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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: “Jerusalem Ridge” (Basic)

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a basic version of a great bluegrass
classic at Jerusalem Ridge here.
Play it through once and then we'll talk
about it.
One and two and, one two three, go.
All right, classic Bill Monroe standard.
Kenny Baker.
And Kenny Baker and Bill Monroe were sorta
co-authors on this.
Good solid four piece or four four part
tune for Bluegrass.
It's, it's you don't see that, that often
working out of A minor.
Just talk through what's basically
here at the basic version kind of a simple
statement of the melody for
the first couple of parts here.
One thing I've done here with the,
with the tab is provide a couple of spots
for some pull-offs so
we can work on making these melodies
legato keeping it with a certain amount of
of consistency
with the groove using these pull-offs to
kind of create a certain effect.
And here we're noticing there's a couple
of moments where
we descend through a pull off to an open
string as we, as we, you know,
descend from a higher string to a lower
You'll find that, you know,
one of the powerful things about a tune
like this or
these again we talked about strong down
And pull offs allow for that because we
don't have to play those up.
The upstrokes, if we were to play that
little move there at the at the end of
the third bar of the, of the tune.
We can make it sound like this.
It sort of has a, you know, this,
this is an old fiddle tune.
And so, legato use like that kind of sorta
triggers your idea of,
of a bow on a string kind of gliding and a
real sustained legato smooth playing.
And so we're setting up for that and
that is an idea that will repeat itself
here in this version.
Once again from the top real slow.
So we've got all those down strokes right
there from beat four.
One and two, three.
Maybe something good to
isolate right there.
Then the pickup again.
basically the first part and then it
From, from the first ending back to the
Well, I'll go straight to the second
Same thing.
Now we're gonna set up into the B part.
we got that same move again of, it's pull
two pull offs in a row with a pulling off
into a fretted note into an open string.
Same kind of move.
To really make that effective,
you really wanna trust your whole sort of
picking arm mechanic to.
You know that, that basic pick pattern
the rhythmic, sort of very natural,
inevitable sense of those, those beats.
You know, when, when that's lined,
and, and, aligned and, and felt.
Those moves like that are are that much
more smooth.
You kind of creates
an effect kind of an impressionistic kind
of way as opposed to just.
Making every note real you know played and
and, and, sort of redefining this, the,
the element of smooth to the playing is,
is real effective here.
It's kind of a mournful song, you know,
in a minor key.
So we're,
you know, allowing a technique to kind of
reflect that.
Moving on, to the back.
Moving on to the back
half of the B section.
here That is again.
Now that's, that's at the end of the B
section is a,
is three pulloffs in a row.
You'll notice that that works a lot out of
the basic, the C pentatonic.
Falls real naturally to the fingers.
A minor is a relative minor of the key of
C, so it's how we can kind of,
use where our fingers are naturally,
positioned there, kind of A minor.
Those kind of, those notes relate.
it's a good three pull-off or a real
smooth move right there.
All down strokes with the pick all rest
It repeats the b section again.
So that moves us into this interesting.
Third section, the C section, what you'll
see on the tab here,
at the second ending of B.
here we go, And that ends on beat three.
Three, four.
And then we've got a little pickup bar.
It changes the time signature here.
And this is just, you know, when Kenny
Baker was writing this tune.
I'm not sure what he was thinking.
But it's a really cool thing.
It sort of re-establishes a downbeat by
adding just two extra beats,
on their own, to set up this downbeat
of,of at bar 21.
So the whole phrase, from B to C,.
Three, four.
It's a very mournful
sounding little bridge there.
to really get the most out of the tone
with a guitar.
All those, all those pick strikes here,
are, are down strokes, rest strokes.
Sounds like you know we can really
rely on the pick to pull a lot of that
warm mellow tone out of the guitar.
Makes a section like that this all the
more poignant.
Feels like a drum.
Okay, now we're gonna use these next
pick up notes to launch us into the,
into the fourth and
last section here,into the D section.
We have a bit of a release now
into a C chord.
We heard a lot of real mournful.
So now we go.
Working on the C.
A little bit of
challenge there with some eighth notes.
a challenging bar there.
That's between 32, is that what that it
Yes, 32,
And then, you isolate, isolate bar 31 and
And we got two pull offs in a row.
You kinda we're playing the downbeat of
the, of the open third string to a fretted
first fret of the second string.
So, a bit of a string change into those
pull offs
And gain you want all that to be
real smooth.
And a bit of break there, get some back to
some some, solid,
down beats with these with these quarter
So the, the D part is interesting here,
cuz you got a basic you now,
a good solid, melodic statement there
through the first eight bars.
And then usually with fiddle tunes, you
know, they would repeat that.
But here at Jerusalem Ridge.
Here's a bit of a tag statement here so
after we play
Bar 37.
two, three and so it kind of gets back to
that sort of mournful,
bluesy, minory sound in bluegrass kind of
D section.
So, great old song.
Jerusalem Ridges.
Really fun to play, on the guitar.
You don't see it, a lot, these days in jam
So it's a, I think it's good, it's one of
these, it's a,
good to sort of keep a lot of these tunes
There's so many good, bluegrass songs, and
good songs to play in a jam session, and
this is certainly one of them, so.
So good luck with, Jerusalem ridge.
We're gonna talk a little
bit about playing rhythm to Jerusalem
Ridge here in the basic curriculum.
Again we've got a song in a minor key.
It's sort of a mournful thing.
And so we want rhythm that kind of
reflects that.
In fact in, in the original recordings of
this song,
the rhythm guitar player would, would kick
the song of with this move right here.
sort of you know, lonesome, almost Native
American type, type feel.
And so when the melody kicks in.
You know, we're just sort of continuing
that kind of idea but, but
go more into a boom-chuck.
Kinda just hangs on the A minor
because we're kind of using that first A
part to kind of establish this, you know,
the melody is fairly notey right there, so
we just want a, a good solid bed.
And that's you know, again a lot of times
the the goal for
bluegrass rhythm is just to support the
melody of what's going on there.
We really don't wanna get in the way of
So just providing a real consistent.
So in, in the first ending and
second ending.
You got a quick change from E back
to A minor.
And, and in the same a similar idea the B,
the B section melodically sort of inverts
up a little bit, and
the chords sort of reflect that by there's
a, a quicker change to the E.
thing you might think about as you play
notice that that E chord, that the change
on the E falls on beat three of that bar.
That's a real strong statement,
the melody goes so.
You know,
that's the highest we've gotten in this
melody to this point.
So it's, it's, it's a strong statement and
so you can support that with your
rhythm by just allowing that chord to
kinda hang there that whole B section.
And on.
Back to more of a supportive role
right there.
But we can, we can make the most of that
We can really support that moment with a,
with a big solid strum right there.
certainly there's a boom chuck through it,
but notice how it makes a, a bigger deal.
That really, you know,
make the most of it.
So that leads us into the C section.
And again we've got this for
an extra couple of beats that Kenny Baker
decided to throw in here.
And so we just follow the melody.
To that A minor.
And so now we're into a section where you
got A minor, D minor.
A minor, E, back to A minor.
And in fact, and
we've talked a lot about walking bass here
in the basic curriculum.
Another thing that you find in the
original recordings of this song,
you gotta check it out that whole bar 21
that leads to bar 22, which is a D minor.
I can't remember who exactly would have
been playing rhythm guitar on the original
recording Bill Monroe's original
But the rhythm guitar player played a
chromatic walk.
Into that, into that D minor.
So it had this effect so from the end of
the B section.
All with rest strokes.
you see a lot of traditional bands playing
the song today.
You will hear that you'll still hear that.
It's kind of a, a way that you know,
what happened on the original recording
was just
an idea that's turned into a major part of
the song from a rhythm guitar perspective.
And so it's, it's neat to find those
things here in bluegrass, and, and
remember that and to you know, keep it
And so now that gets us into the D
So once again we're, we're in a,
we're leaving a mode of, of you know, sad
and mournful.
section kind of brightens up and moves to
the C chord.
You kind of
reflect that by using a little bit fuller
Playing a slight bit more forceful with
a little more strength.
Maybe walking into C.
Making a lot out of that.
A walk will tend to draw attention to
a certain chord change not only
rhythmically but also you know, as the,
as the melody kinda as, exists above it
when those down beats kinda meet together.
You've got-
You got a bit of a space
there in the melody so the rhythm guitar
So it kinda creates a nice moment for
the melody and, and the rhythm to kinda
work together.
Now we've got this
if you watch the the video where I taught
the melody, as its tabs here,
notice there the D section has this sort
of tag tag addition kind of a thing.
Usually in a lot of these fiddle tunes,
you'll just see it like
earlier in this tune, you'll just see a
repeat of those eight bars.
But here, we have a separate tag section
that's sort of unto itself.
It kinda finishes the, the thought of what
Jerusalem Ridge is here.
It brings us back to that sort of mournful
thing from the,
from the brightness of the D section.
a way to think about that, to kinda get
back to that original mood.
Add some space, instead of just keeping
the boom chuck going.
You know, you can honor that moment and
what it does with the melody.
You notice, you look at the tab and you
see lots of eighth notes, and you know
that means it kinda has got this momentum,
and it's kinda chugging right along and
then suddenly you see you know, four notes
in a bar.
You know that and
then a lot of space around that lower A.
And so we can,
we can reflect that with a rhythm by kinda
lightening up a little bit.
If we, if we played a little more strength
and a little brighter sound in the,
in the front of the D section, here in the
we kinda get back to our original mood.
that's, that's a way rhythmically to kind
of interpret Jerusalem Ridge that again,
it sort of reflects some of the original
intent of you know,
Bill Monroe's original recording.
And, you know, the ideas behind it and
sorta how to interpret, you know,
this is a real powerful medal melody.
You know, it conjures up a lot of, you
know, imagery.
And so it's, it's, it's great as rhythm
guitar players to do to,
to recognize that and do what we can do to
help support that.
so good luck and have fun playing
rythym to jeruselum ridge.