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Cello Lessons: Bluegrass Slides

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[MUSIC]
It's almost painful how
long it's taken me to
talk to you about slides.
I've actually have been restraining
myself as I keep demonstrating
the Tennessee Waltz for you so far.
Cuz I haven't thrown in
any slides really yet.
But the slides are what's gonna
make this tune come to life.
And this tune is gonna be
a perfect opportunity to sort of
explore some stylistic approaches
to sliding for bluegrass.
One important fundamental to keep
in mind is that when we're sliding,
I actually think of myself like
imitating fretted instruments,
mostly like the mandolin and the guitar.
And what I mean by this is we're
always gonna be sliding from a note,
and it's going to be in rhythm.
Often times when people who are new
to bluegrass, when they slide,
they just kind of randomly slide
from some indeterminate place.
And a good place to slide
is into the third, so
right at the beginning somebody
who is new to bluegrass
might sound like this
[MUSIC].
Might kind of exaggerate
[MUSIC].
And so all this to say like,
the slides are actually gonna sound
the best if they're a little
more controlled actually.
So I'm going to slide.
Instead of sliding all the way
[MUSIC]
from first finger,
all the way from A to B,
I'm only gonna slide from A-sharp to B.
[MUSIC]
And I'm actually
doing it in a fast rhythm
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC]
So from only a half step,
I'm sliding in rhythm from A-sharp.
[MUSIC]
From A-sharp you could do a slow slide,
but it would still wanna be in rhythm.
Let me show maybe a couple
different lengths of slide.
[MUSIC]
Fast.
[MUSIC]
Slow.
[MUSIC]
You can kind of
[MUSIC]
really nail the subdivisions.
[MUSIC]
And then, that second one,
I kind of took twice as long.
[MUSIC]
So that's something to keep in mind,
even as we keep going in the melody.
[MUSIC]
I'm not sliding from just open A
[MUSIC].
I'm just sliding from A-sharp.
[MUSIC]
And actually, yeah,
we're getting to a downward slide,
which is actually
also really important to
slide to a specific note.
[MUSIC]
Again, you don't wanna go just sliding
all the way back to
the A string necessarily.
[MUSIC]
I'm actually really only doing mostly
half-step slides so far in this tune.
See if you can play this slide
[MUSIC].
Just from B to A-sharp, and
then I'm pulling off for the A.
[MUSIC]
And I'm kind of
decrescendoing through it.
I'm not getting louder through this slide.
[MUSIC]
I'm not doing that.
Stylistically, it's more
like a falling feeling.
[MUSIC]
And so, it's like a vocal phrase,
I remember the night.
But it's gonna sound much crisper if we
slide to a note like a mandolin might.
[MUSIC]
Even right there,
I'm sliding down from
G [SOUND] to F-sharp.
[MUSIC]
I'm not sliding
[MUSIC]
that whole distance.
It's gonna sound a little
sloppy if we do that.
So let me just demonstrate
this bridge section, and
you'll hear all these slides put together.
[MUSIC]
I'll
keep going.
[MUSIC]
Since I'm
talking about it,
I'm kind of putting
in like maybe too
many slides.
Sliding is one of the best expressive
tools we have especially in
a slow tune like this.
But again, you don't wanna over do it and,
in fact, one great variation on the slide,
which can also help clear things up, is to
finger what would otherwise be a slide.
So instead of sliding [SOUND] up to
the third I can finger that same note.
[SOUND] And it's just a little crisper.
Let me demonstrate the difference.
[MUSIC]
That was a slide.
Now, I finger it.
[MUSIC]
It's got a little bit of a stronger feel.
I'll play them both again.
[MUSIC]
I didn't necessarily
like that chromatic.
[MUSIC]
That fingering but this one was okay.
[MUSIC]
It's like another note really.
[MUSIC]
And so, that impulse we have to slide,
you wanna follow that musical instinct.
But, you might occasionally
want to replace the slide with
a fingered ornament just to
clean things up a little bit.
[MUSIC]
And so on,
try these ideas when
you're sliding in
Tennessee Waltz,
and also any other
bluegrass tune
that we looked at.
[MUSIC]