Fred Sokolow is best known as the author of a library of instructional books and DVDs for guitar, banjo, Dobro, mandolin, lap steel and ukulele. There are currently over a hundred of his books or DVDs in print, sold all over the world. Fred has long been a well-known West Coast multi-string performer and recording artist, particularly on the acoustic music scene. The diverse musical genres covered in his books and DVDs, along with several bluegrass, jazz and rock CDs he has released, demonstrate his mastery of many musical styles. Whether he's playing Delta bottleneck blues, bluegrass or old-time banjo, 30s swing guitar or screaming rock solos, he does it with authenticity and passion.
Born in Los Angeles September 14, 1945, by the early 1960s Fred was well known in the California bluegrass scene, playing with Jody Stecher, Brantley Kearns, Sandy Rothman and Eric Thompson. Relocating to Berkeley, he toured and recorded with a hippie rock band throughout most of the 60s, the Bay Area-based Notes From the Underground (Vanguard Records). In the early 70s Fred performed with R&B, rock, country and bluegrass bands. By 1975 Fred had played with bluegrass luminaries like John Herald, Frank Wakefield and Jerry Garcia, had opened for the Dead, the Doors, B.B. King, Country Joe and the Fish and countless other acts.
In this DVD, you'll learn six timeless tunes from start to finish: how to play backup while you sing them, and how to play a beautiful chord-melody solo/instrumental for each song. The tunes are arranged for beginners: there are no difficult chords, and Fred goes over the tricky spots in each tune before playing it...then you'll watch him replay the song, slower, on a split screen with close-ups of both hands. Just for fun, Fred includes the rarely-heard introductory verses to three of the songs. Best of all, you can read all six arrangements (tablature, music and chord grids) in the PDF booklet that comes with this DVD. Chord soloing (playing the melody and chords at the same time) is a very complete and satisfying guitar style. This lesson will get you started and Fred's relaxed teaching style makes it easy.
Titles include: Summertime, Fly Me To the Moon, Georgia On My Mind, It Had To Be You, What a Wonderful World and Ain't Misbehavin'
84 minute • Level 2 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: I bought some Fred Sokolow's instructional material about a year ago when I had to learn some rockabilly licks quickly for a gig. Since then, I've become a big fan of his instructional style. He makes things very clear and approachable. I've been playing jazz guitar and fingerpicking for years and by far, my biggest frustration has been when I try to jam with other guitarists. As most of you probably know, mist guitar players play rock and pop... maybe blues or bluegrass - so, essentially, they only know a handful of chords and the pentatonic scale. That works well for them - you can really have a good time and sound good with only that. But, with my background more in jazz and western swing, it is very frustrating to me that whenever I play a tune, it either turns into a lesson, where I'm having to teach them 6th, major 7th, minor7th, 9th, etc chords or it just falls apart as they just stop playing because their chords don't sound right with what I'm playing. Fred gives another option - head slappingly simple, but I never thought of it. He reduces a lot of those big jazz chords so that the songs can mostly be strummed in open positions and gives very simple chord melodies that are also mostly played out of these positions - i.e., no complicated inverted chords. The funny thing is that this sounds really good - really even better as a solo performer or in a small group than playing all closed position jazz chords... just more relaxed and friendly somehow.... and everyone can play along! I'm not only going to keep buying Mr. Sokolow's lessons, but I'm going to grab a Real Book and apply this technique to all of my favorite standards. I can already almost hear some jazz guitar snob criticizing the use of “cowboy chords” and saying that it isn't “real jazz.” And no, you won't find these chords in the Baker, Green, Pass or Fisher books, and these arrangements wouldn't work in a jazz band. But, here is the secret: these simple arrangements can unlock the whole guitar for you! You can learn a standard with open chords and then play them with any variety of chord substitutions you like. Maybe start by substituting closed “dead string” with roots on the 5th and 6th strings (use a 6th or 7th in place of the open major, etc). Then, maybe play through it with Freddie Greene bass triads, 4 to the bar. Then try inverted chords. Then substitute more “colored” chords like flat 5s, 11s, - whatever sounds good to you. Play arpeggios instead of strumming. Whatever - get the basics, get the tune really ingrained in your head and then the sky is the limit! – Amazon Customer Review