Arlen Roth is a SuperGenius guitar teacher who invented the “Hot Licks” series of instructional DVDs.  My favorite Arlen Roth video is “150 Electric Hot Licks for Rock, Blues, Country, Rockabilly and R&B Guitar.”  A “lick” is a short musical passage that punctuates a song.  Some songs are made from many licks linked together.

Here is Arlen noodling around in a Bluesy mood in a different video. I love his easy playing and instructional style and you get a real sense of the man through his music.

Arlen Roth is a teacher defined by his natural musical talent — he doesn’t read music — and he is tempered by the tremendous loss of his wife and beautiful daughter.  Arlen explains on his website:

Gillian Mackenzie Roth, my darling late daughter, was born Dec. 22nd, 1983. As you parents know, when a child is born, and you see that face, you can never imagine that the universe could ever be without them. She was the most extraordinary girl in the world. She had the most amazing childhood, filled with family, music, art, creativity and of course love. When she was born, I was born, so as you can imagine, I literally died when I lost her. No one can ever lose a child, especially like her. She had a wonderful blossoming career as an actress and a guitarist, and had been doing commercials, etc. from the age of 11 till she died at 14. It was on the way back from an audition in NYC when their car was involved in an accident and Gillian and my wife, Deborah were both killed. It was only 2 days after Gillie had recorded the theme song for her new exciting Nickelodeon show, “The Gunks,” a show about a girl rock band that was loosely based on The Monkees. Gillie was so happy, I remember her leaving the studio, and punching the sky with glee! She was so proud of her guitar playing, but was particularly happy with how they used her singing voice as the main one on the theme song!

Here is Gillian Roth in concert and performing with her father.  YouTube embedding is disabled for the video. 

When you hear the joy in Gillie’s fingers as she transitions into “Day Tripper” you begin to feel the massive loss that still haunts Arlen to this day. 

We weep with you, Arlen, and we thank you for sharing your talent and your grief with us because every human experience defines us and refines our relationships with each other. 


  1. Watching late Gillian Roth was tough…what a loss.
    I am glad Arlen had the power with him to continue even after such incident in his life…there are lots of people who would have just lost the desire to live. Hats off to him.

  2. The death of Gillian Roth is hard for me to swallow — I cannot imagine Arlen’s devastation of not only losing Gillian, but his wife as well in the same accident. He was so shocked he sold his Hot Licks video series to another publisher and sort of went into a hurtful hiding for awhile. He’s now back on doing weekly online tutorials.
    Arlen is a man who can take pain and punishment and suffering — and you’re right there are others who are not as strong as Arlen — and we’re going to discuss one of them tomorrow.

  3. Wow, David. That is a powerful story. I had to read that extra slowly for full effect. It’s good that he is back to doing the tutorials.

  4. Wow, David. That is a powerful story. I had to read that extra slowly for full effect. It’s good that he is back to doing the tutorials.

  5. Eep! Sorry for the double reply. I got a 500 internal server error when I submitted the first time.

  6. Yes, I’m glad Arlen was able to find his way back to us. No one would’ve blamed him for giving up and just living a quiet life of introspection in private.

  7. We are presently dealing with some issues concerning an upgrade to Movable Type 5.01 — so please be patient if things come and go and change a bit over the next few days. Thank you!

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