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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: “Soldier's Joy” (Basic)

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Soldier's Joy
is one of the most popular fiddle tunes of
all time.
And I'm gonna show it to you here.
We're gonna be based out of the C
A lot of people play it with a capo, and
one of the reasons I'm gonna show you it
in the C position is so you can, you know,
just realize what that feels like to learn
something in C, move it to D.
One of the techniques of, especially when
you're in jam sessions and you know,
you've learned a song in a certain key,
somebody sings it or plays it in another
You know, just that's what the beauty of
the capo is that you can, you can then,
you know realize yourself, well, you know,
it's just the D is.
The capo on the second.
We're gonna learn, learn it out of, out of
But here it is.
Based out of the C position.
It's gonna employ a lot of up and down.
You know, it's traditional, straight
ahead, flatpicking.
And so it's fairly taxing, just, just for
the up and down.
Just a constant string of eighth notes.
And we, we'll get into all that.
I'm gonna play it.
It's in a standard AA, BB form.
And it's at 62 beats a minute here.
All right, that's Soldier's Joy.
And jumping right into the A part here.
One of the things that you may notice is
one of the good things about this
kind of melody.
Is that it's all C-major scale.
We in Gold Rush and some of these other
tunes we notice that, the pent-,
pentatonic form.
Again one of these great, a great thing
about all these fiddle tunes is a lot of
them are based right out of major scales.
So this.
You know.
So picking right up with a hammer on.
That's the first
phrase which employs the back the lower
part of the, of the C-major scale.
Into a pentatonic form.
Back to the major scale.
another thing we talked about with the 15
cents is one of the great sort of
techniques of flatpicking is being able to
when you're based out of chord and
scale forms, being able to find places to
keep your fingers on the fingerboard.
So notes kinda ring into each other than
sustain and
creates this sort of beautiful kind of
So once again from the top.
So we got three bars of of eighth notes
[SOUND] But it's all out of basic C-major
and C pentatonic forms.
And so, you know, if you've worked on this
it should it should build pretty easily.
I'm not saying you're gonna get it first
time but it, but
it should make a lotta sense if you've
worked on these things.
So that is the first half and
it's basically the same thing.
Now our ending phrase.
Still all notes out of a C-major scale.
So one more time.
All right, there's the A part of Soldier's
>> The B
part of Soldier's Joy is sort of really
what defines it for me.
The, the melody of, of the B part is is
just part of the classic sound of, of
fiddle music and flat picking.
we'll jump right in with a tab we have
that's the big phrase that defines
Soldier's Joy.
It works its way up to a, the F form.
We're still in C here.
you want to you can play an F chord right
Moving on.
You'll notice that we're halfway through.
All this is still based at a C major
And on the first, the G, the B, and the E
Right there, that's a good point to work
on some transition.
Just that
the third bar of the fourth line of the
one of, one of the tricks there that I'm
trying to make happen is that when that,
when I hit that open B, because it's
followed immediately by an open G string,
open third string I want all that to ring.
You know,
it's a subtle thing but it, but it adds to
the effect of what's happening here.
And, and again this is what we're talking
about with when,
when the technique is strong.
And you can recognize these things, and it
creates a bigger picture of,
of solid, you know, clear flat picking.
Moving on.
There's our big phrase, again.
Simply a walk in to F.
you'll see that, that happen a lot in, in
this kinda music, phrases like that.
Where it starts with the hammer on, and
it's just, it's sort of a filler phrase.
You could, you could technically, in this
And hold a, hold a hold a C note.
For four counts.
You know that's, that's a simple way to do
But you know we're gonna, we're talking
about how hammer-ons embellish the melody.
And how, you know, flatpicker can sort of
you know you make your,
you know sign your name to a song.
And this is when a simple little melodic
thing occurs on you know banjo and
fiddle and lots of times different
instruments is a phrase like that when you
have where the melody ends on what is the
one note or the root.
everything sort of comes back home right
So the way it's written here.
You know,
it sort of it get it gets home but
it has a little bit extra sort of element
of interest right there melodically.
So one more time through with the B part.
So there's joy, great song.
I'm gonna play it one more time.
And, you can use this first version here
to play along to.
And, here we are again at 62 beats per
One, two, one, two.
going to talk a little bit about the
rhythm part.
Playing rhythm behind Soldier's Joy,
there's a few little things that I just
wanted to make sure that you guys got.
Again, we're in the key of C here.
And we talked about it if it were in the
key of D all you, for this,
the way the melody is written.
You could basically read the same, same
tab move up two frets, and as far
as rhythm two frets and now you're playing
in the key of D all the same chord forms.
So there's three chords one four five
And again the A part is just two chords.
You can hear it.
