Dickey Betts Artist Study: Welcome

In this tutorial, we’re going to study the guitar tone & lead guitar playing style of the legendary Southern rock guitarist Dickey Betts. Betts grew up listening to country, bluegrass and Western swing music. Eventually, when he began to play guitar in his own bands, he played in an early rock and roll style. But Betts is most well known for playing dual lead guitar alongside Duane Allman in the iconic Southern rock band the Allman Brothers.

Betts plays with a clean to sweetly rounded sustained tone using mostly pentatonic major scales with a country flavor adapted to the Allman Brothers rock style. He plays mostly simple, but flowing phrases that emphasized melodic devices of repetition, variation, and rhythmic displacement. Along with Duane, Dickey’s style is a key component of the unique, instantly identifiable sound of the early Allman Brothers Band. Their sweet as sugar twin harmony leads are an iconic sound of rock and roll guitar vocabulary.

As well as writing major hits like ‘Ramblin’ Man’ and ‘Blue Sky,’ which feature his vocals, Betts also wrote several instrumentals that became staples in the Allman Brothers nightly set list including ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’ and the radio friendly hit ‘Jessica’.

Today we're going to study Betts’s lead guitar playing style by breaking it down into several key factors, learn what makes it special, and then learn to play some licks in his style!