With 47 years of experience on the acoustic guitar, Rolly has been a National Fingerpicking Champion and a Philadelphia Music Award nominee. He has performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Tasmanian Folk Festival, and tons of places in between. He hosted the Guitar Wizards radio show which ran on public radio in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Maine for several years, introducing listeners to guitarists and techniques usually searched out only by total guitar maniacs. He has served as a sideman for Magpie, Winnie Winston, Saul Broudy, Jack McGann, Priscilla Herdman, Jay Ansill, and many others, and has performed extensively with National Flatpicking Champion Mark Cosgrove, and, until her tragic death, with the late fiddler and singer extraordinaire Freyda Epstein. For the past decade, Rolly has been a popular teacher and performer at a number of guitar camps, appearing at Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamps (Maryville TN), the Swannanoa Gathering (Asheville NC), Summer Acoustic Music Week in New Hampshire, the convention of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society in Nashville TN, and others. His Youtube videos (instructional and performance) have garnered well over 100,000 hits.
The Art Of Noodling reflects Rolly Brown's ongoing campaign to offer user-friendly material which helps guitarists obtain more freedom on their instruments. In this case, "Noodling" refers to the ability to just pick up your guitar and make the music you hear in your head, whether it's a country blues, a folk song, or a free improvisation. The pathway is a series of specific exercises which can be learned and memorized, but which, one hopes, will also be used as templates or models which can lead you to interesting musical explorations. Rolly deals with various concepts about melodic noodling and chordal noodling, covered at 3 different levels of difficulty, offering a basic place to start, as well as material to revisit over time, as you advance.
• Playing from the heart: Emotional content
• C major scale and E blues scale up the neck
• If you know C major, you know A minor
• Figuring melodies by ear
• Higher quality noodling via pattern recognition
• Noodling with basic chords
• Flatpicking and Fingerstyle noodling
• Sweep picking and arpeggios
• Expanding your basic chord repertoire
• Moving chords up the neck
• Composing a line and integrating it in your noodling
• Practice ideas for arpeggios
114 minutes • Level 2 • Tab/Music material is on the DVD as a PDF file
Review: OK, now it’s official: No one is more committed to your growth and success as a guitarist than Rolly Brown. Because when someone has devoted such a great, great deal of thought into designing an organized approach — an actual development plan — to extract gold from moments as seemingly mundane as your idle mess-around time, that’s dedication. By applying concepts through guided hands-on exercises, freehand doodling on the strings elevates to The Art of Noodling. And since noodling is the actual kindling for fretboard invention and eventual improvisation, these 114 minutes throw the sparks that’ll catch your creativity afire. So ideas inside your head will gain well-paved paths to expression through melodic as well as chordal coaching. Honing ear-hand coordination helps fingers know where to go. And taking more interesting routes to get there include boosting right-hand technique beyond a humdrum strum to a whole menagerie of add-on colorations progressing from blue notes, flatpick sweeps and string bends to octaves, arpeggios and crafting your very own licks, before culminating in jazzed workouts. Rolling references to Steve Vai and Joseph Spence, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Pat Martino off his tongue in the process, Brown is a broadminded, deep string thinker with vastly practical methods. That’s why your Noodling is about to majorly upgrade to productive exploration. – Dennis Rozanski/Blues Rag