Learn To Play Western Swing Guitar

Ray Benson
80-minute DVD Includes music + tab book
With Special Guest Johnny Gimble, fiddle and mandolin and Tim Alexander, piano
  • Code:DLBENSW21
  • Skill Level:Early Intermediate (3)
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Take a lead and rhythm guitar class from the maestro of western swing! Asleep At The Wheel's Ray Benson offers straight-shooting advice about the famous tunes, techniques and special qualities of this exciting hybrid of country, jazz and blues styles.

To solidify your rhythm playing, Ray dissects Eldon Shamblin's traveling bass/chord lines and Freddie Green's comping and damping methods. He applies these techniques to Bob Wills' famous hits Faded Love and Take Me Back To Tulsa.

"Take-off guitar" is key to dynamic soloing. Ray shows how he created lead lines for his Grammy-winning Red Wing, using embellishments such as raking, octave bounces and arpeggios. A show-stopping rendition of Roly Poly becomes an in-depth lesson on double and triple parts, and the blues-into-swing innovations of Junior Barnard, Charlie Christian and T Bone Walker are featured in Fat Boy Rag and Milk Cow Blues.

Ray's good-humored attention to detail and his inspiring performances as he trades licks with the great Johnny Gimble allow you to hear, and eventually master, the authentic western swing sound!

Note: This lesson is for acoustic as well as electric players.


"If after listening to Bob Wills, you want to try your hand at western swing guitar, just mosey on down to your favorite music store and buy a copy of Ray Benson's instructional video "Learn to Play Western Swing Guitar." Benson is the leader of Asleep at the Wheel and one of the most popular proponents of western swing currently playing.

This lesson is aimed at the intermediate to advanced guitar player, and it presumes a knowledge of basic chord theory and jazz rhythm. Benson is aided in his instruction by the great swing fiddler Johnny Gimble. As with almost all Homespun products, the photography is excellent, and the duets between Benson and Gimble are almost worth the price of the tape."-- Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"Founder and leader of the Asleep at the Wheel, Ray Benson shows the essential techniques and subtle nuances of this exciting hybrid of country, jazz and blues music. Using a 1950's Epiphone Deluxe Zephyr Regent guitar, Benson plays lead lines with embellishments such as octave bounces and arpeggios and describes the work of practitioners such as T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian, and Junior Bernard.

This isn't a video for beginning guitar players and even serious amateurs will have to watch closely. What Benson makes look easy is sometimes hard to duplicate without some work, but his easygoing vibe and jams with Johnny Gimble on mandolin make it all lots of fun." -- Vintage Guitar Magazine

"This DVD is definitely worth getting, in fact it probably is the best DVD for instruction on Western Swing that there is.

As far as that goes it gets a 5 out of 5. It comes with a nice 20 page book that has many good examples. You will have several good tunes and a basketful of licks to use, plus a good introduction to the so called, Western-Swing genre." -- B. E. Kenna on Amazon.com


Robert Stone 10 months ago

I would disagree with at least one of the reviews in that while Ray's gentle teaching style is great, & Johnny Gimble & the piano man's playing is world class, the instruction would benefit from a few things: To truly see Eldon's genius, it would have been nice to have a chart with the original simple chords for eash song. You could then compare the bass line movement & accompanying chords creations he chose to actually see how Eldon took what was simple & made it really move; Ray doesn't explain the "why" or "how" of his or Eldon's changes, merely saying that you have to try a bunch of different notes or chords & see what works without explaining what chord flavors may be more relevant or if/when/why to do chord substitutions the way Eldon did. Ray is inconsistent at pointing out what chords constitute bassline movement vs whether the song itself is moving to the I, the ii, the IV, the V chord or a substitute chord or any of their derivatives.

I consider myself an intermediate level player. Maybe my understanding of chord theory isn't sufficient or perhaps I'm not seeing the forest for the trees, but after watching the entire DVD I don't have any better grasp of how I would look at a new chart & know how to move the chords to create sophisticated rhythm accompaniment on my own.

Don't get me wrong. There's a lot of great playing to learn & emulate & a lot of value to what's there. I was just hoping to learn more what to & why to approach Eldon's style.

(Sorry Homespun, I bought the DVD used)

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