R&B Guitar Styles

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R&B guitar styles have changed a lot over the last fifty or so years. Learn about different R&B guitar styles with help from a Los Angeles-based guitar player in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: How to Be a Versatile Guitarist
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Video Transcript

I'm Marcus Gerakos, I'm a guitarist based here in LA, I do a lot of film and television work. Today I'm going to talk about the guitars role in playing R&B. Now primarily in a accompaniment instrument you're expected to play in time with the bass and the drums. When the first R&B records were made like in the 50's, I guess you could say the 50's or 60's, the guitar mostly played on the 2 and the 4. In other words, in a lot of 7th chords, 7th chord harmony, like this, 1, 2, 3 and 4; 1, 2, 3 and 4; 1, 2, 3 and 4. Or if you want to cut through, like that. But in the 60's and the 70's, it became popular to play single notes or double-stops on the pentatonic scale, which corresponded, let's say you're playing something in C, right, here's what the chord sounds like, here's the pentatonic scale sounds like based on C. So let's say you're playing a C-major groove, like that. Another way to approach playing R&B, depending on what the groove is, again, you're pretty much at the mercy of the groove, what you play on the guitar has to, has to compliment what bass and drums are playing, or what the keyboard is playing. If you're playing with the keyboard by the way, you want to make your voice seem smaller, you want to, as finest, or stick with the single note, like that, rather than trying to play the big chords, because chances are the keyboard are already playing the big chords. You can also incorporate strumming in playing R&B style guitar. I'm Marcus Gerakos, and this has been a look into how to approach R&B guitar playing.

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