Masters of the Telecaster

March 14, 2005

If you dig the snarl of a cranked Telecaster or are a fan of its best-known players, don’t wait another day to snag Arlen Roth’s Masters of the Telecaster. Originally released as a VHS instructional video, this expanded DVD edition rolls Tele history and lore, detailed playing instruction, and rare performance clips into a fun and inspiring package. Well-worn 1953 Tele in hand, Roth reveals the secrets of knuckle harmonics, volume swells, tone-pot wah, hybrid pick-and-finger comping, palm muting, pedal-steel bends, chicken pickin’, and much more.

Especially cool are the clips of Tele masters at work: Cornell Dupree playing slippery Curtis Mayfield-inspired melodic rhythm; James Burton riffing on “Mystery Train” and “Suzie Q”; Albert Lee pulling outrageously fast, clucky licks from his signature model Music Man; Scotty Anderson nailing insanely fast double-stops; Albert Collins snapping fat, funky blues bends with his band; Roy Buchanan wrenching raw tones from his triple-pickup sunburst Tele; Jerry Donahue tearing into wiggy behind-the-nut bends; and Danny Gatton getting down on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Some of these clips include dual-camera shots that simultaneously zoom in on an artist’s fretting and picking hands. This split-screen view reveals crucial, hidden details in the intricate dance of fingers on strings.

A companion booklet contains more than 20 examples (written in music notation and tab), many of which are full 8- or 12-bar choruses. Also included on the disc are two in-depth lessons in printable pdf format: one on behind-the-nut bends and the other on hybrid-picked banjo rolls. As a final bonus, Albert Lee and band perform an entire tune at full throttle. This is total immersion, no-holds-barred Tele instruction. Spend time with Masters of the Telecaster, and you will be transformed.

Warner Bros.

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