“Warren Haynes: Acoustic Slide and the Art of Electric
Improvisation” is another DVD in the excellent “Hot Licks”
series, produced by Arlen Roth. This disc was originally
released on VHS in 1996, and it’s been available on
DVD since 2008.
Haynes (1960 – ) devoted approximately 45 minutes of this
60-minute disc to the acoustic guitar, and began by using
a National Steel Body instrument to demonstrate various
methods of using the slide. He also noted the differences
between types of slides; i.e., ceramic versus glass. Later,
Haynes switched to a standard wood guitar.
While this disc was primarily a “slide” lesson, he also
discussed other techniques including damping, switching
between the slide and fingers, and standard versus open
guitar tuning. Clearly, Haynes has a healthy respect for and a
thorough knowledge of the grand Blues tradition, often
mentioning Son House (1902-1988) and Muddy Waters
(1913-1983) during his presentation.
The last 20 minutes of the disc were devoted to
“electric improvisation,” wherein Haynes discussed the need
for compatibility between musicians and the importance
of listening to each other, while making effective music.
He didn’t discuss actual playing techniques in this section,
but likened the “art” of careful listening to the
“call and response” form of Blues and Gospel music
originally used in the United States by African slaves.
To illustrate his points, he enlisted the help of bassist
Allen Woody (1955-2000) for both the electric and acoustic
In 1991, I saw Haynes perform in concert, as a member
of the Allman Brothers Band. At the time, I didn’t know
who this “new” guy was, but I could attest to his excellence.
Haynes formed Gov’t Mule in 1994, and I can recommend
their music to anyone interested in old-fashioned jamming.
During the final credits, Gov’t Mule drummer, Matt Abts
(1953 – ), joined Haynes and Woody for a jam session.
The bonus features include a biography/discography of
Warren Haynes, along with listening recommendations,
the usual guitar exercises which are a part of
this series, slow motion options, and a tuning menu.
This disc is worthwhile and recommended.