Ron Block – From Bluegrass To AKUS Guitar

Ron Block - From Bluegrass To AKUS GuitarAcuTab Publications has released a new guitar instruction DVD, Ron Block – From Bluegrass to AKUS Guitar.

Ron has spent the largest part of his professional career playing banjo and guitar with Alison Krauss & Union Station. He was the subject of a banjo DVD for AcuTab in 2008, and this new video project focuses on his skills on the flattop.

The first section of the video finds Ron discussing his background and how he developed his distinctive personal sound. As the project is described on the AcuTab site:

“A strikingly thoughtful musician, he takes a disciplined approach to practicing and performing, and shares many of his insights and techniques here, in addition to teaching several songs he has recorded with Alison and others.

Of particular interest to guitarists at any level is his use of one-string scales – learning to solo using only a single string. Not that this would be the ideal scenario in creating leads, but to become familiar with the fingerboard both horizontally and vertically. Ron discusses this way of thinking on almost every song. He also explains his thoughts on controlling tone and timing.”

Eight songs are covered, which showcase Block’s guitar playing in a variety of styles: flatpicking, crosspicking, fingerstyle and lead.

  • Now That I’ve Found You
  • When You Say Nothing At All
  • The Lucky One
  • Oh Atlanta
  • Secrets
  • Faraway Land
  • A Living Prayer
  • Restless

All of the songs taught in the video are first performed instrumentally by a crack band (Tim Stafford, Zack McLamb, Aaron Ramsey), before Ron breaks them down phrase-by-phrase on screen.

Since his rhythm guitar parts are commonly a major part of the signature sound of Krauss’ recordings, he covers these in detail, in addition to the solos.

Each song is also shown in a split-screen orientation, with three view-selectable options allowing either the left or right hand as the larger screen, or placing them at equal size side-by-side.

Here’s a look at the trailer:


This 3.5 hour presentation is available in a 2-DVD set, or as a video download, from AcuTab. A tab booklet is included with either purchase.

Full details are available online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.