who plays bluegrass?

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 41 - 60 of total 196 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
nutjob

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Jun 22, 2010 - 07:07pm PT
I'm a guitar player.

I'm on the shallow wading pool end of dabbling in bluegrass. I joined a bluegrass jam session/class about a year ago and realized how much work I'd have ahead of me. The main issue is not the mechanics (I can change chords quickly enough, I have the finger dexterity to play stuff), but just learning the repertory. People call out song names, and launch into the chord changes, which I can't track in real-time even after watching a couple of cycles. My brain is stuck in pop/rock/blues progressions, but the changes in bluegrass are just not intuitive for me.

The only way I see to clear that hurdle is to practice a lot of bluegrass, but I don't like it enough to exclude other types of playing and I just don't make the time for practicing in general. I don't have the heart to stick with it long enough while I suck, like I did 20 years ago when not much else competed for my time.
Chinchen

climber
Way out there....
Jun 22, 2010 - 09:04pm PT
Its not so bad Nutjob. Most bluegrass songs have only two parts. An "A" progression and a "B" progression. Each is usually played twice before the other is played twice and round they go. You take a solo and play through the whole cycle once.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Jun 22, 2010 - 09:14pm PT
No fancy bridges to cross...
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
Jun 22, 2010 - 09:32pm PT
i can mop the floor with most guitarists, so bluegrass, sure, why not.

and afterwards we can have a boxing match, just like big mon use to do.

roy clark was also a mandolinist/boxer.

go figure.
harihari

Trad climber
Squampton
Jun 22, 2010 - 10:18pm PT
Hey Nutjob--

Ask them to call out the #s. I = root, III = 3rd etc. If it starts in say G, G is I, C is IV and D is V. That way you know where to go-- it's called the Nashville something-or-other system-- and pretty much anybody who knows a tune can tell you "Yea, little georgia rose, we play it in A and it's 1,4,1,5,1,4,1,5 and we got a chorus and bridge that's 4,1,4,5,1,4,5,1,4,1"

At least you don't play Irish...where if you have to ask, you are automatically regarded as not worthy...


chris
Bill Mc Kirgan

Trad climber
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Jun 22, 2010 - 10:58pm PT
I play some bluegrass. Luv it but work it in with other musical interests, all of which are acoustic. Keep it real.
Bertrand

Trad climber
SF
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 22, 2010 - 11:30pm PT
Here's a couple old hardmen getting together near where I lived in NC.

I think they got the right idea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUzVUNJKiDc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUzVUNJKiDc
Bertrand

Trad climber
SF
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 22, 2010 - 11:40pm PT
By the way John Hardy is in A:

4-4-1-1
4-4-1-1
4-4-1-1
5-5-5-5
5-5-1-1 (there is no B part)

Nutjob, let's play it.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Jun 23, 2010 - 12:26am PT
Bertrand - Sweet video! Sad to see Merle Watson, given his untimely death, but great to listen to (and watch) that whole gang.
Chief

climber
Jun 23, 2010 - 02:07am PT
Bluegrass has become an all encompassing genre that draws on many other musical styles. It's evolved from Appalachian fiddle tunes and the thin high lonesome sound of Bill Monroe and his Kentucky Bluegrass Boys to a multifaceted catch all that includes traditional bluegrass, old time and folk with influences from blues, swing, jazz and classical music.

Musicians like Tony Rice, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Mark O'Connor and Bryan Sutton have rewritten the roles of acoustic stringed instruments in contemporary music and bluegrass today has evolved considerably from the Beverly Hillbillies or Deliverance theme tunes.

The essence of bluegrass as I understand it (ten years into flailing away at it), is the "forward leaning" nature of it's rhythm. The bass nails the beat and the mando "pushes" with an off beat muted chop providing a pitched percussive element not unlike a ska or reggae backbeat. If the bass stays on time and the mando pushes just enough, a tension is created and it's called "drive". The difficulty for greenhorns is not pushing the breaks and letting the tune from run away to the point where you've gained six to ten clicks on the metronome over the course of the tune. Conversely, bigger jams will kill the edge and render any attempt at drive into amorphous muck.

It's way easier said than done.

Timid TopRope

Social climber
Paradise, CA
Jun 23, 2010 - 10:31am PT
Dr Sprock, Sounds like a challenge. Come mop the floor with me. I played punk in the late 70's before playing everything but jazz by the 80's.

