Virtually every style of popular music today features rhythm guitar work inspired by legendary guitarists such as Steve Cropper, Spanky Alford, Curtis Mayfield, Jimmy Johnson, Cornell Dupree, Leo Nocentelli, Eddie "Chank" Willis, Marv Tarplin, and Reggie Young. Their ‘soulful’ contributions to literally hundreds of hit songs have influenced every generation of guitar players to come.
Rock, Pop, Blues, R&B, or even Singer-Songwriter — whatever your preferred style happens to be, inject a little ‘soul’ into your rhythm guitar work to majorly spice up your originals, covers, and jams. There’s no better, or quicker way to learn how to do that than jumping on the bus with James Hogan as he guides you through his Soul Rhythm Guitar edition of Essentials.
”We'll start the course with some killer riff-based ideas from Motown legends Eddie "Chank" Willis and Marv Tarplin. From there, we'll head down to "Soulsville, U.S.A." to Memphis' Stax Records where we'll check out some funky 6th intervals and fat chord grooves inspired by Steve Cropper of Booker T. & The MG's and Reggie Young from American Sound Studios Memphis Boys.
We'll cruise up to Chicago for some gospel inspired, chordal brilliance from Curtis Mayfield and then work our way back down south down to Muscle Shoals, Alabama for some greasy soul grooves in the style of Jimmy Johnson and The Swampers! We'll head over to New Orleans and jam to a bluesy piano inspired riff from legendary pianist Allen Toussaint and a funky guitar groove from The Meters' legendary guitarist Leo Nocentelli.
We'll then head to Philadelphia to investigate a smooth Philly soul styled groove and finally, we’ll dig into some gospel infused Neo-soul guitar that pays tribute to the late great Spanky Alford!”
James presents 10 Soul Rhythm Guitar performance studies to cover the definitive range of soul guitar grooves. He’ll perform every groove over a rhythm track, and then break it down for you measure-by-measure.
Buckshot - ”By the mid 1960's, Berry Gordy's Motown Records in Detroit was one of the most successful record labels in the music business. This study is reminiscent of a groove from the hit record "Shotgun" by Junior Walker & The Allstars from 1965. The rhythm guitar part is in the style of Eddie "Chank" Willis and features a one chord vamp with some funky little fills mixed in. Eddie played a Gibson Firebird in his early years but started using a 335 by the late 1960's. This riff is a one chord vamp on Ab7. Have fun with this one and be sure to stay "in the pocket" when jamming to the backing track. Note: the timing can be deceptively tricky due to the counter line with the bass.”
Marv’s Thing - ”This study is inspired by the phenomenal Marv Tarplin. Marv was a fantastic guitarist and writer who spent most of his career playing his black Les Paul Custom alongside the great Smokey Robinson. For this one, we'll be using a bit of hybrid picking with a clean tone. Although, if you add a bit of dirt to your tone, you'll hear how Marv's piano styled chords influenced the next generation of rock guitarists! Also, there's some syncopation here so we'll need to be aware of that.”
Colonel's Recipe - ”While The Funk Brothers were laying down historic tracks up in Motown, Stax Records in Memphis had their very own house band of legendary players known as Booker T. & The M.G.'s to lay down deep grooves for their artists. The Stax house band played on hundreds of hit records by artists such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Bill Withers, Albert King, and many others. For this one, we'll be laying down a fat Memphis chord groove and sweetening it up with some of Cropper's signature Telecaster fills using 3rd's and 6ths.”
Soul Stew - ”This study is a killer Memphis styled groove from American Studio's "Memphis Boys". This rhythm part is based on the great Reggie Young's killer guitar parts on King Curtis' "Memphis Soul Stew". For fun, I've combined Reggie's part with the slick live guitar parts played by the amazing Cornell Dupree. Reggie Young's part is the iconic 6th interval intro into the rhythm guitar groove. From there, we'll delve into Cornell's funkier rhythm approach. Once again, playing in the pocket is essential here. Also, though this example only uses two triads for the rhythm part, there's a lot of sneaky picking hand stuff going on to make it work.”
Gentle Genius - ”Here’s a really classy chord progression with some elegant fills in the style of soul and R&B guitar genius Mr. Curtis Mayfield. While many know him from his "Super Fly" era playing and singing, Mayfield's beautiful chordal work and fills have inspired countless players. In fact, his influence can clearly be heard in Jimi Hendrix's chordal work. In this study, we'll check out some of Mayfield's beautiful "Impressions" era chord moves, intervallic fills, and lush harmonics! We'll also be going fingerstyle here, though you can play the example with a pick if you prefer.”
Snapback - ”This study takes us down to Muscle Shoals where we'll dig deep into a fat groove inspired by the "Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section", aka "The Swampers" of FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals sound fame. This rhythm part is a quintessential Muscle Shoals soul groove taken from Clarence Carter's "Snatching It Back". The funky little guitar riff is in the style of the great Jimmy Johnson and shows his importance to the Muscle Shoals sound. There's an Eddie Willis styled chord "chank" on beat 2 of the 1st measure to set the time, followed by some nice muted single notes to start us off.”
Yo Yo - ”This is a bluesy soul groove in an early 1960's New Orleans soul style. For this one, we'll be exploring a New Orleans styled piano riff reminiscent of the legendary Allen Toussaint. This rhythm part is similar to Allen's piano work on Lee Dorsey's hit soul record Ya Ya from 1961 mixed with a bit of his piano stylings on Dorsey's "Soul Mine" from the early 80's. You can play this with a pick, though it will probably sound more authentic played with hybrid picking or even fingerstyle. This type of piano styled comping comes in really handy on solo, duo, and trio guitar gigs where you have to fill up some space.”
Sneaky Sally - ”Here’s a funky little guitar part I took from the incomparable Leo Nocentelli's playing on Lee Dorsey's recording of "Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley". That original recording of the tune features the super soulful Dorsey on vocals backed by Nocentelli and The Meters! Leo Nocentelli may be the funkiest guitarist of all time! His parts are quirky, funky, soulful and deep in the pocket. This part is no exception. Again, we'll be using hybrid picking here along with some sliding on the fretting hand. We'll also encounter those 6ths intervals again that we saw back in the Memphis examples. You'll dig this one!”
Philly Smooth - ”This study takes us back to the smooth sounds and production found at Philadelphia International Records and Sigma Sound Studios in the 1970's. Studio producers Gamble & Huff along with Thom Bell in particular helped shape the smooth sound of "Philly soul”. For this study, we'll once again use a clean tone. The chord progression here is a bit more sophisticated than ones we've seen in other examples. Gamble, Huff, and Bell used lush and beautiful harmony in their arrangements, which is a trademark of the Philly style.”
Spiritual Groove - ”This study is a funky little gospel styled groove in the 90's neo-soul style. Tony! Toni! Toné!, Raphael Saadiq, D'Angelo, Maxwell, Eric Benet, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill are some of the fantastic artists in this genre. There are often elements of classic soul, Philly Soul, R&B, funk, hip-hop, and gospel in this style. For this study, we'll take a look at a guitar groove from George Nash Jr. on Eric Benet's "Spiritual Thang" and inject some Spanky Alford gospel styled chord fills into it.”
All of the performance studies are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can play, loop and/or slow down the tab and notation as you work through the lessons. Plus, James includes all of the backing tracks for you to work with on your own.
Grab your guitar and let’s get soulful with James Hogan!