Bromberg began studying guitar playing when he was 13 and eventually enrolled in Columbia University as a musicology major. The call of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-’60s drew David to the downtown clubs and coffeehouses, where he could watch and learn from the best performers, including primary sources such as his inspiration and teacher, the Reverend Gary Davis.
Bromberg’s sensitive and versatile approach to guitar-playing earned him jobs playing the Village “basket houses” for tips, the occasional paying gig, and lots of employment as a backing musician for Tom Paxton, Jerry Jeff Walker and Rosalie Sorrels, among others. He became a first-call, “hired gun” guitarist for recording sessions, ultimately playing on hundreds of records by artists including Bob Dylan (New Morning, Self Portrait, Dylan), Link Wray, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, and Carly Simon.
David Bromberg has toured around the world. He has performed and recorded with some of the biggest stars of the last decades. His guitar playing started with folk music and then migrated to the country blues. From here his musical interests traveled to city blues, old-time music, country music and bluegrass. He is a master of many styles and techniques.
In this intimate DVD lesson, David presents some of his most popular arrangements. They vary from the folk blues Delia to the popular gospel song Just A Closer Walk With Thee to Bob Dylan's It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes a Train To Cry to Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles (featuring David's famous guitar solo). Nine great arrangements that will expand your repertoire as well as guitar playing skills. David teaches fingerpicking and flatpicking techniques. Vibrato, single string runs, cross-picking, the alternating bass, counterpoint lines and finding the groove are all discussed. Each phrase is taught note by note and clearly illustrated on a split screen. A printed tab/music booklet is included as well as being on the DVD as a PDF file.
An important lesson from a truly legendary guitarist.
Titles include: Delia, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Cocaine Blues, Sleep Late In The Morning, Buck Dancer's Choice, It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes a Train To Cry, Shebeg An Shemore, Mr. Bojangles and St. Anne's Reel
116 minutes • Level 2/3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: David Bromberg is a master of fingerpicking-style guitar, having studied in the 1960s with Reverend Gary Davis and other country blues legends. He's also been playing music on the road since then in various configurations, but mostly with his own band, which includes an eclectic mix of acoustic, electric, and brass instruments.
When I was in high school, I wore out his album "How Late'll You Play 'Til" and am still a big fan of David's playing, singing, and repertoire. This is not a bluegrass instructional DVD; there's no bluegrass anywhere on here; but, it deserves mention in this magazine because bluegrass guitar players and singers have somehow forgotten how much fingerpicking style guitar was prominent with bluegrass players such as Earl Scruggs and others. If you love that sound as much as I do, then this is an essential DVD to own and spend time with.
The DVD has Bromberg and his guitar for 116 minutes, teaching nine classic fingerstyle songs, including "Delia," "Just A Closer Walk With Thee," "Cocaine Blues," "Sleep Late In The Morning," and "Buck Dancer's Choice," to name a few. "St. Anne's Reel" is the only flatpicking-style song on here.
David's a marvelous teacher, anecdotal and specific, and holds your attention throughout with humor and selfdeprecation, just like in his shows. It also includes a tab book for all the songs, and the close-ups and splitscreen video techniques are great aids to learn this deceptively difficult style of guitar playing. The lessons are more for intermediate to advanced players, but beginners can also pick up a lot of good information. And if you'll excuse me now, I need to learn that cool Reverend Gary Davis contrary motion lick. Highly recommend. – Bluegrass Unlimited
Review: A former student of blues/gospel singer/guitarist Reverend Gary Davis, David Bromberg has continued to explore the possibilities of the guitar for more than four decades, mixing folk, country, bluegrass, blues, and rock ’n’ roll as leader of his own bands and as a sideman for Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Chubby Checker, and his wife’s trio, the Angel Band. With his first instructional DVD, the Philadelphia born guitarist reveals the secrets to the many styles and techniques that he’s mastered. Sharing his instrumental approach in softspoken, easily understood explanations, he reinforces the lesson with split-screen footage of his playing of traditional folk, blues, gospel, and old-time country songs, as well as his unique arrangements of Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” and Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles.” A 56-page booklet of transcriptions, also on the DVD as a PDF file, adds to this longoverdue instructional session. – Dirty Linen