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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: Picking Pattern - Exercise 1

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Bluegrass Guitar

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gonna put the picking pattern to use now
with a, with a few exercises.
This is picking pattern exercise 1, and
the goal for
these exercises are to build fundamental
muscle memory, awareness of groove and,
the kind of thing where it's, this kind of
pattern is something you want to learn and
be aware of.
But the more we can trust it the less we
can think about it,
the less you have to think about it later
down the road.
It becomes, an integral part of your, of
your playing and, and
it's subconscious, it's automatic.
And so that's, these exercises will help,
bring awareness but also help just build a
trust for
these things so later on down the road it,
it, it is just part of our playing.
And that, that's what we really want.
And that's when you know you've gotten to
this point,
being able to trust it the last thing I
want to think about in the middle of,
of, of a solo is, is what, you know, what
needs to be a downstroke or upstroke.
This is just like walking here or like
when banjo players learn a roll or
drummers learn the basic paradiddles of
And so this is a good chance to build new
habits for experienced players to
kind of relearn some things or to address
some potential issues in your playing.
And so we'll jump straight in here with a
pick pattern exercise 1.
You'll notice that it starts with
everything we talked about before,
the basic pick pattern.
I've not written these in here.
I'd like you to, basically you can print
these out and write it in if you need to
but notice that the downbeats of every
measure are going to be downstrokes and
the, and the numbered notes, or the
numbered notes that follow so the first
measure one and two and three and four and
there's eight eighth notes there.
So that will follow as down up down up
down up down up.
So notice that the first two bars are
of this exercise are this basic pick
pattern at its most fundamental level.
And so I'm gonna play this whole exercise
then get into a little bit more what's
going on here because, again we wanna
start thinking about ways that the pattern
is used because you, you notice that.
Everything that you play is not going to
be just a consistent pattern of
eighth notes.
There's, there's spaces and breaths in the
phrasing that we want to be aware of but
yet the pattern will not break.
So I want to play this whole exercise at
80 beats a minute.
[SOUND] One, two, three, go.
Okay, what's going on there,
notice the first two measures are the
consistent eighth note pattern.
At measure three we break that pattern
with a downstroke on beat one.
And then the next note that's played is
beat two, so
you have two downstrokes in a row.
A tendency for, for some, players is to
think, well, okay, we,
the pattern is just up, down, up, down,
up, down.
But we're thinking more about the inner
If you're trying, trying to build inner
dynamics and, and
an inner sense of, of groove, and what to
trust as players.
And downbeats are always gonna be stronger
than, like we mentioned,
sort of the subdominant upbeats.
And when you think about pocket, you think
about du daka daka when, when
these notes have have a bit of a groove,
have a bit of a, of an interdynamic
to themselves that means it's not just a
flat ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta.
They sort of rise and fall and
they sort of have a rhythmic feel to the
whole thing.
And so as we break the pattern, we don't
want to lose that so that's you know,
the importance of, of numbered notes being
the down beats, being the downstrokes.
That's, that's the trust that we're
building so in measure three and
four it's down [SOUND] down [SOUND] up
down up down up.
you can even practice it where those down
strokes are in fact a little heavier.
Which you know working from our forearm
we're just allowing to that kinda be
a little, little more stronger as, as
opposed to the other notes so
that becomes you know the most important
note of that measure is the
and so moving down into the,
into the second line there.
In measure five it continues to sort of
that basic idea of leaving the continuous
stream of eighth notes.
Now we're looking at downbeats on beat one
and three and
then and the next pair of measures
downbeats on one and four and
so what's going on the whole time even
though we're not playing.
Each one of those eighth notes I'm
allowing for it with my sense
of what the groove is, and so when there
is a downstroke there's an upstroke,
just like when a singer sings and times
their breath.
You can think about that, like, in measure
Down, down, up.
and there's that upstroke that sets up
that downstroke and
when that's all in time, even though we're
not playing it, my,
my arm, and the machine that is my picking
arm never leaves that groove.
And so that's what important about what we
can establish with these patterns here and
these exercises.
Is that down, down, up, down.
And then, the last two measures basically
a reverse of measure five and six.
Down up, down,
And, you can hear giving a little bit of
emphasis to the down stroke.
And, that's again, that's this awareness
of, of how to make.
A a certain sort of a rhythmic consistency
to your playing.
So it's not all one dynamic there's, it
sort of comes and goes and there's, and
there's louder notes and softer notes.
But they all fall within this sense of, of
what the groove and the pocket can be.
And as as.
People that are new to this sort of style
it's important to be aware that
if you're more experienced with this style
it's actually more,
more important to be aware of this kind of
a thing because it can,
can immediately sort of add, add a sense
of maturity to your playing.
It takes what is a sort of a one dynamic
and adds sort of a three dimensional sense
to your playing and, and.
And where you're in much more in control,
and what you're allowing to be in control
is, is your, your sense of groove and your
sense of trust based on this pattern.
And so, again, we want to build to a place
where we don't have to think about it.
So we're gonna move onto a couple more
that will continue to challenge the
pattern, but I'll show you how.
Even though we do that, we're not going to
break the pattern, and
we're creating a sense of trust for our,
for our picking hand.