Bob Seger

This month Martin Cooper checks out The Sil­ver Bul­let Band’s leader, Bob Seger, whose sound can be heard in some of to­day’s ‘house­hold name’ megas­tars.

Guitar Techniques - - Lesson: Rock -

Michi­gan born Bob Seger has in­flu­enced a host of rock icons over the past five decades. He can boast Spring­steen and The Ea­gles among his fans, and even has a writ­ing credit on the band’s hit, Heartache Tonight, from the al­bum The Long Run.

Record­ing through the 60s as Bob Seger & The Last Heard and Bob Seger Sys­tem, he be­came a lo­cal hero around the Detroit area; the first Last Heard al­bum sold 50,000 copies at the time, mostly lo­cally. Then in the late 60s Seger scored his first na­tion­wide hit with Ram­blin’ Gam­blin’ Man un­der the Bob Seger Sys­tem name, with the song reach­ing a cred­itable Num­ber 17 in the US chart.

After mod­er­ate suc­cess upon go­ing solo, Seger formed The Sil­ver Bul­let Band with gui­tarist Drew Ab­bott, drum­mer Charlie Martin, Rick Man­nassa on keys, Chris Camp­bell on bass and sax player Tom Cart­mell. After play­ing to tens of thou­sands lo­cally, in­clud­ing to 80,000 in a Detroit sta­dium, Seger and The Sil­ver Bul­let Band fi­nally tasted na­tional suc­cess with the al­bum Night Moves, which has since sold over six mil­lion copies!

Seger was a men­tor to Glenn Frey in The Ea­gles’ early days. In 1980 he scored his only Num­ber 1 al­bum with Against The Wind which ac­tu­ally fea­tures Ea­gles, Frey, Ti­mothy B Sch­mit and Don Hen­ley, and also went on to earn Seger two Grammy awards. He has con­tin­ued to record and tour, and re­cently re­leased his lat­est al­bum, Ride Out.

This month’s piece fo­cuses on the rock­ier side of Seger’s style (although a lot of his out­put has been heav­ily in­flu­enced by acous­tic gui­tar com­po­si­tions).

We’re in the key of A Ma­jor, but be­ing based around a 12-bar pro­gres­sion of A, D and E, in the solo there are a lot of notes from the A Blues scale (the Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic with added b5 - A-C-D-Eb-E-G). The solo fea­tures a blend of phras­ing that al­ter­nates be­tween A Ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic (A B C# E F#) and A Mi­nor Blues scale (A C D Eb E G).

In the rhythm part we opt for the more Amer­i­can sound­ing Ma­jor Blues scale; this is some­times called the Coun­try Blues scale and this time is the Ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic with added b3 (A-B-C-C#-E-F#).

Although not a par­tic­u­larly tricky track to learn, the tempo is pretty quick so tim­ing and ac­cu­racy are of ut­most im­por­tance. Your num­ber one watch­word is: ‘Don’t Rush’!

Bob Seger with mod­i­fied Tele Thin­line

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