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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: Playing Alternate Downbeat Notes

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Bluegrass Guitar

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[MUSIC]
In the,
in the basic section we covered changing
chords.
The boom chuck sound.
We're gonna, in the next few lessons we're
gonna cover how to expand on that and
how to, how to you know, make your rhythm
playing more complete sounding.
And the first thing I'll introduce here is
is,
are ways to ways to move through a bar.
Basically we talked about the boom-chuck
sound is
[MUSIC]
And so basically in the,
in the interest of what bluegrass rhythm
is as in the thinking of
the history of it.
And we've talked about how there in the
days before all bands had bass players.
The guitar player was you know, it was the
it was the back beat.
It was the down beat it, it provided
leading tones,
walking bass runs into chords.
And so again we're gonna add to a lot of
that kind of stuff.
First we're gonna talk about alternate
what we're gonna call alternate down
beats.
And in a, what a down beat is within a bar
you have the,
usually a down beat is one and the upbeat
is two,
then another down beat on three and
another upbeat on, on four.
[MUSIC]
And four four rhythm it's one, two,
three, four.
And then three quarter three four waltz
time it's.
[MUSIC]
One.
[MUSIC]
So keeping our, our c chord form there.
What we're gonna do on three, we're gonna
add what is basically what the bass part
is in, in traditional old-time bands, and
early bluegrass bands before the bass was
a prominent part.
This is what people would do.
And you've heard this for, for years if
you've listened to a lot of bluegrass.
[MUSIC]
So now we're you know,
we're, we're, we're, we are making you
know, real, real bluegrass rhythm.
Real it's country it's the basic thing
like that.
But that's what's going on is it's called
an alternating bass,
alternating bass sorta approach to things
and it's, it's not nec,
it's not anything necessarily you're gonna
use all the time.
But again it's another basic thing to be
aware of and I'll,
we'll have some stuff later on down the
road to show how to use it.
I'm just introducing the concept right
now, and it doesn't have to be what we
have here is a C
[MUSIC]
and a G which is the fifth.
[MUSIC]
Usually in, in in alternating bass
pattern you've got, for a country in blue
grass, you have a root fifth if you
if you pay attention to bass players it's,
in the key of C they're playing.
[MUSIC].
That's, that's the, that's the role.
But as a, as, having access to those notes
with that chord form in, and for
rhythm guitar is, is, gets this, this
effect.
[MUSIC]
So
as we apply that to everything we've
worked on earlier you can you know,
work on basic little things like this out
of the key of C.
[MUSIC]
Remember we walk in to F using
scale notes.
[MUSIC]
We talked about the other form of the F
chord being this.
We have access to that C note and I told
you that was going to be important later,.
[SOUND] That's where that can happen.
[MUSIC]
Or
it's also appropriate,
[MUSIC]
A little more taxing on your left
hand to do that.
If you make that form, everything is
already there.
[MUSIC]
And walking back down to C.
[MUSIC]
So, those are, those are,
those are good basic ideas and, and the
way that sort of expand that a little bit
more is to think about you know, within,
within the idea of walking,
we talked about walking being it's all
within the scale notes.
[MUSIC]
And
we just discussed downbeats and upbeats
within a bar.
It doesn't have to be the roots and the
fifths.
So combining the concept of walking and,
and
the concept of the alternate, alternate
downbeats we can especially from G to C,
which you're gonna see a lot in bluegrass.
[SOUND] Let's play, we're gonna, instead,
walking within the bass pattern,
walking within the uh,uh, downbeat
upstroke pattern.
We'll throw the, the next downbeat with a
B,
we'll just keep the keep the G form the
same, so it'll sound like this.
[MUSIC]
And then do the same thing on the C.
[MUSIC]
So that's what's going on there.
[MUSIC]
One of the things I'm doing
with my left hand is you know, I'm really
trying to make a strong sound here.
A strong statement with this, with these
leading tones and
these lower notes here so I'm actually-
[MUSIC]
kind of lifting up a little bit from the G
because I'm, I'm putting a little more
muscle behind the, the B note there.
[MUSIC]
Cuz I want,I want it to be strong.
I mean part of the idea of being strong
rhythm players in bluegrass are these
strong downbeats.
And and it comes from you know,
the history of, of days when the guitar
player was basically the downbeat.
The guitar player had to,
had to communicate what the downbeat was
and that's why we still do it today.
And those are some basic ideas.
We'll move on.
I've got a little exercise.
To move on to it on the next lesson, so
let's get right there.
[MUSIC]