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The Roy Buchanan-style Bend Lick
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The Roy Buchanan-style Bend Lick

This great lick I learned right from Roy Buchanan’s first LP for Polydor, titled Roy Buchanan, from 1972. It’s a great example of how a country lick technique can be applied to the blues. It also illustrates the usage of a half-step or single-fret bend in place of a whole-step bend.

One of the techniques applied here I call the “two-note chord arpeggio.” Basically this means we are playing a chord run, two notes at a time, and they “peel away” as we do them. This technique will obviously be easier to understand when you can watch me on the video, and see how the fingers peel away from the chord.

It also uses the hybrid, or pick-and-finger, technique and rises to a very cool root and major third bend. This is also a change from the ordinary; where most players would use a minor third to fit into the “blues” scale, Roy chooses to continue the chordal concept, completing the two-note arpeggio. He then descends with some beautiful “pre-bends.” and ends with a beautiful “countryish” half-step minor to major third bend that is combined with the middle root note.

Most of all, even though Buchanan used this as a stand-alone lick, you’ll see that it contains so many great factors, all of which will help you in the creation of more of your own cool positions for soloing as well as accompaniment. Hope you enjoy!—Arlen Roth

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Arlen Roth
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Arlen Roth

Music lesson pioneer Arlen Roth is the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar. Read More...

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