“The Bus Came By And I Got On” . . . : The Rhythm Guitar Of Bob Weir

When I was in college, I roomed for a year with the rhythm guitarist in the Grateful Dead clone band that I was in. It was during many hours of jamming together (yeah, not my best scholastic performance that year) that I became aware of the unique rhythm style of Bob Weir. Weir’s style was developed as a response to the unique conversational style of playing between guitarist Jerry Garcia and bassist Phil Lesh. In many ways Weir’s style is more akin to that of a jazz guitarist comping that that of the rhythm guitar styles of someone like John Lennon. Weir would, like a jazz guitarist, feed chords and short melodic phrases into the improvisational dialog between Garcia, Lesh and the keyboard player du jour, tying them together within the harmonic framework of the moment.  Weir talks about his guitar style below with Dan Rather.

Bob Weir’s Unique Rhythm Guitar Style – 

The clips below are from a couple of different You Tube channels that specialize in Dead and Dead adjacent guitar tutorials. The first two are from Weeping Willow Guitar Lessons. I have just started checking them out but there are a lot of interesting videos stuff if you are interested in Dead/Allman guitar stuff (which I’m assuming is why you’re here in the first place). The third video, from GratefulGuitarLessons.com,  is a preview (or commercial if you will) for his paid lessons but it offers a glimpse into Weir’s guitar parts on the Grateful Dead tune, “Eyes OF The World”.

Lost Sailor – Bob Weir (Guitar Lesson) –


Bob Weir Guitar Lesson: Casey Jones Guitar Tutorial with tab –


Eyes of the World: Bob Weir FREE Guitar Lesson –

 

Finally something a little different. While the Dead were playing the Greek Theater in Berkeley, CA., Weir was troubleshooting his guitar rig and had his guitar recorded separately for the three nights at the Greek. A recording eventually got out and was then was synced to the existing video of this performance. So the two videos below are of the August 8, 1989 show at th Greek Theater with the whole band and then the show again with Bob Weir’s guitar isolated. Being a Deadhead and a guitar geek, I found it fascinating and informative.

Grateful Dead 8-19-89 Greek Theater Berkeley CA –

 

Bob Weir ISOLATED GUITAR – Grateful Dead 8/19/89 Greek Theater, Berkeley, CA –

 

Here is the set list of the show.

08/19/89 Greek Theater, University Of California – Berkeley, CA

Set One: Let The Good Times Roll, Jack Straw, We Can Run, Tennessee Jed, It’s All Over Now, Loser, Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, Box Of Rain

Set Two: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Playing In The Band > Uncle John’s Band > Playing In The Band > Playing In The Band Jam > Drums > Space > The Other One > Wharf Rat > Not Fade Away

Encore: Foolish Heart

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Posted in Classic Rock, Grateful Dead, Improvisation, Jam Band, Music Appreciation and Analysis

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