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Bluegrass G run

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GUEST,grubby 26 Apr 00 - 07:03 AM
kendall 26 Apr 00 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,Gene 26 Apr 00 - 10:49 AM
Wesley S 26 Apr 00 - 11:33 AM
Midchuck 26 Apr 00 - 12:04 PM
Mark Clark 26 Apr 00 - 03:21 PM
Rick Fielding 26 Apr 00 - 03:41 PM
kendall 26 Apr 00 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 26 Apr 00 - 04:04 PM
Mark Clark 26 Apr 00 - 04:12 PM
kendall 26 Apr 00 - 04:27 PM
Mark Clark 26 Apr 00 - 04:29 PM
Rick Fielding 27 Apr 00 - 12:18 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 27 Apr 00 - 02:49 AM
Seamus Kennedy 27 Apr 00 - 03:09 AM
kendall 27 Apr 00 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Grubby 27 Apr 00 - 04:54 AM
Mark Clark 27 Apr 00 - 09:19 AM
billcheatam 27 Apr 00 - 09:35 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 27 Apr 00 - 09:48 AM
jofield 27 Apr 00 - 10:15 AM
Rick Fielding 27 Apr 00 - 10:56 AM
Mark Clark 27 Apr 00 - 02:00 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 27 Apr 00 - 02:50 PM
Seamus Kennedy 28 Apr 00 - 02:33 AM
GUEST,Pete peterson 28 Apr 00 - 09:15 AM
billcheatam 28 Apr 00 - 09:34 AM
Mark Clark 28 Apr 00 - 10:50 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 28 Apr 00 - 11:07 AM
Mark Clark 28 Apr 00 - 11:21 AM
Midchuck 28 Apr 00 - 02:08 PM
Mark Clark 28 Apr 00 - 07:12 PM
Rick Fielding 29 Apr 00 - 01:42 AM
Midchuck 29 Apr 00 - 07:55 AM
Rick Fielding 29 Apr 00 - 10:32 AM
Mark Clark 29 Apr 00 - 02:23 PM
Jon Freeman 29 Apr 00 - 04:28 PM
Mark Clark 29 Apr 00 - 05:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Apr 00 - 05:47 PM
Jon Freeman 29 Apr 00 - 06:09 PM
Rick Fielding 29 Apr 00 - 08:08 PM
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Subject: Bluegrass G run
From: GUEST,grubby
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 07:03 AM

After playing Irish trad for a few years now I have taken an interest in Bluegrass and Old timey music and I would like to ask the following questions

1)Will Mudcatters please explain to me the Bill Monroe G Run and how it works.

2)Do you know of any sites that have chords and lyrics for old time music. I have found numerous sites explaning the genre but none with the material.

3)Do you know of any sites that contain ABC files of bluegrass music.

Grubby


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: kendall
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 07:56 AM

I hope I can explain this so it makes sense.. the g run which bluegrass pickers use (many of them too often) goes something like this.. two rapid picks of the low e, covered,one pick of the 5th string open, then hammer on that string, then once open on the 4th, then hammer on same string, thenclose that same string, then open it and pull off, then pick the g string open. Or, you can pick the 4th string again instead of hammering on. Good luck, it takes much longer to tell it than to do it.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 10:49 AM

CHECK HERE:

MANY LINKS TO BLUEGRASS SITES/INFO

* ALso check this recent thread on Bluegrass Links *



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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Wesley S
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 11:33 AM

Grubby - You might want to check out one of my favorite CD's called "The Crossing" by Tim O'Brien. He's a bluegrass musician { mandolin, fiddle & bouzouki } that recorded a CD that explores the common ground between celtic and bluegrass. It includes Altan, members of Solas and others. Worth checking out.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Midchuck
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 12:04 PM

What Wesley S. said.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Mark Clark
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 03:21 PM

grubby,

The run you're asking about is universally known as the "Lester Flatt G run." I don't think he invented it, he just popularized it. It's quite possible that Bill taught it to him. Lester played rhythm guitar with a thumb pick so when he played the run, it didn't have any up strokes. It went like this: pick G on the E string, pick the open A string, hammer a Bb on the A string, hammer a B natural on the A string, pick the open D string, hammer an E on the D string, pull-off the D string to get another D, pick the open G string. The picking is angled down toward the guitar top so each time a string is plucked, the pick comes to rest on the next higher string.

