seems to be one of the most
Another common key is the key of C which
is the fifth fret.
That's your C chord.
And then another common key would be
the key of D, which is the seventh fret,
right here.
So G,C, and
D are your most common keys and they're
also the most common
chords that you find in the key of G, so
if you're talking about a key,
a key has several chords that can be
associated with it.
So in the key of G your major chords are
C, and D and then G again.
Now remember, on the Dobro, so
you've got your open G here
but you've also got, one octave up,
a G here
so when you're thinking about the fret
board, you can sort of look at it in, in
this chunk.
The open string all the way to the twelfth
fret, that's one octave right here.
12 notes, one octave.
So this is sort of the bulk of your
fretboard and
then when you go from the twelfth fret on,
it's the same, it's the same as this,
it's just one octave higher.
So really your whole range when you're
looking from this direction is one octave
here, and then about another half an
octave gets you to the end of your fret.
So you've got about an octave and a half
between here and here, and
as I say, you've got G here and G here.
And so as we go, we'll we'll learn all the
notes in between in the key of G.
So what we should do is we should go over
the G major scale,
which is basically the building block of
the key of G.
So we'll start and we'll refer to our
We'll just play this on our own.
We don't necessarily need a metronome.
We'll just go ahead and play off the
tablature and you can follow along.
So we start on the lowest string.
So that's two octaves of a G major scale.
And you'll remember, like I said at the
the first three strings, G, B, D are the
same as the top three strings, G,
B, D
just an octave apart.
So if you learn what the pattern looks
from the first three strings you can apply
that to the top three strings.
So in a lot of these exercises if you
learn the half of it you, you,
you double your information, sort of
So if you, and I'm a very visual person,
when I do these scales I like to look at
the visual pattern.
So let's try one more time.
So that's one octave.
So if you look at how that pattern looked,
you can start the same thing again
starting on this third string, the open G.
Now the only difference there is this last
We don't have any more strings to go to so
we have to continue up the neck.
So that's two octaves of a G major scale,
and that gives you quite a bit.
That gives you this whole chunk of the
neck that you can learn in G and
then you can also do the same scale
So I would practice
that scale and just get
comfortable playing it.
Now, you may be wondering ag, once again,
which fingers to pluck which strings with.
It's, this is a situation where it really
is kind of up to you.
It's whatever you feel most comfortable
The thumb is the strongest finger, out of
these three, you'll notice.
So the thumb gives sort of the biggest,
richest note.
It's just, you know,
as you probably can tell, your thumb is
much stronger.
This has a big pick face, this thumb pick.
So, you can incorporate your thumb a lot.
That tends to give a bigger sound.
But let's see what I do here.
I'll start with the thumb on the lowest
And then when I hit the second string I,
I switch to the index finger.
And then maybe a thumb.
Middle finger.
Thumb, thumb.
So that's just one example of which
fingers that you can use.
But it's like I say, it's whatever's
comfortable for you.
You want to get all the fingers involved,
but you could use all thumb if,
if that's what makes you feel most
comfortable to start with.
So this would be with all thumb.
Now, as you develop speed, you're gonna
want to use more than just the one finger.
You're gonna want to get the other fingers
So just experiment and see what's
comfortable for you and
use a combination of the fingers.
So there's a few more exercises here that
I'll just show you.
This is a, a G scale all on one string.
So you can see the intervals between the
Each, between each two notes is a
different interval and
this way you can see what that looks like.
So here's a G scale going straight up the
neck all staying on one string.
So this is a G scale on the G string.
So starting here.
So you can see,
that's all staying on the third string,
and then we'll go descending.
So you just want to
pick the notes cleanly.
And once again remember, as I'm fretting
these notes I'm keeping the bar tilted
forward, so as to just play that one
string, like we talked about earlier.
And so, so that's a, a G scale on the
third string.
Well, you can do the same G scale on the
lowest string,
because remember these two are octaves.
There's G here and then there's G here.
So this G scale's gonna look the same.
So once again, what you learn on the top
three strings you can apply to the lower
three strings and vice versa.
Now [SOUND] there's one more G scale I'm
gonna show you.
And this is gonna give you your G your G
scale all the way up the neck.
So we're gonna start from this G note
right here,
this is the fifth fret of the highest
string, the first string.
That's a G.
So you've got this G, lowest,
you've got the middle G here, and then
you've got this G.
[SOUND] So from here you'd,
you'd use the same intervals we did on the
single string exercise.
And I've got this in the tablature so you
can refer to it.
So you can practice these different
scales, either with a metronome or just on
their own.
But mainly, you would just wanna get that
pattern in your head and
get the sound of the major scale sort of
familiar to you.
And what this G scale's going to do is
it's going to give you the building blocks
to play all kinds of different songs in
the key of G.
So that's the major
scale in the key of G.
Now we're gonna cover another type of
major scale in the key of G,
something called the pentatonic scale.
Penta, meaning five, means this is a
slightly abbreviated scale.
So sometimes you can get the same effect
of a major scale without
quite using all the notes.
And it sorta ha, it has quite a nice
So this is like a five note major scale.
The regular major scale, seven notes, this
is a few notes left out,
makes it a little bit easier, and also
makes for kind of a nice sound.
So, we'll go ahead and demonstrate the G
major pentatonic scale.
And you can refer to the tablature on this
one as well, so.
So that's
one way to play
the G major
pentatonic scale.
Here's another way.
So, the only difference
between those two scales,
they were all the same notes,
it was just where I was playing
certain notes changed a little bit.
So, this is a good example of how you can
sorta use the open strings on
a Dobro to your advantage.
So the first time I played it, I played it
like this.
So the third note,
[SOUND] was a fretted note here.
Well this note, this B note is the same as
[SOUND] this open B string here.
So sometimes instead of playing this,
[SOUND] those three notes
you can play this, [SOUND] and just play
that open B string.
So either way, the advantage of playing
all of them on the same string is
maybe you can do a slide.
Or, if you just want more efficiency,
you can just use the open string.
And, you can start
to hear as I increase the speed,
how that can be useful.
So listen to it just a little bit faster,
you can get a sense of how musical the G
major pentatonic scale can be.
So that was moving pretty fast, but,
I was just doing that to show you how
musical the G major
pentatonic scale can be, and how it can
help you,
get accustomed to playing melodies in the
key of G.