ROB ICKES DOBRO® INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS.
VOL. 1: SLOWER TEMPO SONGS AND BACKING UP A VOCALIST;
VOL. 2: MONROBRO, FIDDLE TUNES AND UPTEMPO SONGS;
VOL. 3: MASTERING THE FRETBOARD—SCALES, ARPEGGIOS AND MORE.
(Resorevolution, P.O. Box 682551, Franklin, TN 37068, www.resorevolution.com.)
It’s rare for an instructional video for a particular instrument to offer something to players of all instruments. Rob Ickes’ Dobro® Instructional Video series, a three-volume DVD set (total running time of about two and a half hours), is certainly a must-have item for any resonator guitar player, but it manages something more. You get not only Rob’s way of looking at the resonator guitar, but also Rob’s way of looking at music. It’s the musicality of this offering that is its greatest and most wide-ranging strength.
The details: Volume 1 is titled Slower Tempo Songs And Backing Up A Vocalist and includes Rob backing up Herb Pedersen singing “Wayfaring Stranger” and “Wait A Minute” (which alone is worth the price of the DVD), as well as an instrumental version of “The Old Rugged Cross.” Rob discusses and demonstrates how to complement the lyrics, play to the song, and how to put the focus on the singer. This should be essential viewing by anyone who plays in a vocal band, no matter the instrument.
Volume 2, titled Monrobro: Fiddle Tunes And Uptempo Songs, includes “Arkansas Traveler,” “St. Anne’s Reel,” “Whiskey Before Breakfast,” “Blackberry Blossom,” “Cherokee Shuffle,” “Monrobro,” and “Long Journey Home.” John Mailander, one of a new generation of fine fiddlers, joins Rob here. Again, you get specific instruction on backing up a lead instrument and translating fiddle tunes to resonator guitar. But Rob also approaches it generally as a musician. I particularly liked his discussion of how he listens to a melody and derives new musical ideas. Speed is rightfully relegated lower importance to more fundamental aspects of tone, taste, and timing, but he does offer helpful advice on playing fast.
Volume 3, Mastering The Fretboard: Scales, Arpeggios & More. Major, Minor and Dominant 7th Scales, Scale Patterns, Triads, Pentatonic Scales, Diminished Scales, might seem daunting, but Rob presents the exercises, again, from a wider understanding of why you should play these scales and arpeggios and how they apply to all aspects of lead playing and accompaniment.
Professionally filmed, the videos provide split-screen closeups of Rob’s left and right hands. And while tablature is available on Volumes 2 and 3 as PDF files, I would recommend first going through the lessons without referring to the tab in order to listen to what Rob is playing and saying. This is instruction from a master musician, but one who knows how to convey lessons of musicality in an accessible and encouraging manner. Highly recommended for players of all instruments.CVS