Do you think that you could better on the Dobro, or would like to expand your style to funkier tunes? The dobro is one of the ‘coolest’ musical instruments you can unleash at a social event.
You always know there will be the inevitable questions, ‘What kind of a guitar is this?’ and ‘Can we hear how it plays?’ Well, you can explain the differences between the normal guitar and the dobro, but your skill in playing it and bringing out its best sounds will do better explaining.
If you have been playing the dobro for some time, you can appreciate that it is a relatively rare instrument compared to the guitar or piano. This will tell you that getting an exemplary teacher to take you to advanced levels is not easy.
There are several good dobro lessons online to try if you can’t get a face-to-face tutor. The good thing is that you get a wider pool of accomplished players than you would in your neighborhood.
There are Grammy award winners as well as people who have taught professionally for many years. You can also take the lessons in a self-paced manner, for better balancing your career and family time. Here are some dobro lessons you can try as an intermediate player.
5 Best Dobro Lessons for Intermediate Online Reviews
1) Dobro and Lap Steel with Andy Hall
Bluegrass maestro Andy Hall takes you through this course delving into chop chords and strumming, soloing techniques with the dobro, rolls and picking patterns and talks bout tuning the dobro as well as alternative tunings. He should know. He has won music awards with The Infamous Stringdusters, a band in which he was a founder member.
He also has a Masters from Berklee. This course is for all levels of dobro skills, but it has an extensive Intermediate segment that you will find useful in improving your dobro skills. Some of the intermediate topics are;
· The efficiency of Motion for the dobro
· Picking Patterns in Alternating Bass Strings
· How to play Over 12 Bar Blues
· Chopping: The Next Step and Minor Chords
· Ear Training
· Slants -Two Note, Forward Slants, Three Note, Forward Slants, Reverse Slants
· A Minor Scale, and A Minor Concepts
· How to Play in 3/4 or Waltz Time
· Major Arpeggios and Minor Arpeggios
· How To "Dobroify" any Melody
· How to Make musical Rolls
· How to Harmonize a Melody
You can use the ArtistWorks Video Exchange Learning® platform to submit your practice videos for review and get comments from Andy Hall.
2) Dobro lessons with Jimmy Heffernan
Playing the dobro is easier if you have spent some time with a guitar. This course is designed for the guitar player who would like to transition to playing the dobro.
This course shows you how to convert your guitar into a functional dobro using a ‘nut converter’ and a ‘slide bar’ which will cost you less than $40 instead of shelling out a few hundred dollars for a new dobro.
This course will teach you how to hold the bar in the left hand and overcome the unfamiliar feeling. You will also learn how to tune the dobro in G since it is the tuning that you will be playing most of the time. you will also polish up your fretboard visualization for common keys; A, C, D, E, F, and G.
Jimmy also reveals some tricks and tips that make pro dobro players. you will learn to use relative major for minor lines, blocking, triple stops, vibrato, working pockets, pedal steel simulation, thumb syncopation, pull-offs, and many other tricks to improve your techniques.
Jimmy Heffernan has been playing the dobro for many years and is also an accomplished producer, sideman and a popular figure in the Nashville session. You can find this course on Truefire;
3) Learning the Dobro with Pat Agius
Pat Agius’ approach to teaching is song-focused. This is because he is largely self-taught in the instruments he plays, and he considers enjoying the music you play as the biggest motivator to learning to play an instrument.
Pat has uploaded several free video lessons, which you can sample before subscribing for fuller lessons. His intermediate lessons are in three parts;
· Advanced minor chords Part 1 (foundation) – Here you learn how to shape minor chords using open strings
· Practice and composition in advanced minor chords Part 2 - You practice what you learned in the foundation stage; Em, Bm, Cm. You will practice with 5 different chord change exercises, and create a little tune using open minor chord shapes.
· Practice and composition in advanced minor chords Part 3 – You learn two more chord shapes Gm, Dm, and a different Cm. You will practice using 4 different chord change exercises, and make a melody using open minor chord shapes.
You can download these video lessons in full 1080p HD. Each lesson is 50 minutes long and comes with 6 pages of tabs and practice tracks. You can find these lessons on Pat's website;
4) Dobro lessons with Mike Witcher
Mike Witcher is a highly in-demand dobro player in LA and Nashville. He has also written two books on the dobro; Practice Skills and Resonator Guitar (20 Bluegrass Jam Favorites), and Resonator Guitar (Tunes, Techniques).
This dobro course is for beginners and intermediate players. if you are transitioning from the guitar, you will find useful information on the basics of the dobro, left-hand techniques, slide techniques, and exercises for both hands. Intermediate players will find useful discussions such as;
· Playing the first dobro songs – You learn step-by-step, with the aid of tablature and backing tracks to make popular melodies like Amazing Grace, Carter Blues, and Cripple Creek.
· Playing rhythm, and adding percussive chops to the backbeat
· Adding rolls to a melody using the popular Fireball Mail, and Long Journey Home tunes
· Playing in a closed position
· Learning the dobro fingerboard including triad shapes and scale patterns
· Playing minor chords using open strings - Gm, Cm, Bm, Em, and Dm
· Essential techniques in Bluegrass soloing
Subscribing to the lessons gets you 24 video lessons that come with full tablature and 15 practice songs.
5) Stream dobro lessons with Jimmy Heffernan
Jimmy Heffernan offers more extensive dobro lessons on his personal page jimmyheffernan.com where he has listed over 50 song lessons. These lessons are ideal if you are an intermediate dobro player as you sample songs from different styles, and see the little tricks jimmy uses to bring out beautiful music.
Some of these tricks you can’t learn from music theory, and you have to watch a maestro like Jimmy in action, to see how they get into play. He offers 3 free video lessons so you can decide if you like what he is offering.
He will teach you how to play the b3rd note in the three common chords of G. He will also send you a free hot lick in ‘A’ playing in the Bluegrass/blues style.
These lessons are not structured according to player level but are song-focused, which allows you to pick your favorite style and start learning how to play it. Some of the popular songs on offer include;
· Amazing grace
· How great thou art
· Irish spring
· Jerusalem ridge
· Miss the Mississippi and you
· Sweet Georgia brown
· Turkey in the straw
· Will the circle be unbroken?
Choosing the Best Dobro Lessons for Intermediate Online
Many guitarists secretly wonder what it would be to play the dobro and whether their skills will transit to this resonant instrument. You will find the learning easy if you have been playing for some time, and get a good teacher. Polishing up your dobro skills will be one of the best things you ever choose to do.
Good dobro players are always in demand because of the dobro's distinct contribution to styles like blues and bluegrass. It also feels good to belt out a tune playing this 'strange-looking guitar' and impress your friends and family from time to time.