You'll here, I mean, this is just an
addendum to, to what's the, the downloads,
the MP3s that are there of, of me playing
this for you to practice to.
I'm just sort of, isolating a little bit
what's, what's in those things.
And really you know all I would say about
the A part is because there's so
many eighth notes and, and so the, the
concept is,
is when you're in a real notey kind of
tune like that.
Sometimes that's rhythm player less, you
know less is more.
You could technically walk to the, to the
five chord
You know, at a slower tempo it feels okay.
In my opinion, just, you know, from a
musicianship sort of standing.
Learning to recognize when there's lots of
eighth notes like that.
Lots of, lots of rapid fire, you know,
streaming notes like that make your rhythm
simple, and strong and solid.
That's, that's what you wanna do as you
play this song with other people.
And the B part one of the things, again,
we mention the great sort of,
the melody line.
You know,
the way that climbs through the F chord.
And it works great on the guitar.
From a rhythm standpoint.
can kinda create a little symmetry right
there, walking to the F, and
then walking back down to the G.
you know, you can see the melody sort of
open up right there.
then we're back into the the steady stream
of eighth notes.
Maybe you wanna simplify it from there on
just remember the, the role of rhythm
guitar is ultimately to support.
Either the vocalist or whoever's playing
the lead at that moment.
So those embellishments do in fact enhance
the moment, but, and
we're gonna get into some of this later,
the ways to think about rhythm guitar.
And as we move from here forward, we're
gonna, you know,
look at different concepts of how to.
How to think more musically.
You know, get a little more conceptual
with things.
And so so good luck with, with all these,
all these lessons here.
And and I'm glad to glad to be able to
help you guys through,
through this basic level of flatpicking We
are now at the end of, of the basic basic
level here with the flat picking and,
and playing bluegrass guitar and we've
covered lots of stuff.
It's a time for you to submit a video
specifically with
the tunes that we've worked on.
Everything that we've talked about up til
now is,
is used in these, in these tunes that I've
shown you.
So, I'd like you to pick one or two and
submit and I'll respond.
And that's one of the beauties of this, of
this lesson format.
This website format is I get to respond
and and the whole community of
subscribers gets to sort of listen in and
look in, and, and we all learn together.
And so, one of the things specifically
with these tunes, and
in general as a concept as we move on, and
before we move on what I'd like to see is
how, you know, we've mastered some of the,
some of the things we've talked about in
these basic lessons.
And that's, and that'll manifest itself in
these tunes.
As we see you know, a, a solid sense of,
of the basic, you know,
the first position on the guitar.
And, I can tell through how you perform
these tunes and, and I don't want you to,
I'm not trying to pressure you to, to, to
sorta try to work these up into some kinda
performance, level kinda thing, cuz I
really wanna help you.
I really wanna find out where where your
needs are and you can, you can help me,
you can even you know, this, this bar
right here is a struggle for me.
And I can, I can I can show you how to
isolate that and
maybe give you a few ideas of how to, how
to work on those things.
But, but what I should be able to see is
what I should see building at this point.
Is is solid sense of, of,
of, of the rhythmic nature of, of these
kind of tunes.
And, and a good you know solid tune
technique approach from your left and
right hands.
And I'm gonna be looking for, for all
these things that we've talked about.
And in no, you know, I'll encourage you
to, to move on.
You know, if I see, you know, you've got
this, and, you know, carry on.
And if I see somethings you can work on,
I'll be glad to, to, you know, go over and
over those kinds of things with you, and
my goal is that you learn this, you know,
you, I want everybody to have a very solid
foundation for the, for the rest of the,
all the other things we're gonna talk
And, you know, that's part of, part of the
fun of this thing for
me is, is helping people on the journey.
I, I've, I've learned over the years that
being a musician, you know,
it's certainly more about the journey than
any sort of destination.
Usually, what destinations, mean for me is
that I,
it opens up a new door of some things that
I need to learn or work on.
And, you know, it's exciting to me to be
able to help.
It's not gonna happen overnight part of
this whole process, and the beauty of this
website is that, I get to, you know, help
you along your journey and I've noticed
in my own career as a musician that it's,
you know, really all about the journey.
That's the fun rewarding part.
Is continuing to learn, continuing to
sorta open doors, and, you know,
because of the physical nature of, of
this, you know,
this kind of way of playing guitar you
know, I'm,
I'm always just discovering different ways
to look at tension awareness and look, and
look at things to improve my, my
Because ultimately, you know, I, I feel
like I deliver better music.
When my when my technique and my approach,
and you know, I can,
I can just relax and play better tunes.
And, and I feel like my method's set up
here so I can help you, help you along and
point out things that will will get you
down the road hopefully quicker.