As you will have seen from the first solo study, George has a lot of go to ideas! In this section will will be looking through the octaves, double stops, economy picking, semi-tone slides and chromatic ideas that he uses in his playing.
George is the king of rapid octave lines, whereby you play a scale shape or target specific chord tones using the octave shapes. The 4 main octave shapes are shown in the fretboard diagrams.
Double stops as a technique are very broad, but the specific way George Benson uses them creates a more jazzy feel to a basic lick. Once again we will be learning them just over a basic A Minor pentatonic scale shape 1 to ensure that you are focusing on the technique rather than a new scale. In this video, we are using diatonic 4ths to run through the scale, which simply means that if you were playing an A in the key of A minor, your harmonised 4th note would be a D (A B C D E F G A).
To run through fluid jazz lines and quick arpeggios you will need a good grasp of economy picking. This simply means that rather than strict down up alternate picking, you occasionally break this pattern where it makes sense to do so. For example, if you were playing a downstroke on the D string 5th fret, then moving to the G string 3rd fret, you can use a second downstroke to drop onto the string, rather than doing an upstroke and having to go over the string and back. It is therefore the most 'economical' way to pick!
Another cool technique that George uses is the semitone slide. This is all about taking more common shapes (such as the blues scale) and sliding into certain notes from one fret before. For example, if your target note was the 5th fret of the E string, you would use the 4th fret of the E string and quickly slide up to the 5th fret. This creates a cool jazzy sound that is quite addictive, and can basically be used anywhere!
Now we are really getting into the head of George Benson! Chromatics may seem like the most boring and bland concept, but applied well and it will take your playing to a new level. Dion approaches the idea from two angles, firstly with lead-in notes and secondly with encircling notes. Firstly, lead-in notes are much like the semitone slide idea, where you simply play the note one fret previous to the target note. The only difference is that you continue doing this through a range of notes rather than just one. Encircling means choosing a target note, then playing the note previous, followed by the note after and finally landing on the target. For example, if you targeted the 5th fret, you would play the 4th fret, followed by 6th, then hit the target note of the 5th. Simple as that!
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