GEORGE BENSON
Before tackling this course, you should be comfortable with all the material from Feel Like Baking Buns

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.

Summary: Octaves

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 here:

Tab: Pentatonic in Octaves

To help you practice these octave shapes, Dion runs you through this cool pentatonic exercise. You are simply using pentatonic shape 1 in A minor, but adding the octave note onto each single note. The exercise is shown on the tab below.

Audio: Backing Track

Just as Dion showed you in the video, the best way to get these techniques learnt is to start trying to improvise with them. Here is the backing track in A minor that Dion was using. We've also recorded the same track in D minor as well when you are ready to change key. Have some fun practicing along with it.

Summary: Double Stops

Double stops as a technique is 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).

Tab: Pentatonic in 4ths

To help you master this idea, here is the tab of the exercise. Remember that George Benson can absolutely blitz through these ideas at lightning pace, so be sure to practice them accurately first, then add the speed.

Audio: Backing Track

Just as Dion showed you in the video, the best way to get these techniques learnt is to start trying to improvise with them. Here is the backing track in A minor that Dion was using. We've also recorded the same track in D minor as well when you are ready to change key. Have some fun practicing along with it.

Summary: Economy Picking

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 down stroke on the D string 5th fret, then moving to the G string 3rd fret, you can use a second down stroke 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!

Tab: Economy Exercise

Here is the exercise to practice, which you simply need to loop. Remember that your focus is on the plectrum hand, not the fretting hand here. So be sure to follow the correct down and up picks. If you've never seen the symbols on the tab before, 'V' is for up stroke and the 'goalposts' symbol is for down.

Audio: Backing Track

Just as Dion showed you in the video, the best way to get these techniques learnt is to start trying to improvise with them. Here is the backing track in A minor that Dion was using. We've also recorded the same track in D minor as well when you are ready to change key. Have some fun practicing along with it.

Summary: Semitone Slide

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!

Tab: The Lick

To help you practice this cool idea, Dion has put together a quick lick which is tabbed out below. Remember to not just learn the lick, but also understand where these semi-tone slides are and how they can work for you in your own licks.

Audio: Backing Track

Just as Dion showed you in the video, the best way to get these techniques learnt is to start trying to improvise with them. Here is the backing track in A minor that Dion was using. We've also recorded the same track in D minor as well when you are ready to change key. Have some fun practicing along with it.

Summary: Chromatics

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 tot he 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!

Tab: Chromatic Exercise

As a kick off to help you get these chromatic ideas into your playing, here is the exercise that Dion played through. Once agin we base it all around a simple A minor pentatonic, just adding the chromatic notes one fret before each pentatonic note.

Audio: Backing Track

Just as Dion showed you in the video, the best way to get these techniques learnt is to start trying to improvise with them. Here is the backing track in A minor that Dion was using. We've also recorded the same track in D minor as well when you are ready to change key. Have some fun practicing along with it.

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

George's Jazz

To play jazz at the level Mr Benson does you need to have a firm grasp of theory and chord construction. In this section Dion will be breaking down a typical Benson jazz progression to get you mastering the rhythm side of his playing as well as the lead.