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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: Feel - Exercise 1

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The next
series of exercises will hopefully, you
know, encourage you to practice
some of these grove and developing
internal pocket and feel.
We're gonna encourage transition from
strumming to single note playing and
back to strumming.
And part of what internal groove and
pocket is is consistency.
And again, we've talked about a lot just
basic rhythmic,
smooth elements of flat picking and
So the way, we'll jump right into this
And there's, there's no real, this is more
this gonna open the door to some
improvisation that, that'll, will be kinda
worked on a little bit later.
Right now, we're gonna continue to
introduce sorta some different kinda
And the goal kinda is to, is to challenge
you now that, you know, we're,
we've built lots of strong sorta technique
ideas and approach thoughts.
We're gonna start employing this from a
more musical kinda way.
We're gonna practice, so the idea is to
Basically, practice realizing a way to
play rhythm, a way to play single note,
a way to get back to rhythm to where
you're technique and
the way the way that you can kind of work
back and forth.
You start using your mind a little bit.
One of the things that we're gonna start
working, a friend of mine calls it that
that triangulation of the left and right
hand in the brain.
And so we're gonna start you're gonna
listening to yourself.
Developing ear for not only note choice
developing ear for what sounds and feels
like smooth playing.
So the exercise basically here, I've got a
metronome set at 65.
I'm gonna start, basically, I'm just gonna
limit what I'm gonna work around to G.
And I'll have some G-chord.
We've talked about different voicings.
You can use that.
This is where I want you to sort of
experiment with things.
And basically, moving from G down here or
G there and moving in and out of sca
scales and strums.
So here's a metronome at 65 beats a
[SOUND] And I'll start with a rhythm.
Or this.
So once I get a good rhythmic
thing as opposed to just practice,
practicing a scale the the goal
is to go though some single out stuff and
back into the strumming.
So here it is again, 65 beats a minute.
And I'll jump in.
what I want you to feel is how these bars
have a downbeat,
and I want you to plan for the downbeat.
when you go back into strumming,
you need to be aware that there is an
obvious downbeat.
Now you want to make it a little more
Up into C.
Now we're in C.
that's the basic
And, and again the goal, what, what we're
trying to do.
And we talked about how to sorta
manipulate the metronome.
And let me show you a couple other ideas
within our, our first you know, thinking
about shifting pulses, so here's a, again
the metronome at 65 beats a minute.
[SOUND] Now instead of starting on a
downbeat, I'll start on an upbeat.
I had to make a choice at the end of that
scale to, to to,
I knew that that downbeat was coming up.
I could feel that the downbeat was, was
So I had to make some choices.
I wanted to get back to G.
I'm going to stay within the scale.
And this kind of where the improvisation
doors opens.
Because as an improviser, you kind of,
especially in bluegrass and
trying to play solid and trying to
communicate, you know, what we're going to
call very musical, musically strong and
rhythmically strong ideas.
And bluegrass is all about, especially
with, with the solos.
If you think about Tony Rice and some of
these more powerful guitar players.
One of the things that makes their playing
powerful is, is the ability to
to really not just, you know, hammer the
downbeat but make it, you know,
very much, very much an obvious kind of
thing of where these downbeats fall.
And you know, we're getting a little more
conceptual at this point.
And you know ,the, the choice making at
this point is not sorta as an improv
improvisational kind of approach to this
is not really entered, but
here we go with.
And there's still some room in the bar.
And so I make a choice to get there.
And, and, this is kind of things I'm able
to do fairly quickly,
and I would encourage you.
One of the tricks of practicing improv, is
to, you know, stop and think about,
all right, I got this, this many notes in
a bar, and I'm working out of a scale, and
I just wanna, all I wanna do is get to a
downbeat with a G.
And so, you know, you can just keep, keep
practicing those things, and
that's, that's one of the strengths of
this kind of exercise is
that it sort of opens your mind to, to
thinking about how, how notes fall and
where they fall in order to kind of reach
a certain goal.
And our goal here is just to get back to a
So I'll show a few little more ways to
kind of deal with that at 65 beats
a minute at a G.
I'm gonna start with an upstroke.
I left some space that time.
What I'm trying to do is, is,
is imagine where the downbeat.
And I'm not really trying to plan a
certain number of bars.
I just know that there's a downbeat coming
I'm feeling, I'm feeling how these bars,
the space of the bar.
And I'm trying to imagine, you know,
usually, we talk about the flat picking.
There's quarter notes and, and there's
eight eighth notes in a bar.
One and two and three and four and new
So what I'm trying to do is help you
solidify that your internal sense of that,
without having to read it, without having
to sort of be told necessarily.
Just experiment.
And once, once you feel that, that sense
of, of where those downbeats are.
Once you feel those a little stronger,
you'll find that this,
this kind of exercise is easier to do.
And it'll, it'll take some time if you're
not used to this kind of thing.
But again, it's, it's opening the door to,
to a real solid,
solid way to improvise within bluegrass.
And I'll show you a couple of the ways to
kind of go about it here next.