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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: “Big Sciota” (Basic)

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Gotta version for
the basic curriculum here of Big Sciota,
good modern classic flat picking tune.
I'll play it here at 75 beats a minute,
and then we'll talk about it.
[SOUND] One, two, three, go.
All right.
Again, a good modern classic flat picking
You see this a lot in jam sessions.
Lotta great recordings, modern recordings
of this song.
This is sort of a stripped down basic
version of the melody.
So we're gonna, but it does a good thing
of sort of challenging some of the earlier
ideas of, of the pick pattern.
And a, and a good solid you know basis for
this tune upon which to build for, for
some later challenge.
So it kind of just starts with a good
stream of eighth notes.
That's your first phrase.
So, a thing to think about the, the
downbeat of A,
which is actually bar two of the tab here,
the first bar of the melody.
Is a downbeat and
then beat two is also a downbeat.
Keeping with that eighth note pattern.
We don't play the and of one.
And so we just, you know, we sort of feel
that up, that upbeat.
But it basically exists just in our,
in our feel of rhythm to set up the to set
up a strong beat two.
Cuz it really establishes the pocket for
all those eighth notes that come on the
second bar of the melody.
And then again.
We have three quarter-notes in a row right
there, so those are all downstrokes.
Beat four is a is a hammer-on.
Just like the pick up notes into A, so
we so we hammer on the and of four,
keeping it in rhythm.
Duck a duh.
One, two, three, four, and one.
here, here's a good spot of the way that,
what the melody dictates is that stop the
phrase on that, on that upbeat,
which is, which is is, is an upstroke with
a pick.
So we play the and of one, but
we don't play the downbeat.
Of, we don't play beat two we just allow
for that.
And what that,
that whole phrase kinda sets up a good
strong down stroke with a pick,
a good solid rest stroke on that open G
str, open G string on beat three.
And again as, as you, as you practice
a tune like this you just you can, this,
this just sort of puts that pick pattern,
some of those exercises, into a specific
melodic use which is really good.
And so the repeat.
So the same basic rhythmic phrase in the
second ending but instead of hammering on
from the open second we're going to hammer
on, on the open open fourth string.
We're going to hammer on to the open
second string the B.
We're going to use our index finger here.
We're going to make a shift into a.
Into the what's, a,
a higher position, sort of third position.
It's just, it moves us into this closed
And for students that are concentrating
solely on the basic curriculum it kind of
leaks here a little bit into some of the
intermediate thought of closed position
scales, closed position chords working you
know, learning about the fingerboard,
the past just using the open strings.
But again the melody of Big Sciota
dictates that we, that we do this,
so I think it's a good, a good spot to
kinda start thinking about what.
How to play a melody like this you know,
using notes that aren't necessarily out of
the open G major scale position,
or these pentatonic scale positions with
open strings like this A, A part is.
So, so what we'll do is we'll,
we'll establish this position with this
hammer on here, and
then the downbeat of B is downstroke on
the on beat one.
A third fret of the first string.
So we've got this, this position here.
So, reading a tab.
So, that's, that's a.
For someone that's that's new to playing
outside of open strings,
it may feel a little weird on your left
On your fretting hand.
But that's the basic phrase,
that would be something to isolate and
practice right there.
One, two, three, go.
notice the rhythm of the second bar of the
B section uses that and
we're playing, playing the and of one on
an upstroke.
That's, that's a common phraseology in,
in flatpicking, dunk-uh-dun-dun, that,
that happens a lot.
And so the way we keep within the pattern
is the, are using those two up,
upstrokes in a row.
You'll notice,
even though I'm not playing the beat two.
I'm not playing.
[SOUND] I'm allowing for it, and, and
you can actually see my hand sort of allow
for it.
And that's all built in my trust of those,
of that picking pattern in those exercises
that we worked on and
I'm really just trying to not think so
much about what the pick's doing and
really trying to sort of lay back and
And, and trust the pocket and trust the
groove as it is there.
now we've got to move here and, and bar 13
of the tab.
