Dobro, Levels 2/3

Ivan Rosenberg

Since I teach at Walker Creek often and get a lot of repeat students, I'd like to try something new this time: helping you all speak Dobro more fluently by increasing your Dobro vocabulary. Here's my plan for the weekend:

Day 1: Learn a slew of open and closed-position Dobro licks! There are a few dozen stock Dobro licks that all the pros know, and you should know them too. Once you have these licks under your hands, you can alter them to express a particular melody. And when you have a deeper Dobro vocabulary, you'll have a much easier time developing your own solos, backing up vocalists, improvising, deducing what your favorite Dobro players are doing, and learning from recordings. We're going to drill these over and over and over so you really learn them.

Day 2: Review the licks we learned and use them to create solos and backup licks. We’ll do a lot of jamming so you have real-world experience using these licks. And we'll continue to drill these licks into your visual, aural, conceptual, and muscle memory so you don't forget them.

Day 3: We'll take a deep dive into some choice recordings featuring Dobro legends such as Mike Auldridge, Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes, and Sally Van Meter. We'll listen to their backup playing and solos and try to recognize musical phrases that are built on the Dobro vocabulary we've already learned—and then we'll see if we can all play what they're playing. Along the way we'll work through quickly identifying keys and chord changes.

I'll provide a big stack of handouts. Bring a recording device and a Dobro capo.

Prerequisites: It would be really helpful if everyone knows the G major and D major scales confidently in an open position (i.e. incorporating open strings) and in at least one closed position. Also, it would be fantastic if everyone could easily do a reasonably clean hammer-on and pull-off so we can focus on playing musical phrases without getting held up by technique problems. If you need help with these things, email me and I can probably recommend a local Dobro teacher for you, or we can arrange a Skype lesson:

About Ivan Rosenberg

Since releasing his first solo album in 2001, Ivan Rosenberg has gained a dedicated following for his melodic, expressive acoustic music on Dobro and clawhammer banjo. Millions have heard his original songs in the background of over 400 television programs and films including The Daily Show, Oprah, Call of the Wildman, History Detectives, the Special Edition DVD of Serenity, and the Hollywood blockbuster Kangaroo Jack. Ivan earned an IBMA Award for co-writing the 2009 Song of the Year; played on the Jerry Doulgas-produced CD Southern Filibuster: A Tribute to Tut Taylor; and performed with Chris Coole, The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, the April Verch Bigger Band, Lizzy Hoyt, Zachary Lucky, Allison Lupton, Chris Stuart & Backcountry, and many more. Ivan is also in high demand as an instructor, having taught a combined 80+ weeks at music workshops such as ResoSummit, Nashville Dobro Camp, Sore Fingers Week in England, Walker Creek Music Camp, California Bluegrass Association Music Camp, 108 Mile Cabin Fever Bluegrass Workshop, NBCMS Acoustic Music Workshop, British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, Mountain Fever Bluegrass Camp, Grand Targhee Music Camp, and Old School Bluegrass Camp.

Ivan has taught at Walker Creek more times than we can count, and he's also our program director, so we're glad to have him back to teach Dobro this spring!