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Mandolin Lessons: Soloing on Sittin' On Top of the World (using Old Joe Clark "tags")

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>> Okay.
We're going to talk about improvising
again here.
And we just learned a whole bunch of
really great tunes.
Old Joe Clark and Salt Creek and Liberty,
Golden Slippers, all these tunes.
And as I said earlier,
these, these tunes are the kind of the
essence of the Bluegrass language.
These are the little, little phrases,
little sentences or the, or the DNA that,
that we used when were improvising on a
say, you're on a vocal tune.
And so what I'm gonna try to do now is, is
draw that,
the make a linkage there between an
instrumental tune and a vocal tune.
And we're gonna look at Sitting on Top of
the World, the great fabulous tune.
It was originally a very deep kind of
blues tune and then somewhere along
the line Bluegrass bands got a hold of it
and upped the tempo.
And now, it's a, it's kind of a classic to
be Bluegrass thing.
I'm throwing in a minor chord in this.
Throwing in an F-sharp minor.
You guys remember the F chord I showed
Five, three and one on the first string?
[SOUND] If you just bring that up a half
you've got yourself an F-sharp minor.
And that occurs in this tune.
Very cool tune in, in A.
And the neat thing about this melody is
[NOISE] is it plays off this
high E string.
And one of the first things I would
encourage you to do before just sowing
over a tune like this and
just blowing through it and playing all
your hot licks is.
Do try to learn that melody and, and do
try and vocalize the melody.
Try to play it in that bluesy way that a
singer would sing it.
In fact it's, I think it's very helpful to
sing it and play it at the same time.
Like a lot of fiddle players have done
over the years.
I love, I love hearing Tim O'Brien just
play and, and
sing with the fiddle in unison with
We have definitely an old timey tradition
of that.
And we can do it as mandolin players.
Some of those techniques I was showing you
of sliding in the notes.
Start with the open A string,
and E string.
Fourth fret.
Fifth fret.
And slide up to that E and
play that E together.
There's your bluesy note.
C natural.
And A.
Instead of sunny, it's sunny.
There's your bluesiness.
Up to the C-sharp.
try to get that inflection in that
But after you've done that, you kinda have
a skeleton of what the melody is.
You're gonna reference off of it.
You're gonna sometimes play the melody and
sometimes play other things.
What are, what are those other things?
I'm gonna try to throw in a little bit of
Old Joe Clark [LAUGH] over top of this.
Or not old Joe Clark but, riffs that came
out of Old Joe Clark.
Because of this high E.
You use that high E on
Old Joe Clark a lot.
I'm just gonna play a solo with the rhythm
guitar here at a medium tempo.
I think it's at 75, is that right?
And and just riff around, play a little
bit of the melody, then I'm gonna throw
some Old Joe Clark into it and then I'm
gonna come back to the melody.
And you can just get a sense of how I'm
thinking about this as an improvisation.
>> One, two, one.
>> Melody.
Still melody.
And I'm gonna throw in some stuff.
Still a reference.
Back to the melody.
I hope you got the gist there of what I'm
I'm going for this high E [NOISE] and
[NOISE] F-sharp and G.
[SOUND] Which is part of Old Joe Clark.
And I'm just using it as a little tag line
after referencing the melody.
Never really staying on Old Joe Clark, but
just thinking about it in terms of that,
that being a nice little lick section.
Little, little fragment that you can, that
you can reference off of.