GEORGE BENSON

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.

Summary: "Feel Like Baking Buns"

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.

LICK 1: Octave Rhythm

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. Here are those shapes to work with:

Materials: The Tab

As we go further through the solo, you'll need to use the tab to nail each lick. In this lesson, we are looking at lick 1 (their positions are marked just above the tab). Use the slow down and looping functions of the tab viewer to really help you master those licks before moving on.

LICK 2: Octaves

For the second lick we come back to our first rhythm, before shooting off in to some cool chromatic octaves. We use two octave shapes this time, as shown in the diagram below. Remember to target the final note of each string, and chromatically play through the previous two notes (moving three frets).

Materials: The Tab

As we go further through the solo, you'll need to use the tab to nail each lick. In this lesson, we are looking at lick 2 (their positions are marked just above the tab). Use the slow down and looping functions of the tab viewer to really help you master those licks before moving on.

LICK 3: Crazy Octaves

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 off beat nature of the octave movement. This creates a really cool, jazzy groove that you can try to apply to any of your own improvisation. Dion specifically chooses to play this off beat part with down strokes as it ads a bit more 'punch' to the sound!

LICK 4: Blues Scale Groove

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). Here is that pentatonic shape:

Materials: The Tab

In this lesson, we are looking at lick 3 & 4 (their positions are marked just above the tab). Use the slow down and looping functions of the tab viewer to really help you master this licks before moving on.

Lick 5: Motif Lick

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 it.

Lick 6: Targeting the Third

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 apposed to the flattened third. Targeting specific chord tones is absolutely crucial if you want to nail the Benson sound, and something Dion consistently highlights.

Materials: The Tab

In this lesson, we are looking at lick 5 & 6 (their positions are marked just above the tab). Use the slow down and looping function of the tab viewer to really help you master those licks before moving on.

Lick 7: Motif Lick 2

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!

Lick 8: Diminished Fun!

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).

Materials: The Tab

In this lesson, we are looking at lick 7&8 (the positions are marked just above the tab). Once you master them you'll be able to piece the entire solo together! Use the slow down and looping functions of the tab viewer to help.

Audio: Backing Track & Audio

When you are ready, the backing track and full solo are here to play along to. It is worth trying to play with just the backing track, as you will not be 'hiding' behind the recorded guitar part; it's all up to you to make it sound awesome!

Ready to move on? Remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

George's Trick Bag

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.