Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week 03-29-2011
Posted by Michael Mueller on March 29, 2011 at 1:49 PM
While loading a pile of CDs into iTunes, I came across last year's Michael Landau/Robben Ford release, Renegade Creation, which then put me on a bit of a Robben Ford kick, particularly his bluesier material. One of my favorite Ford tunes is the title track to his 1988 album, Talk to Your Daughter. The song is chock full of tasty licks and fills and is thus a virtual treasure trove of licks to choose from for our lick of the week.
One of the things I've always admired about Ford—and I suspect I'm not alone—is his ability to take seemingly stock blues licks and make them sound so smooth and slick. Surely, his deft touch contributes quite a bit, but it's also the way he focuses on chord tones and expands the blues scale. The lick I picked is heard four bars into Ford's solo, and it's based primarily on the G blues scale (G-Bb-C-Db-D-F); in fact, the second half of the lick simply descends the scale in stepwise fashion. But it's the first two triplets that give it that special Ford-ism sound. There, Ford bangs on the major 6th (or 13th, a chord tone for the underlying G13 harmony) twice and adds the 9th (A) as well before resolving to the root G, setting up the aforementioned blues scale descent. And for a nice dose of bluesy tension, he caps the phrase on the minor 3rd (Bb). You might experiment with a grace-note hammer-on to the major 3rd (B) there, too.