Chief, You got it right. Mandolin is the percussive element of a bluegrass band.

I like to play Old Joe Clark at about 200 BPM (beats per minute).

Any true fans must see the early 90's documentary, High Lonesome, filmed just before Monroe's death.

My old boss at Taos Mt Outfitters used to be in a band named the Monroe Doctrine (future members of Hot Rize). Bill took 'em under his wing and had them open all his shows. RIP Bill and Charles Sawtell.

For those that may know of Sawtell from Hot Rize, I've never heard a guitar player play so far back on the beat.
harihari

Trad climber
Squampton
Jun 23, 2010 - 12:44pm PT
Ya, basically it's like country music (think early Johnny Cash) except that in country you have the snare drum on the off-beat, whereas in bluegrass (no drums) the mando plays the off beat. BOOM-chuck, BOOM-chuck.

Best bluegrass band I've ever seen in my life was from I think Slovenia. Saw them in Vancouver last year, name escapes me, absolutely blew the roof off the place...and not a word in English. They sounded and rocked totally bluegrass, yet the soloists threw in a few weird solos in non-trad modes, which sounded pretty cool.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 23, 2010 - 12:52pm PT
I can't answer t*r's question about bluegrass festivals in her area. But last year Jonathan McEuen played at the FaceLift. He was and now again is with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, plus does bluegrass stuff. Enchanting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McEuen
Chief

climber
Jun 23, 2010 - 01:06pm PT
Got to see Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck and Zakir Hussein a couple years ago.
Three virtuosos who occasionally clicked and sounded amazing.
I think most of us were in awe and at times a bit uncomfortable watching Edgar openly enjoy a torrid love affair with his bass violin.

Listen to Skip Hop and Wobble if you want to destroy the bluegrass stereotypes and cliche's.
Likewise with Bela Fleck's Perpetual Motion or Tony Rice's Native American.

Back to more practicing.
(Manzanita, Devlin, Dixie Hoedown, Cold on The Shoulder and Old Train)

edit; Forgot to mention the classic Big Sciota or as we call it in Vancouver, Moe Sihota (now that's remote inside BC humour!)
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Jun 23, 2010 - 01:08pm PT
Love Old Train!
Bill Mc Kirgan

Trad climber
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Jun 23, 2010 - 02:12pm PT
Chief say...
The essence of bluegrass as I understand it (ten years into flailing away at it), is the "forward leaning" nature of it's rhythm. The bass nails the beat and the mando "pushes" with an off beat muted chop providing a pitched percussive element not unlike a ska or reggae backbeat. If the bass stays on time and the mando pushes just enough, a tension is created and it's called "drive". The difficulty for greenhorns is not pushing the breaks and letting the tune from run away to the point where you've gained six to ten clicks on the metronome over the course of the tune. Conversely, bigger jams will kill the edge and render any attempt at drive into amorphous muck.

Wow ^^^^ I never heard/read it explained that way before..."forward leaning". The tension and release is what makes great music. I will listen to bluegrass now for that mandolin pushing. Thanks Chief.
Bertrand

Trad climber
SF
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 23, 2010 - 02:14pm PT
Chief, at every jam I hesitantly call Dixie Hoedown. Everyone says they know it, and then they all miss the B minor in the B part. But I love playing that tune!
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Jun 23, 2010 - 02:44pm PT
Mighty, My old musician buddy Warren Floyd plays with John McEuen quite regularly, seen him tons of times. Here are a couple of pics of Warren with John.

That's Warren on the bass singing, Jim Ratts on the guitar
That's Warren on the bass singing, Jim Ratts on the guitar
Credit: ydpl8s

Warren with John and Doug Kershaw
Warren with John and Doug Kershaw
Credit: ydpl8s
Chief

climber
Jun 23, 2010 - 05:16pm PT
Betrand,

The B minor in the B part of Dixie Hoedown is the essence of that tune's appeal and what differentiates it from the usual fare. I call it the "Puff the Magic Dragon" chord change cause it's identical.
Bertrand

Trad climber
SF
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 23, 2010 - 07:19pm PT
Wow. I just tried it and.. it's Puff! G, Bmin, C, G. Got any good recordings of either of them?

I am going to start reserving DH for people who really know it.
Messages 41 - 60 of total 196 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews