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Fiddle Lessons: Basics of Improvising - Long Soloing

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All right.
Well, how about those long solos.
Not a lot of call in bluegrass necessarily
for long solos, but
every so often you get something, you
know, some of those Peter Owen tunes,
they're very good for long solos.
Some of the folks that really, you know,
put that into practice very much were of
course Sam Bush and, and
those guys they did a lot of long soloing.
Sam had a great quote about that.
You know, he he said, well if you're gonna
play a long solo,
you'd better be organized.
You know, you better know what you're
gonna do and be able to you know,
keep your idea, you know, throughout the
long solo.
And, and Sam was great at that and still
is, actually, and
still plays the occasional long solo.
You want to definitely try to kinda be
a little bit organized about what you're
gonna do.
And that probably, you know,
one of the great things about this
instrument is that we can play long notes.
So we can start a long solo with long
That's always great, that's always it
always works.
You know?
So if we,
if we have something like oh there's you
know, so many.
Usually a long solo is gonna be on just a
couple of chords in bluegrass.
It's, usually we could say how about E
minor to C or something like that.
That's kind of a nice progression.
Going like four bars of-
I guess that's two bars, but that, that's
the same, same deal.
that kind of tonality, where we're really
going back and forth between a E minor.
And the C.
The major seven kinda thing.
That, you'll hear that sometimes.
So, what happens?
You know, we're playing these long notes.
I've already established sort of an idea
You know,
you were kinda hearing that, right?
You know, that's something that just
So I'm gonna try to stay with that for a
All right,
so I'm kinda trying to stay with that
idea, even if I go up.
Even though I'm using more bows,
more notes, I'm still trying to stay with,
you know, whatever that first idea was.
Now, you notice that whole phrase lasted
about 16 bars.
And a lot of times, it really helps to
think of, you know,
if you're playing a long solo, is just
think in groups of large number of like,
four bars, groups of four bars, groups of
eight bars, groups of 16 bars.
And just try to, whatever idea you're
playing, and
try to complete that idea in that number
of bars.
And that will help everybody because that
gives everybody a chance to
also build up the rhythm along with you.
And we'll have some examples of that in a
little bit.
And then what happens is that cycle is
and then the next cycle can begin.
And even though, you know, you're still
taking your solo you can have, you know,
these, these various cycles.
And so, it's like a breathing cycle and
you have this long breathing cycle that
you know, is just not all.
After a while.
This is like, okay already!
You know?
So, that's what we wanna avoid.
We wanna avoid, and also we wanna avoid
that sameness.
We want it like up, and then down.
We want up and down and then hopefully, at
the end,
we wanna end with a, with a big bang.
Do something like that,
or maybe we wanna just bring it down at
the end.
You know, we could like have our peak.
Which is nice, because then we ease back
into whatever the, the music is.
So there's a lot of ways to structure
this, but if we try, if we think of it as,
as a real, you know, if we get some kind
of general plan that looks like this and
then comes down and then maybe goes up
We have, okay I'm gonna go, go for two
peaks, you know?
Two groups of eight bars or something like
And then I'm gonna let down, where I'm
gonna do you know,
two peaks and then end it at this top
It's best to have a little plan in mind.
So what's gonna happen in order to make it
feel like, you know,
the ac, the solo actually [LAUGH] belongs
there, and
that something actually happened and that
has been said.
So, that's for me that's, that's always
the most important thing is just try to
make it feel like something happened.
And then we move on into the rest of the