I use a flat pick so I play the run with up and down strokes as well as the hammer-ons and pull-offs. Sometimes I pick every note and sometimes hammer and pull, it depends on the sound I'm trying to get; the hammers, properly executed, sound smoother but plucking each note can work better when flat picking fiddle tunes or coming out of certain lead passages.

If you're going to play bluegrass rhythm guitar there are a couple of tips I can share. One is to listen carefully to all the quality rhythm guitar you can find. You'll begin to see that they aren't just using the guitar as a drum. Also, you'll primarily be playing bass notes, not chords. It will look and feel like chords but you should really be playing notes. Also, when you do play the chord portion of a stroke, make the chord very light compared to the attack on the bass note. Finally, you must blend. If you notice the rhythm guitar in a bluegrass band, it's being played wrong or too loud. Of course you should definately notice its absence as well.

Listen to Bill Harrell's playing. Bill played for many years with Don Reno and then formed his own band. And remember those immortal words of the Father of Bluegrass Music: "There's no back beat in my music."

Good luck,

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 03:41 PM

God bless you Mark. Informative, accurate AND a mention for Bill Harrell, one of the great guitarists. I'da been here in a shot were it not for a migraine that's doin' me in today.

The Lester Flatt G run has a few antecendants, not the least of which is audible in the playing of Charlie Monroe. I urge you (if you're really serious about this music) to listen to some of the variations. Try Jimmy Martin, Red Smiley, and Charlie Waller, for a start.

You may not know the name Ed Mayfield, but he was on many of Monroe's recordings..check him out.

Also don't be afraid to learn the "thumb and index finger" approach. For fast tunes it can be extremely effective (and your hand never tires)

Rick


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: kendall
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 03:54 PM

Is there something wrong with what I posted? If so, someone should tell me


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 04:04 PM

Kendall-- my own preference would be for ONE G note not two fast notes before starting the rest of the run. Other than that looks good to me. Did you ever get your car fixed?

What Mark said about the run itself is identical to your information as near as I can see except he starts (as I do) with only ONE G note)

The legend is that Lester couldn't keep up with Bill's tempos, so he would put in one of these runs every so often as a substitute for thumb-brush and then keep going.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Mark Clark
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 04:12 PM

Thanks, Rick. And thanks for referring grubby to Charlie Monroe. I thought of mentioning him but concluded I was putting too much in my post as it was. Charlie's work with the Monroe Brothers is really the place to start to learn rhythm guitar. He didn't have quite the bluegrass feel that was developed later on but you can hear every note and his use of bass runs covers a lot of territory. I still use that shuffel he played on "Bringing In The Georgia Mail" quite a lot.

Good catch on the "thumb and index finger" approach too. I neglected to mention that Lester Flatt also used a long metal finger pick---not the short Nationals used by banjo and Dobro players---on his index finger to play chords. I'm not aware that Lester played any notes with his index finger, at least I never saw him do it, but I could be wrong on that point.

Hope you lose your headache quickly,

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: kendall
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 04:27 PM

yes pete, I sorta got it fixed, but, I will never buy another automatic overdrive. They are all troublesome, and Chrysler still refuses to admit that there is a problem with thier automatic overdrive transmissions. The 2000 models still have that junk transmission that self destructs at about 50 K.

My first Chrysler built car was a 1947 DeSoto, my last one is a 1992 Dynasty.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Mark Clark
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 04:29 PM

kendall,

I didn't mean to detract from your post, only add information to what you proviided. I've seen many people play the run as you describe. As I read (and reread) your post, your treatment on the A string seemed a little ambiguous. You mention that the A string is hammered but you don't mention how many notes are hammered or which ones they are. My guess is that you assumed grubby's ear would fill in the details and I'm sure you were right.

If we all played everything exactly the same way, music wouldn't be much fun to make or to hear.

Cheers,

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 12:18 AM

Hi Kendall. Didn't min to "dis" yer G run. I guess I just started drooling all over Mark for his "Bill Harrell" reference. (First time I've seen this excellent guitarist/singer mentioned on Mudcat). But that's ok, 'cause I've drooled over you a few times before. What I really wanna do is trade some tunes and jokes with you before we both croak...Get me a job up in your neck of the woods!

