There’s very few musical styles that combine as many varieties of American roots music as Western swing. Blues, big band, hot jazz, New Orleans, pop songs from the 20's and 30's, cowboy songs, boogie-woogie, and even Hawaiian styles have all influenced the Western Swing sound to one degree or another. The guitarist plays a pivotal role, particularly in the rhythm section. Ray Nijenhuis’ Western Swing Guitar Guidebook is your key to taking that hot seat and becoming an accomplished Western Swing rhythm player.
”I’ll give you the tools to expand and upgrade your basic swing rhythm playing. We'll go from 1 chord in 4 beats to chords with inner voicings and bass melodies, using chromaticism, inversions and chord substitutes. We'll examine imitating cool 3-part harmonies of a string or horn section, creating supercool twin lead solos, the "5-of-Rule", chordal riffs and fills, creating anticipation and suspense using the jazzier ii-V-I progression, and even dig into melodic rhythm playing á la "Faded Love" by chord wizard Eldon Shamblin.”
The Western Swing Guitar Guidebook will take your rhythm playing to a whole new level by expanding your chord and rhythmic vocabulary. Ray will also pass on many key approaches such as chord inversions applications, interchanging chords with its own V chord, playing chains of dominant 7th chords (back-cycling circle of fifths), turning common chord progressions into Western Swing style arrangements, and how to liven up simple repetitive progressions.
Ray organized the course into two sections. In the first section, you’ll work through five key concepts and approaches: Two-Part Harmony Runs, The 5-Of Rule, Chordal Riffs & Fills, Connecting Dom 7 Chords, and Triads & Their Inversions.
In the second section, you’ll put all of the key concepts and techniques to work as you play your way through 9 Performance Studies inspired by Western Swing classics. Ray demonstrates all of the Performance Studies over rhythm tracks and then breaks them down by stepping you through the key concepts, techniques and creative approaches that he used in each study.
Swing to Western Swing - “Want to know how to play a four bar jazzy IIm7-V-I chord progression, Western Swing style? This study shows how to go from the "four beats - one chord" basic 4-note chords to more sophisticated chords by using the various concepts we've looked at in this course.”
Twin Leads - "Here's a study in playing two-part harmony runs using a hybrid (alternating) picking technique. It's based upon the use of major, minor, diminished, and augmented triads and their inversions.”
The 5-of Rule: - “When creating moving bass runs and melodies, the importance of interchanging a chord with its own 5 chord should not be underestimated. This study gradually shows how a simple "4 bars – two chords" can be turned into a chord progression with a wealth of movement in the bass and melodic inner voicings. Create your own intros, endings, and turnarounds.”
12 Bar Swing Blues - “To me one of the coolest things about Western swing are the three-part harmony section arrangements. Normally this is played by electric guitar, mandolin, and lap steel for example, but what about playing it all by yourself so just one guitar? We'll also look at harmonizing a melody using major and minor triads in combination with chromaticism.”
Medium Blues - “Here's a medium tempo Western swing blues with a three-part harmony section arrangement for one guitar. We're using minor triads while playing in a major key. By playing these triads on adjacent strings and using hybrid picking techniques, you'll be able to fool many a listener.”
Wrong or Right - “Here's an etude that teaches you how to turn a standard dominant 7th chords chain with just the chord root and/or the fifth in the bass to an extensive rhythm part that makes use of inversions and chromaticism to keep you going. This 8-bar progression was and is still used in many a tune like the Western swing classic Right or Wrong."
Fading Love: - “This etude, just like All Things Eldon, covers a whole lot of tips and tricks and ins and outs of the Eldon Shamblin approach to playing Western swing rhythm guitar. It's all there: inversions, chromaticism, runs, counterpoint-like moving bassline melodies, and more.”
Take Me Home To Tulsa - “To keep you from getting stuck in the barre chord position, and to prevent you yourself getting bored with the limits of only two chords, here's a study based on the two-chords song Take Me Back to Tulsa. For this tune, we'll be backing up a I-V-I fiddle tune with a "boom-chick-boom-chick" rhythm going like there’s no tomorrow.”
All Things Eldon - “You could say that all the concepts from this course lead to playing this blues, totally Eldon Shamblin style. The 12-bar blues format is used a lot in Western swing. This study reveals the limitless options possible once you've got a couple of the concepts down.”
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, Ray generously includes all of the rhythm tracks for you to work with on your own.
Grab your guitar and let’s swing with Ray Nijenhuis!