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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: Feel - Exercise 2

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Flatpick Guitar with Bryan Sutton. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Bluegrass Guitar Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
To wrap up this introduction of this
strumming scale exercise concept
I'll just I'll show you a few things.
You know, and th, this is an idea that's
for this for
my curriculum here it's gonna carry over
into some more advanced things later.
For, for awareness on the fingerboard, and
awareness for improvisation, and
again awareness, awareness of how rhythms
and how a general sense of where
downbeats can fall within, within your,
your internal groove of your playing.
And, we're gonna sort of hopefully
solidify some things with this.
So, once again, I'll show you.
Here's a metronome at 65 beats a minute
and we'll start with D this time.
And, what I want you to do with this,
these exercises is to just pick a, a.
I'll be showing lots of scales and chords
and things like that and
ways to play rhythm.
And, we're gonna try to, you know, group.
This is where the improvisational doors
are open.
So, here's some.
We're going to work with chords and
scales,
try to get our hands smooth back and
forth.
[MUSIC]
You can start with that.
Just, simple strums.
[MUSIC]
That was extending it a little bit.
But really, what I'm trying to do is, is
in the middle of that run, I'm making
a quick decision of where a down beat
ought to be to get back to the rhythm.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
a little smaller version that time,
heres one of the things we talked about
with pickup notes
of shifting the pulse with all the down
beats to more
of an upstroke some more close positions,
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
That was a little harder for
me to get that D down there.
But again, that's, we're trying to avoid
tension on those transition points.
[MUSIC]
That's a little better.
That's some pickup notes.
[MUSIC]
Notice, because I was, I was planning for
that that time, planning for that pickup
note I actually left a little space
[MUSIC]
So, there's some stuff out of D.
And, the idea, again, is just these smooth
transitions.
[MUSIC]
And, it really doesn't matter that you.
You know, just, as you feel where the
downbeats ought to go,
the strum needs to be solid back from the
downbeats.
So, that time, I was actually up on a g, a
g note at the end of the scale.
[MUSIC]
But, it sounded, it, it, it, you know,
you didn't think like that, well that's,
he missed something, or that was a,
a bad note choice, because, the, the
underlying rhythm was smooth.
And so, so here's a couple, here's another
some other ideas out of c.
[MUSIC]
65 beats a minute with a metronome.
[MUSIC]
Pick ups.
[MUSIC]
And
again, moreover what we're trying to
develop is a, is a big, sort of
global sense of how these, how the rhythms
follow the, the, the internal groove.
And, this should be, as you listen it
should, it should feel fairly musical and
it should sound fairly musical.
Even though it's a, as an exercise, it's
fairly simplistic, but it should feel,
it should feel like music.
So, here it is.
Some more stuff in C.
This more downbeat is kind of basic,
pulse kind of things.
[MUSIC]
And, one of the things
thats gonna be built here is.
We talk about muscle memory.
[MUSIC]
And, as your left
hand technique develops, you'll be
able to make these transitions smoother
because, you know, the, the, the muscle
memory of where the C C-major scale shapes
are in the C chords, in the strumming.
as that's becomes stronger and more more
of something that you can use.
You'll feel these transitions be smoother
and, and a way to just you know,
if you want to make it harder on yourself
just speed things up.
Because again, one of the things about,
you know, obviously with flat picking
you're going to be playing at you know a
lot of quicker tempos.
And, that's when, when these,
these initial exercises really start
paying is when you start, you know, being
able to play at the tempos that we know
are you know, more common to bluegrass.
And so, I'll get back into G here and just
show you a few more things to work on.
65 beats a minute.
ill add
A G-Major scale.
[MUSIC]
Pick up stuff.
[MUSIC]
And, there, there's, there's,
there's again you know, people talk about
in jazz there's no wrong notes.
And as long as we're staying within the
major scale form here some lines you play
are gonna be a little more musical
sounding than not, then others.
And so and again, another idea that we're
opening the door to here is, is,
melodic improvisation in it.
So, we know that a lot of fiddle tunes are
based out of major scales.
The same notes that we're working out of
here.
We're just, we're just isolated things and
to, in an exercise of just how to connect
and, and start building senses a sense of
how these melodic ideas within the scale.
Scale format, a scale shape, can kind of
create, start creating some music and
our sense of how these, these tunes are
created.
If, you can take even, here's, here's 65
beats a minute again with,
in the key of G.
[MUSIC]
If you look at the basic version of Turkey
in the Straw, play a few bars
[MUSIC]
You know ,that's, that's another way to,
to practice this kind of stuff.
And again, you know the, our goal as we
move through, you know, quicker tempos.
Again our goal we've got a solid approach
technique wise to the guitar, and
we're seeing how.
The, the strumming feel and as, as you
see, the right hand should never,
should feel the same, should feel
basically the, that smooth sense that you
feel when you're, when you're strumming
rhythm at an, at an easier tempo.
You shouldn't feel a,
a huge a huge shift with your muscles when
you go to the single note stuff and back.
And, and that's the goal to isolate here.
And so, it's these are, these are really
important little exercises to work on for,
for moving forward.
Now, I'd like to see how you guys are
coming along with this stuff.
I've shown you a few exercises of,
of how to stru, play strumming play
scales, play single note back and forth.
And again, the idea is to kinda open the
door for improv.
And, to really sorta start nailing down
these foundations of,
of solid flat picking.
And so, what I'm going to be looking for
are how you're able to kinda
transition yourself from single note lead
to rhythm and back and forth.
And, and once again, you know, that,
that'll be kinda obvious and, and, and
i want to see how you really are.
You know, just set the camera up and go.
You know, and I can see things.
If I see where there's certain points it
looks like you're not quite
as familiar with this form to get back to
this, this strum as possible.
And, and, the more I see where you really
are, the better the feedback will be.
And so, submit a video working out of the
key of D at 65 beats a minute.
That's a suggestion.
Working out of the,
of the key of G at 70 beats a minute if
you feel comfortable with that.
Send me a video I'll give you, I'll give
you some feedback and, and you know, and
give you some help to how to move along.
And, I look forward to seeing all that.
[MUSIC]