Dave Matthews Band Style

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    There is always a reason why I decide to cover the style of a band. Every band has its own personality and it’s very useful to analyze and try to re-create their music. I find it to be a very inspiring process. However, this time the reason is even simpler. A friend lent me this beautiful guitar which is a Gibson Chet Atkins that among many other players is one of the most used by Dave Matthews. As soon as I started jamming with this one, I could hear Dave’s sound so I decided to create this lesson based on their most popular stuff. This band was formed in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1991, and the founder members were Dave Matthews (Singer-songwriter and guitarist), Stefan Lessard (Bassist), Carter Beauford (Drummer) and LeRoi Moore (Saxophonist). Later, Boy Tinsley joined as the violinist in the band.

    Music Style:
    Their music is very unique because it’s basically pop rock but with a very wide list of influences that make their songs very musical and rich. They have influences from jazz fusion, folk rock, alternative and even a bit from grunge. They are a very rhythmic band with a very fresh sound because of the unconventional use of clean / acoustic guitar in a rock band situation as well as some other instruments as sax and violin. In this lesson I tried to re-create their most rhythmical side based on groovy guitar rhythms with a killer drum and bass base.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:
    As they have influences from Jazz and Fusion, you will find a very wide use of tonalities and rich chords in their music but at the same time, they sound pop so progressions stay simple with good arrangements and nice chord voicing. This tune is mostly around A dominant so you will find me using A dominant and Mixolydian for riffs and guitar arrangements.

    This lesson includes guitar rhythm with rock and funk influences that require to go tight with the drums and to pay attention to the muted strums used to keep groove flowing. Check carefully the tabs and slow video to identify and emulate it. There are also some single string riffs and melodies in which I use alternate picking technique.

    I recorded this lesson by connecting the guitar directly by line. I tweaked a bit the guitar EQ and added a soft compressor to the track. Drums have been recorded using Steve Slate Drums 3.5 and bass is Trillian.

    Tuning: standard EADGBE tuning

    Tempo: 110 BPM

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