Luv

Rick


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 02:49 AM

Kendall, you did a fine job, and you to Mark--It is next to impossible to describe how to play things on the guitar in words, and you both did--at least I think you did--I knew what you were talking about, but I guess the proof in the pudding would be if grubby did--

I wish I had your quote to throw around in my one and only foray into performing bluegrass music--we were playing for cloggers, and the banjo player(who was not a real bluegrass banjo player) demanded that I play this real chunky backbeat part--it was impossible to play it as fast as the dancers needed--the reason that the banjo player wanted it in the first place was that he kept dropping the beat--

We had one real bluegrass fiddler, and he and the the banjo player were always in two different places--the worst thing was that the bass player would drop beats in order to follow the banjo, very bad, because the dancers always follow the bass--

Bluegrass music is really simple, at least until you try to play it--


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 03:09 AM

I did a gig with Bill Harrrell a couple of years ago in Annapolis, and he sings and plays as well as ever-with difficulty due to arthritis, but his kid, Mitch, is a cracker! BTW Don Reno IMO was the daddy of all bluegrass banjo players (and guitar players) and could do the "G" run inside-out, upside-down and back-to-front on the banjo and guitar. Kendall, good description- but slow reading off my monitor! All the best
Seamus


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: kendall
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 04:16 AM

Didn't mean to be "touchy"...it just looked like subsequent posters didnt read the info that was already there. Rick, I'd love to get together with you here, there, or whereever.. Do you have a set fee? is there a venue which you prefer? or will not do at all? send me details and I'll see what I can do.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: GUEST,Grubby
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 04:54 AM

Thanks for the info Catters understand completely now it's practice, practice etc.This to me is the true value of Mudcat people trading info for the love of music, cheers to you all Grubby

P.S. I am a member but it appears my cookie has expired


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Mark Clark
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 09:19 AM

M.Ted, I can surely sympathize over the rhythm problems you describe. Have the rhythm fall apart is a truly wretched experience. I saw that happen to the Earl Scruggs Review one time in Chicago. They were playing for a 4H convention and the venue was Auditorium Theater in the Roosevelt University building at Michigan and Congress. Now you must understand that this venue is accousticly perfect. A stage whisper can be heard throught the hall without amplification even with thousands of people present. Unfortunately, the 4H kids didn't come close to filling the hall which had the effect of creating a huge echo chamber. The hall is big enough that the echo coming back to the stage is significantly later than the original. The accoustic efficiency of the room meant that the band couldn't differentiate between their monitors and the echo; they were each making very personal decisions as to which beat to follow. We fealt real bad for them.

Seamus, I am *very* envious. I've had occasions to talk with Bill over the years but never perform with him. And you're quite right about Don Reno, he was a wonderful musician both on banjo and guitar. He probably excelled on other instruments as well, I just never heard him play them. I think the story is that Don Reno was hired by Bill Monroe and would have been the defining banjo player in the first bluegrass band but, before they could perform together, Uncle Sam plucked him out from under Bill's nose so Earl got the job.

By the way, Seamus, what band do you, or did you, play with then? Just curious.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: billcheatam
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 09:35 AM

I think the most important thing about playing any sort of run is making sure that you get back to the rhythm in time. When I listen to Riley Puckett, he seems to go completely off to outer space, yet he always gets back to that bass note to keep the tune driving. When I heard him for the first time I realized I had been hearing him for years through my favorite players, and his style for putting great runs into a tune is something I try and do with my own playing.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 09:48 AM

Here is a site for Arabic music(from UCLA), which is about as far as you can get from bluegrass, but it is very interesting because they have examples of scales and rhythmic licks, each with a little play bar, so that you can play the thing over and over, and play along with it if you want to learn it--

This is about the best thing I ever saw for learning a lick, cause you have it all there with nothing extraneous to sort out--

(warning--it takes a while to download)Click here


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: jofield
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 10:15 AM

A thread on playing bluegrass rhythm...now we're gettin' someplace! After many years of flailing a guitar in bluegrass bands, I have found that it is very important to "block" the instrumental backups as the old-timers always did: one instrument backs up the singing, and the others stick to the rhythm, all but guitar and bass chopping the off-beat. Too many times I see two instruments trying to noodle at once, and the rhythm loses its "pop". Bluegrass started out as dance music, and if it's played right, it still makes you want to get up and move.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 10:56 AM

Oh does it get my shorts in a knot when "more advanced" musicians think they can play Bluegrass 'cause it's simple! It's very rare to hear a guitarist play proper rhythm to a very uptempo bluegrass tune. Often it's just "strum strum strum". (frantically) A bluegrass jam here in Canada can be very frustrating. Lots of folks love the music, but too many times the skills are missing, and in my humble opinion, this music MUST be played right. I'd worry about having become an old fogy (or bluegrass Nazi) were it not for the fact that I felt the same way when I was 15.

