Brett Garsed

Rock Guitar Improvisation
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When most guitarists say, “I don’t play jazz, I’m a rock musician,” it’s usually in defense of limited fretboard knowledge, near inability to swing, and melodic paralysis that sets in as soon as the background harmony changes. However, when Brett Garsed makes the same statement on this DVD, it’s a humble claim made for quite the opposite reason—it’s made in defense of having lead guitar chops so ferocious that most jazz fusion players would gladly give their left…um…big toe, for comparable skills. And this DVD’s title, Rock Guitar Improvisation, is the other big understatement. Sure, Garsed—a patient, energized, and (best of all) articulate teacher—generously shares dozens of extemporization approaches and tons of live performance footage that will motivate players of all levels to take more imaginative solos. But the big bonus on this disc is the Aussie guitarist’s mastery of two exciting, unorthodox techniques.

For one, when it comes to hybrid picking—the sly pick-and-fingers approach that is the secret weapon of everyone from Brent Mason and Zakk Wylde to the late Shawn Lane—Garsed is in a class by himself. Plucking with the middle, ring, and pinky fingers on his picking hand, he crafts fluent, wide-interval lines too elaborate and smooth to possibly be played with just a plectrum. This seminar alone is worth the price of admission. The disc’s other added value is Garsed’s chapter on maverick slide playing, wherein he demonstrates the art of blazing up and down the neck in standard tuning with a glass slide on the 2nd finger (as opposed to the 3rd or 4th, as is typical), throwing in notes fretted in front of the glass with the 3rd and 4th fingers and behind the glass with the 1st. Inspiring! ( — Jude Gold