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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: Rhythm with Crosspicking

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Bluegrass Guitar

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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]
In the basic and
intermediate levels here on the site, I've
tried to build from the ground up,
a sense of what bluegrass rhythm is about
and a sense of how to do certain things.
A sense of we talked about in the
intermediate level.
Of when you apply certain things and
enhancements and embellishments to rhythm.
And so here in the advanced level I wanna
move on now with a concept,
it's a very advanced kind of way to, play
rhythm and bluegrass with a flat pick.
And it's it's sort of a hybrid of rhythm
and cross picking.
That's a very intricate kind of thing.
It, it's a, it's used, you know, used in
the right way it's a very powerful tool,
especially when, in slower tunes.
To really connect a lot, a lot of notes, a
lot of,
lot of sense of the groove of the tune.
And I'll jump right in here with a basic
move.
Again just you know, a quick review from
where from our basic,
we have our basic boom chuck.
[MUSIC]
And
then later we added some extra strum
information.
[MUSIC]
Now the rhythm with,
with, rhythm with cross pick.
Remember in our cross picking study.
[MUSIC]
Now we're basically,
what we're doing we're sort of taking the
pick from a broader scope of.
[MUSIC]
Of this and now we're gonna get you know,
real end of the strings now.
At the back half of each bar the basic the
basic move is this.
[MUSIC]
So
basically what I'm doing is is a base note
and a strum.
And then a little bit of the crosspicking
pattern, which is down up,
down up, down up
[MUSIC]
Down up, down up.
And if, if you've watched anything that
I've stressed here on all these
lessons is that sense of the down up
pattern with eighth notes.
All three flatpicking whether it's single
note,
or lead, and making all those eighth notes
smooth.
So this is like three and four and one,
and three and four and one.
[MUSIC]
That's the basic move to enhance that now
we're we can do some things we mentioned
in, you know, some of the rhythm.
And we are cross picking,
general cross picking kinda ideas with the
rhythm of with hammer ons.
[MUSIC]
We had that
exercise, so with that same thing in mind,
here is another
version of that same rhythm now with cross
picking within the rhythm.
[MUSIC]
And the way to work on that is to think,
we talked about cross-picking.
The basic move is a three strings that are
together.
So with this one, with the open fourth,
open third, and
then a fretted D note right there.
And right there.
[MUSIC]
Is the move.
Cuz our our hammer on substitutes for one
of the eighth notes.
[MUSIC]
So
one way to sorta think about connecting
things.
If you, if you started with the first way.
[MUSIC]
That's how it,
how that, a really smooth way to get into
a C-chord right there from G.
[MUSIC]
And again, you, you really have to have
a solid sense of how those downbeats are
gonna fall because, you know, once you-
[MUSIC]
Commit to that crosspicking,
you, you've gotta be, you know, right a
solid downbeat on that C chord.
You gotta, gotta nail that.
[MUSIC]
You know, and
the overall effect is actually a smooth
kind of transition but it's it's,
it's quite taxing on your left hand.
And, and your pick at the same time to
kind of get everything nice and
smooth, so.
[MUSIC]
That,
that's isolating the move to a point where
you can practice.
[SOUND] So once you're into the C chord,
there's a couple of things you can do,
same kind of move.
[MUSIC]
Or.
[MUSIC]
Then it's to a D.
[MUSIC]
Notice I'm not,
you know what I wanna do, is not play the
same thing every time, I'm not trying to
just, as you learn it, you know really do
try to play the same thing every time.
What I'm, what I'm paying attention to.
As more of an advanced way to do this is,
is mainly the move.
I'm trying to think more of a, a bigger
concept.
And it's mainly it's a way to enhance the
bigger picture of the rhythm.
So, even though, even if I don't hit all
the strings.
If I, if I'm playing at a tempo where I
can't go.
[MUSIC]
You know, at least it's.
[MUSIC]
There you go.
[MUSIC]
And the, and the, and the,
the effect is, is even if you don't hit
every note, if your right hand is, is,
solid with its sense of timing,
[MUSIC]
And you're solid and
you're, you're relaxed.
[MUSIC]
It creates this great kinda dance within
that groove.
[MUSIC]
You know,
you'll, you'll hear that in lots of
different ways, in Bluegrass from,
you know, different levels of accuracy.
Tony rice has a way of doing it that's,
you know,
it's extremely effective in his versions
of tunes like Church Street Blues.
Norman Blake, has a great way of doing it.
Where he uses it more of at the end of
phrases.
[MUSIC]
You know, to,
to hammer these points home and again it's
it's an effective embellishment to,
to basic bluegrass rhythm and I thought it
was important here in the advanced section
to, to kick off of that kind of thing.
Just to, you know, we can't overemphasize
the importance of rhythm in bluegrass.
And certainly don't wanna do that here,
here on the website.
[MUSIC]