So it stays in that position use, again
using our four fret, four finger concept.
we're gonna shift back to open position
here, we get an open E.
So that's another move to isolate.
now our, now our hand is back to this
open, open position.
And that, that sets us up for the last and
you know, the last phrase of this B part.
So this is a slide here
from the from the third fret of the second
string to the to the fifth fret.
And the way to keep that in time,
just like we talk about hammer-ons and
pull-offs are, are tools, you know,
to make our playing a little more legato
and smooth.
But yet you've gotta play these things in
time to really get the maximum effect of,
of what, what they can do for your
And, and the same thing here with a slide
you know if you just
strip away what's going on there and just
look at the timing.
One, two, and three.
And so that's what you're sli-,
that's what your slide should do.
One, two, and three.
Those are all down strokes with the pick.
If you were to play that it would be.
But notice how the slide kinda helps keep
that momentum going with, with less pick,
less pick strokes.
So, you know, sort of opens the door to
real efficient picking using,
using these tools here.
And so we got our final descending phrase.
So now we're back into the repeat of B.
So what,
what you want to do is move your hand.
Not wait till that third fret G there.
You know, when you hit that
open string on, on the down beat of that
bar, that's when you make the shift.
That's, that keeps it smooth and
gets your hand in the right position as
soon as possible.
And that, that's again, we talk about
efficiency but the pick,
this is efficiency with the fretting hand
as well.
So there's a good solid basic version of
Big Sciota, so so good luck learning that,
and I look forward to some some video
wanna cover the basic chord changes here
of Big Sciota, for students here that are,
that are new to bluegrass, new to flat
picking just to, just to, you know, double
check that as you read along with the tab
here, you see the chord chords changing.
So I'll just, I'll just play, I'll play
the rhythm part of Big Sciota, and
then we'll talk a little bit about it.
So I'll count it in, one, two, three, go.
And repeat.
B section.
There's a repeat.
Okay, so a couple things going on here to
be aware of.
Played it there at a fairly slow tempo,
but there still is kind of a quick change.
You know, immediately as you, as you jump
into the downbeat here, you play a,
a boom chuck on a G.
And then a quickly to a D chord.
Then back to G.
The melody.
Is you play the rhythm,
rhythm to that like a-
So it's, it's important that you you,
you really spend some time thinking about
those down,
the boom chucks being consistent.
And again, as you move your fingers from
chord to chord, you really want them to be
there before the downbeat.
So you sort of, your, your fretting hand
is in time just as your pick in,
pick is in time.
And again, it sort of start thinking about
how to,
how to feel what you play and, and play
what you feel.
You know, allow those things to, to
Kinda move to the G, so
it's there by the downbeat.
And so, just as you practice that, you
know, we practice with a metronome, and
maybe just that move.
And try to avoid,
there's a, a tendency sometimes to, to
wait till the very,
very last second to try to snap back to
that G chord.
But that kinda, it doesn't make the, those
transitions as,
as smooth as they should be.
So so be aware of that.
Nice smooth, almost legato hands there.
Real efficient movements there.
A couple of other things.
When it changed to the C chord there in
bar seven.
The second time through on the repeat I
did a walking baseline into the C just up
the scale.
The same idea,
we want those fingers to be right in time.
The, our fretting fingers.
A couple
of other little things in the B section we
have an E-minor chord.
It's kinda unique to that.
It makes the, it makes the B section kinda
stand out.
It has its own little characteristic and
personality there.
But I, I, mainly the main thing to think
about in Big Sciota, like with
all you know, good fiddle tunes is just
as, as a rhythm player you think about a,
a good solid boom chuck bass kinda rhythm
where those, where those bass,
bass notes whether they're the.
Just a, a solid.
One boom-chuck after the other in the same
chord or they're walking bass.
All those moves, you know, as, as you
practice these single note lines think
about that same concept with your rhythm
as well, where all those notes are in time
and the, and the space between the notes
is real consistent.
And it's, and it, what happens is that you
create this pocket that's
that's sort of very, very felt and feels
sort of sort of automatic.
And the more you do it, the, the better
that'll feel.
So so good luck with that.