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.
Irving Berlin wrote some of the most popular songs of all time, and they sound great on guitar. In this DVD, Fred plays and teaches six Berlin favorites, including guitar backup (for singing) and instrumental versions of each tune. Just for fun, Fred includes the rarely-heard introductory verses to some of the songs, and plays ad-lib instrumental chord solos for all of them.
After playing each song, Fred gives you a run-down on the arrangement, going over tricky spots and analyzing the chord progression and substitutions. Then he replays it slower on a split-screen with close-ups of both hands. Best of all, you can read all six arrangements (tablature, music and chord grids) in the 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 playing some of the classiest jazz tunes ever written: Cheek to Cheek, Say It Isn't So, Blue Skies, How Deep is the Ocean, I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm and Change Partners.
Bonus Interview: Fred talks about his Songbook Series
95 minutes • Level 3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD