We kick off our George Benson player study with a super cool 80's vibe track! George is famous for bringing his incredible jazz vocabulary to awesome pop records.
To kick off our George Benson player study we are tackling a tricky pop/jazz solo using a range of awesome techniques and licks that George has at his disposal. As always with our solo studies, your first job is to listen! You may want to run through the video 5 or 6 times until you are able to hum along to the solo, thus ensuring you have the basic rhythms in your head before you start learning it properly.
We kick off with a relatively simple lick, but we really need to nail the rhythm of the initial octave part. The first octave is simply a D note (which is the root note of the key), followed by a cool lick in the D minor pentatonic / D Dorian scale. The shapes can be found in the fretboard diagrams.
We come back to our first rhythm for the second lick, before shooting off into some cool chromatic octaves. We use two-octave shapes this time, as shown in the fretboard diagrams. Remember to target the final note of each string, and chromatically play through the previous two notes (moving three frets).
We continue using those awesome octave shapes, whereby the notes are once again taken from the D Dorian shape. The key thing to understand in this lick is the offbeat nature of the octave movement. This creates a really cool, jazzy groove that you can try to apply to any of your own improvisations. Dion specifically chooses to play this offbeat part with downstrokes as it adds a bit more 'punch' to the sound!
For the 4th lick, we return to the old faithful pentatonic shape 4 in D minor. Towards the end of the lick, we also bring in the blues note which helps give us that semi-tone chromatic slide to the 5th (A). The pentatonic shapes can be found in the fretboard diagrams.
For lick number 5 we introduce a really cool melodic sound that is initially based around the Bbmaj7 chord arpeggio, and then moves seamlessly into the D blues scale shape 4. Be sure to visualise these shapes as you run through them. Take a look at the fretboard diagrams to re-cap the shapes.
For the 6th lick, we continue in that minor pentatonic / blues scale until the final note. On the final note, the chord behind the solo shifts from a Dm7 to D7 and therefore Dion masterfully targets the natural 3rd, as opposed to the flattened third. Targeting specific chord tones is absolutely crucial if you want to nail the Benson sound, and something Dion consistently highlights.
For lick 7 we simply return to the motif lick (lick 5), with a very slight rhythmical change. This is a cool technique to get people really memorising and singing your solo!
To end the solo we play a Db Diminished arpeggio over the A7#5. This is because the Db Diminished arpeggio includes notes from the A7#5 alongside a flattened 9th interval to create lots of lovely tension that resolves perfectly to the D major 7th which is the next chord. Dion then uses the D major scale alongside some chromatic notes to create a melodic line that targets the D major 7th chord tones, specifically the 3rd and 7th).
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