Incorporating Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop, Fusion and even African elements in their sonic palette, Neo Soul artists have expanded the boundaries of popular Soul music. Bands like The Roots, D'Angelo, Slum Village, A Tribe Called Quest, artists like Maxwell, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and producers like J Dilla, MadLib and DJ Hi-Tek have inspired a fresh and original approach for contemporary, soulful guitar performance.
Rory Ronde’s Neo Soul Guitar Guidebook guides you through the Neo Soul landscape of fresh original sounds, hip timing, guitar sampling, and mesmerizing grooves. Rory passes on 7 key New Soul guitar concepts and techniques for fingerstyle approaches, embellishing chords, Neo Soul chord voicings, movement within chords, hammers, pulls, double-stops and sequencing. He’ll then demonstrate all of these key concepts and techniques across 8 performance studies. ”In this Neo Soul Guitar Guidebook, I'd like to share some ideas, concepts, techniques, and grooves that I use when playing guitar in Neo Soul, Hip Hop, R&B, and the modern jazz styles of today. We'll dig into fresh timing approaches, soul phrasing, and I'll show you the typical chords that are used in these styles and various ways to voice them. We'll explore various fingerstyle techniques that you can use to spice up your guitar playing. We'll also talk about guitar sampling, where you approach live guitar playing the same way a hip-hop producer would use audio software or sampling equipment.”
Ronde is a member of several bands including New Cool Collective, Wouter Hamel, LaGarçon* and Les Cooles De Ville. Ronde is also a songwriter and music producer, working under the alias Kofi Anonymous. Ronde has performed his music all over the world and, fortunately for we students of guitar, is also a passionate educator. We are very excited to welcome Rory to the family with his first TrueFire course, the Neo Soul Guitar Guidebook!
Rory’s 8 Performance studies cover the range of techniques, feels, and chord progressions that are most common in the Neo Soul genre. For each study, Rory will first demonstrate the performance and then break it down for you emphasizing the key concepts and techniques in play.
Smile - ”With this performance study I’d like to inspire you to add more soul and groove to your guitar playing. We’ll be using the chord changes of this song as a starting point. These chords demonstrate the typical feel and style used in both Hip Hop and Neo Soul and even Jazz. To be able to play this style naturally, we have to approach the subject not only from a harmonic perspective but also rhythmically - which is equally important.”
Today - ”This is the guitar part for another original of mine. This is a Hip Hop song featuring thumb and octave playing in the tradition of the great Wes Montgomery. The second section of the song has some interesting voicings.” Fingerstyle Funk - ”When I play in this style of music I often make use of fingerstyle techniques. Especially when playing unaccompanied guitar, fingerstyle can give you a lot of possibilities. This study is an introduction to this world of fingerstyle funk guitar.”
Chord Embellish - ”In this study, I’ll show you a way to enrich your guitar chords and add melodic movement. By using diverse voicings it’s possible to turn ordinary chord progressions into full arrangements.”
Jazzy Summer - ”This performance study feels like an old Soul Jazz classic, mixed with Hip Hop beats. Pay close attention to the feel and rhythmic placement of the chords and melodies. There's also a riff in the beginning that doubles the bass line.”
Sequencer - ”If we want to create a guitar part suitable for Neo Soul we have to dive in the domain of this thing called timing. This is the most important aspect but also the hardest to explain because it’s an often a very subtle and personal thing. The best way I can show you how I look at it is by use of sequencing software where you can see a grid (usually divided in quarter, eight, or sixteenth notes) and where musical elements (in this case a guitar track) are placed on that grid.”
Putting It All Together - ”In the Hip Hop and Soul music we hear nowadays, musical elements are timed in a very peculiar way. The groove is instantly recognizable. Musical phrases typically are shifted slightly away from the regular beat, like we've seen in the section about sequencing. We can also take this approach when we're playing live. I'd like to show you this with the following example, where we combine a simple chord progression with a melody line. We'll manipulate the timing of these elements to create rhythmic tension and release.”
Guitar Sampling - ”We could take the attitude of a Hip Hop producer when composing musical phrases on a guitar. We could treat a certain musical pattern as if it were a sample. Then we can use that “sample” as a building block of a song. We could “ loop “ this piece of music exactly the same way it would be done using audio software. This is what I like to do when I'm composing or playing live. It's very important to realize that isn't done in a random, vague way. It’s a systematic way of playing the desired phrase and also repeating and crafting the phrase further. One can even “cut”, “copy” and paste the way it’s done on computers. I’ll demonstrate this with two grooves. One is a Hip Hop beat and the other is a 6/8 groove.”
All of the key examples and 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, Rory includes all of the backing tracks for you to work with on your own.
Grab your guitar and let’s get our Neo Soul groove on with Rory Ronde!