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“Robin Trower: Classic Blues/Rock Guitar” is another instructional
video I watched, from Arlen Roth’s “Hot Licks” series. It was
originally issued on VHS in 1990, but I watched the 2006
DVD release.

As with other discs from this series, Roth provided a brief
introduction before the beginning of this masterclass.
Trower then provided a summary of the topics he planned to
cover. I was glad that he began by discussing the Marshall
and Fender amps that he used, including their different tone
and volume settings.

Trower then discussed the relatively high action of his strings,
which were heavy gauge and tuned down one whole step.
He stated that it helped him create his signature use of vibrato
and note bending. He also demonstrated how to play two notes
with the right hand; one using a pick and the other using the
third finger, and followed that by illustrating the different types
of chords that can be used within a basic Blues format.

As a firm proponent of the Blues, he made frequent references
to Albert King and Buddy Guy, both of whom are regarded as
icons. However, when later playing while accompanied by the
bassist from his own band, Trower’s own unique Blues style
was revealed. In fact, he used examples from his own solo
catalog, such as “Too Rolling Stoned,” “Bridge of Sighs,”
“Day of the Eagle,” and “Daydream,” tunes from Trower’s
early to mid 1970’s heyday, as well as songs from his
then-current 1990 repertoire.

Trower stressed the importance of playing music that
was emotionally moving, versus flashy and impressive tunes.
I saw his band in concert in either 1986 or 1987, at the
Country Club in Reseda, California. Therefore, I can attest to
the power of his personal brand of the Blues. From what I saw,
I’d say that he adheres to this credo.

Bonus features on this disc included the usual breakdown
of the different lessons discussed, with a slow-motion option
and printed notes superimposed over the screen. There was
also a printed bio of Trower’s career achievements, dating
from his 1967 tenure with Procul Harum to his exploits
during 2004.

This seminar was definitely filtered through Trower’s own
Blues consciousness. This disc also featured live concert
footage of Trower’s band, setting it apart from the other
“Hot Licks” discs that I’ve seen. Shot on video with a
modest budget, this DVD should be watched by Blues
aficionados, guitarists, and Robin Trower fans. Personally,
I believe he’s highly underrated and is often overlooked,
during discussions of guitar “greats.” In fact, that’s why
I sought out this disc. Having watched it, I now appreciate
and respect him even more!