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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: Strum and Scales with Closed Shapes

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[MUSIC]
We're
gonna add one more level of, of challenge
to the basic strum and scale exercise.
What we're gonna do now is try to limit
our playing to closed, positions.
Try not to use open strings essentially is
what we're gonna do.
That's the challenge.
And it's you know, it's.
This is advance section and so this is an
advanced idea.
But again, we're, we're, we're continuing
to open, open the door.
The fingerboard open.
of knowledge of the fingerboard and open
the door to improvisational ideas.
And comfort with getting around,you know,
and sort of
the randomness of improvisation hopefully
will not seem so so scary at some point.
So just show you simply, you know, a bar
rhythm, and
then as you go to a, a closed line.
And one of the first places to start, is
the G.
[MUSIC]
And go to C.
[MUSIC]
And then, so
we got a challenge here of how to get
[MUSIC]
Of how to play, you know, you gotta,
you gotta work on some transition now.
notice I had to go to the, this, the next
position, so
most of our basic closed positions are
gonna be
out of this second position that we
learned,
a lot of the closed scale positions in the
intermediate level.
[MUSIC]
And
as you start it, you may just, just keep
the lines there.
And, one of the elements of freedom I'll
add to you.
We've been keeping it, keeping it at a bar
of rhythm, bar of scale based single note.
And now what I'd like you to do is work on
just extending the lines.
Try not to think about so much, of trying
to hammer back down to that down beat.
But what I would like you to do is to feel
like you're developing a sense,
of where you wanna go.
We're, we're still sort of in a random
sense of where these chords are gonna fall
and we're not gonna, we're not gonna be so
dependent on you know,
a bar of each, bar of each, bar of each.
So, what it can look like is this.
Here's, here's a metronome at 80 beats a
minute, [NOISE] so-
[MUSIC]
We get into our groove.
[MUSIC]
You can jump in.
[MUSIC]
I use one open string there, but
that's okay, it led right to the C.
[MUSIC]
Gives it some space.
There's D, and you look at when you get to
the rhythm.
Think of that as an opportunity to stop
and kind of take a breath.
Get back in.
[MUSIC]
And a little, little quicker that time.
[MUSIC]
I like the open string transition to the
C.
[MUSIC]
You know and again,
a lot of these lines are sort of, they're
not really what you would call, you know.
A really, serious kind of musical idea.
You may, you may happen upon something
great.
You may write a whole tune from something
that you come across with,
with a little exercise like this.
But these, again, we're breaking things
down to, I think,
what are core elements of, of not just
solo.
Soloing, but sort of strong bluegrass
soloing.
Which, which is pretty punchy, pretty
meaningful stuff.
You know, and, and it's, it's all about,
you know an interpretation
of a feel versus anything more than, you
know, lotta jazz guys would interpret,
chord changes but they're also listening,
being musicians.
And we wanna do the apply some of those
things, same things here eventually.
And this, this is a way to sort of start
building and, and mainly sort of thinking
from a, from a tone aspect and a sense of
sense of strength of notes.
Sense of, of how ideas lead to other ideas
and
and, and how it stays strong from a tonal
and, and technique approach.
So there's a lot of ideas, a lot of
exercises, a lot of things to work on.
And I think for an advanced player it's
good, good things to work on.
If you've been improvising for a while
these are things that you're breaking,
bre, what I'm doing is breaking down to
sort of core elements.
A lot of times in bluegrass improvisation
and amateur players I see a lot of just
technique go away, you know, you start
really thinking about.
You know, the notes that you're playing.
Or you're, you're worried that things are
too fast.
And what I'm, what I'm suggesting is,
let's slow down.
Let's remove some of the things that are
challenging.
And, the core elements of being a solid
bluegrass soloist.
Which I would imagine, anybody that's an
advanced flat picker.
Bluegrass player always works on, I always
do, are realizing cleaner, better lines.
And when you're playing acoustic music,
acoustic guitar in a bluegrass band the
ideas are only,
a lot of times only as strong as, as your
technique is to deliver them [COUGH].
And so my, one of my passions for this
kinda teaching and
this kinda website is to help people
realize better music, you know, through,
through better technique and tension
awareness and, and
all the stuff that we've talked about up
to this point.
Are all these the things about tension
awareness and the solid
technique approach and the picking and
the, and the, all the fret access.
All this stuff's gonna start applying now
into making deeper music and, and
making stronger musical statements.
So I wanna see some videos.
I want you guys to submit a video, based
on one of these exercises.
Depending on where you are and how you
wanna do it.
We talked about three chords, G, C and D.
With, strums and scales back and forth.
At a particular metronome setting.
What I'm gonna be looking for are, you
know, I'm not gonna be looking to you
know, to hammer you on, that's a bad
musical idea [COUGH].
What I'm looking for is how you connect,
how you, how you get to downbeat,
so if you're playing sound smooth
basically.
The strums, the bars of strumming should
be smooth,
the bars of single notes stuff should be
smooth.
And if they're not, then I can give you
some feedback on, on things to work on.
Maybe I'll see, well, if you worked on
this scale a little bit longer.
Looks like, when you go to the close
shape,
it looks like you're not as familiar as
you are with the open-shaped stuff.
And so a lot of that stuff I'll be able
to, I'll be able to see.
And I'll be able to give you feedback and,
and the,
now we're at the point where we can all
start kinda learning.
With some of these deeper musical concepts
apply a, around a lot of different people
and a lot of different approaches to this
kind of music.
And so it's really gonna get exciting
here.
[MUSIC]