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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: “Gold Rush” (Basic)

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Gold Rush
is one of the most popular Bluegrass songs
I have recorded.
It's, it's an instrumental that's you
know, standard at jam sessions.
There's been a lot of great guitar
versions recorded over the years.
Bill Monroe wrote it, has the first
recording of it.
And again it's a classic, standard if you
will for Bluegrass.
And we're gonna jump right in here.
It's gonna employ a lot of the things
we've been talking about.
I'm gonna play the first verse, I'm going
to play it all the way through.
It's an A, A, B, B form like we've been
working on.
And here it is at 60 beats a minute from
top to bottom.
>> One, two, three, four.
All right.
It's a great song.
It's again, a classic Bluegrass favorites,
one of my favorites, played this song a
long time.
And jumping right in with the A-part of
Gold Rush, you'll
notice that it starts with a hammer on in
the, in bar one after the pick up notes.
we're gonna jump right into our eighth
note up and down pattern.
Into some quarter notes,
so again we're thinking about sort of good
solid rhythmic smooth transitions.
>> From that,
that first phrase right there.
Not necessarily jumping right into the
down up, down up.
We've got a hammer on.
But again,
we're sort of imagining an upstroke right
And because our hand's already there,
once we do start the up down picking
pattern the, the transition is smoother.
There's more eighth notes
Into a hammer on.
And it all stays into that one and
two and three and four and into that next
Bar four is one two and three.
So that's the whole phrase.
that's something that you may wanna
Again, we're gonna, you know, find things
with in these tunes that are,
that are just interesting phrases within,
within these melodies that,
that are good to, to break down and work
Because that, that employs a lot of string
changing, you know,
ends with the hammer on, and so there's a,
you know, a, a, picking element and
a rhythmic element all at play here to
make that phrase happen.
And so
now we finish, finishing up the back half
of the A part.
Another hammer on.
And what that is,
this is all right out of the G pentatonic
The picket notes.
So from here, the, the top of bar five.
you paid attention to your G pentatonic
scale form you'll know.
Those are all the notes.
But it's the melody of Gold Rush so,
that's the reason you know,
we break things down to these basic scale
And so.
And the final phrase.
We got our we're gonna call it an F sharp.
We've got our cap on the second fret, so
we're playing out of A.
But, but it's basically keeping with our
four-fret, four-finger, you know,
left-hand solid technique.
To grab that note.
For the last phrase.
And then, the,
the next section of pickup notes.
We're at the first ending and we're gonna
repeat back to the top there at that
the third bar on the top line, which is
starts the A part again.
So, from that last phrase.
So there's a hammer on.
So that's two, two down strokes in a row
So that you've got a picking, a down up.
And two downs because of the hammer on.
We're imagining that there is an upstroke
for that the second half of that hammered
on eighth note section there.
Instead of.
We're doing this.
You know, it just smooths out the,
smooths out the pass the passage there.
So one time through slowly at the A part.
This'll, this'll be the second time
More, more
pentatonic pattern that time.
So there's,
there's a lot of great stuff there to work
on in the A part of Gold Rush.
Beautiful, you know, pentatonic based kind
of melody which we're gonna find
occurs a lot in, in this style of music.
And you know as our technique builds and
our sense of where these forms are on the
neck, that's gonna allow us to pursue,
you know a lot deeper and more meaningful
delivery this kind of music.
And so good luck with A part, and we'll
follow up with B on the next lesson.
All right,
we're gonna move to the B part of Gold
And one of the coolest things about the
way the B part lines on the guitar here is
that it starts with a whole descending
pentatonic scale, G scale form.
[SOUND] So starting on the open open
second string.
[SOUND] It'll sound like this.
Now we're moving to a C chord form.
And then back to the G form.
And that's a hammer on so,
and then we gotta slide.
That's a little, little you know,
just a good sort of flat picking kinda
phrase right there.
That's a, that's a,
that's a very Doc Watson influenced little
turn of notes right there.
And then back to our pentatonic
And then the end phrase.
There's just,
I think it's the same way as, as what how
the A part ended, so.
If you can get through the first five
bars, six bars of this or so you're,
you're home free.
One more time.
All right.
And the particular G form, the way the
tab's written out,
the way I've done the tab here we'll get
into a lot of this later as we,
as we're moving out of the basics level
into somewhere intermediate and
advanced thoughts about Blue Grass guitar.
We'll look at some other chord voicings
and this is, so we're, so we're
introducing a little bit of stuff, you
know, a bit at a time with these tunes.
