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
• 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
Review: Yet another in a long line of superlative DVDs produced by the mighty Stefan Grossman team, and once again I find myself thinking that there can't be much left for them to cover surely? When I saw the cover of this DVD, I thought it was a joke as the photo looks a lot like Harry Potter would do in thirty year's time, without the scar (No offence intended Rolly). Now I had always assumed that noodling was a derogatory term for failing to play anything properly and just fooling around on the fret board, but it seems like I was wrong, and the fact that Stefan Grossman's team think it to be an art leads me to look at this DVD in great detail.
Rolly's background is Jazz, especially Gypsy swing, and he is an accomplished fingerstyle guitarist, he also has several other tuition DVDs under his guitar strap, so let's see what it's all about! Basing the initial ideas on the scales of C major and E blues scale, Rolly shows how to take a basic practice exercise and refine it to an nth degree, producing some very accomplished jazz playing. I found that it was very helpful in pulling me away from some of the basics that I tend to fall back on when I am not really practising, just fooling around, and I soon found that I was spending more time on the guitar than I would normally, you may not think that a good idea, but when you need the work that my Rhythm playing needs, then it can only be to the good. In short another blindingly good production with all of their classy camerawork and audio that you expect, together with everything being available on a downloadable PDF file. Superb. – Dave Stone/Blues Matters!