You know, it's, you know, as much as I can
say on the, on these,
all these lessons, you know, you really,
all these, all these lessons start really,
you know, making sense, the, you know, as
we play tunes.
We learn by playing tunes.
And so a little bit of element introduced
right here is another form of,
of the G-chord instead of.
That, a full, six, six-string G-chord,
We have a G that's still the,
the ring fingers on the on the third fret.
And our A,
our fifth string is essentially muted.
We're not gonna play it that, we,
if you still make the form.
And again this is one of the reasons why
we discuss basic forms and, and
get our hands in the right position.
Don't fret the note, but if you have your
hand there.
It mutes that string.
And then your pinky's down here, and so
what we have, we talked about chords being
the root, the third,and the fifth to make
the major chord feel
And the way that progresses for Bluegrass
especially with a,
a Monroe type instrumental like this is a
chord voicing that's all ones and fives.
It's the what's this?
It's the roots and the fifths.
And power chords some people call it.
And there's no thirds in it.
you'll hear a lot of Bluegrass players
playing that particular type of chord.
There's some even different ways kind of
go about it from there as far as
fingerings but that's the initial sound
that's going, you're going after.
When you take the thirds out of the chord.
You know,
it's a big, full you know, rich sounding
version of it.
But that.
So it's a little, it's a little meaner,
a little more to the point.
And we'll, you know, later we're gonna
discuss how Bluegrass you know, just what
makes Bluegrass Bluegrass and, and
the voicings of chords that sort of
support certain kinds of songs and, and
why they do that and how you can you know,
discover and choose for yourself so
you know, basically the way our version of
Gold Rush on the basic level ends there
sort of opens the door slightly to that
kind of thinking.
So that's, that's the B part.
I'm gonna play it all the way through one
more time.
60 beats a minute and just so you can,
you can have it to play along with me one
more time from the, from this lesson.
And, so here we go.
One, two, three, four, one.
All right, there's Gold Rush.
Good luck with that one.
We're going to look at some rhythm changes
of Gold Rush, and once again,
I want to encourage, you know, laying the
groundwork for
being able to watch somebody play chords.
And I'm going to show you the changes to
Gold Rush and
talk about some ways we employ the walking
bass concept and things like that.
So, it's basically we're, our capo is on
the second fret and
it will be out of the G form here
And so from the pickup notes,
I'll play those.
The A part has two chords.
It's just a, and that's where the G form
is one, four, five totally.
The song has three chords, eventually, but
the A part here just has two,
the one and the five, the G form and D
A lot of that.
the next to the last bar, the phrase that
When we go to that,
the way that that works within the scale
if you'll notice that, it spells out the D
form chord of the five.
So, you know, just tricks to do that.
And again, once again you've got all the
rhythm passes there and,
you know, pay attention to that, learn the
rhythms of these,
you know, and moving on to the B part as a
quick C form or four chord.
And once again, you know,
the pentatonic scale descending thing of
the B part.
Sorta works all right in with that G
chord form.
And then the C.
And back to G.
Dah Dah Dah Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo.
So that's the way that works.
And you also can employ some the walking
thing right there.
Dah Dah Dah Dah Dah Dah Dah.
You know, so just I'm showing you
different options of
how to get through the rhythm, and the way
I would think about this kind of thing.
And then it just, so here's the B part.
Sort of continues to play.
To end the first half.
And then all that again.
And then our ending, same ending phrase.
that's just some tips of playing rhythm to
Gold Rush.
And, you know, take some time and learn.
Learn the melody, get the melody in your
And be able to play along with this tune,
and good luck with that.
One thing you may do which helps in, you
know, learning these Bluegrass songs.
There's so many of them and, you know, one
of the ultimate goals of playing this kind
of music is there's an incredible social
component in, you know, a jam session.
It's fun.
You know,
you got, we all have friends that play
music, and if you have somebody,
maybe you're working with a friend
learning these things,
show him the chords or record 'em yourself
to play over.
If for some reason I've got it here,
the basic beats per minute, the tempo is,
I think, 60 for this.
And if that feels too fast and
you want to start a little slower, record
a version of yourself.
You know, the way that I can make some of
these tracks at home is just, you know,
stand in front of the computer, sit in
front of the computer and
record a little bit or whatever, tape
machine, whatever you have,
you know, to provide yourself some rhythm
tracks or teach somebody else.
It's a continuing way to sort of burn
these tunes into your mind and
be able to remember what's going on If you
really want to embody these tunes and
be able to, you know, sing along with
them, hum along with them, and
play rhythm along with them.
And it's this sort of total sense of
how to really adjust these great melodies
and in songs.