When the tempo is VERY fast you may not have the time to play the off-beat, so DON'T PLAY IT! The "on-beat" MUST be played.

The "thumb-index" style, which can be learned by most folks in a couple of weeks, can make you the most desired rhythm guitarist in your county! Just listen to Old Charlie M. on the REAL fast tunes.

My, my, I DO get heated about stuff like this, don't I?

Rick


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Mark Clark
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 02:00 PM

Yes, Rick, but so do I. The only thing worse than a bluegrass jam with more than two guitars (actually more than one) is one where a whole bunch of well meaning but undertrained guitarists are playing heavy chords, on or off the beat. And *all* of the other instruments shouldn't usually be chopping chords, that job is for the mandolin. The banjo and the fiddle working should be working to supply interesting counter-melodic lines behind the singer.

This reminds me of another sore point: balance. Although bluegrass is limited to accoustic instruments, it is not truely accoustic music. By that I mean that, unlike a classical string quartet, a bluegrass band cannot produce a properly balanced sound without amplification. The pickups aren't built into the instruments, they are placed on poles in front of the players.

Originally, only one microphone was used, whether performing or recording. Musicians learned to balance (sculpt really) the sound by performing an intricate ballet around the microphone. The singer and any prominant instrument had to be brought near the microphone even if only for a measure or two as in the Lester Flatt G run. This made bluegrass bands great fun to watch as well as hear.

Today there is a separate microphone for each instrument and voice. The balance is left up to a technician running the sound board acting effectively as an additional band member. Professional bands have largely learned to deal with the situation but part-time or pickup bands often just stick their instruments into the nearest mike and wail.

To the newcommer, bluegrass music sounds like this really energetic, flat-out, everybody-jump-in, free-for-all. I think musicians new to bluegrass should spend a lot of time listening to the album Tony Rice and Ricky Scaggs made years ago of Monroe Brothers tunes. The sensitivity they bring to each note, vocal or instrumental, is just incredible. They should also spend time listing to the "Tone Poems" of Grisman and Rice. The "touch" that is evident in these recordings should prove very instructive for the bluegrass beginner and the advanced player as well.

Hope this wasn't too much like a rant.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 02:50 PM

Maybe you can learn a Bluegrass melody in ten minutes--maybe it only uses three or four different chord progressions--but you've got to have the melody exactly right, and you've got to be precisely where you're supposed to be--and that is more than an awful lot of people can manage--


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 02:33 AM

Mark, I play most Mondays in a restaurant in Annapolis, MD called Harry Browne's. Been doing it for about 10 years. Well a few years back they decided to try and add another night and another kind of music (I do Celtic/Folk/ Country/Comedy). They tried jazz piano with Stef Scaggiari (brilliant player!) but it didn't take. Then they tried bluegrass with Bill Harrell and his son Mitch. They gave it their best shot for a few weeks, but it didn't catch on, either. However, I went in all the nights they worked, and ended up jamming and picking with them, and listening to Bill tell hilarious stories of touring Japan with Lester Flatt, and playing with Don Reno, the Country Gentlemen, Mac Wiseman and other legends. To sit, sing and pick and listen to the stories of a true great is a privilege not afforded to many.
Seamus


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: GUEST,Pete peterson
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 09:15 AM

THREAD CREEP WARNING: Seamus on reading your note about a pub in Annapolis called Harry Browne's-- could he be related to the Harry C. Browne who recorded wonderful (but unsingably racist in many cases) acoustic music with classical banjo for Columbia in the early 1900s? I posted a query about him on Mudcat a while ago but got no responses.
Now back to your regularly scheduled thread. Bluegrass or old time rhythm guitar is as much of as art, if not more, than playing lead. I am one of those who does not care much for Riley P because it always seemed to me that he was off on his own not listening particularly to what Bert and Lowe and Mac were doing; if you are part of the band you need to listen to the other musicians! The tightness of Harvey, Poole and Rorer-- they were a real band! Later on, Monroe's best guitarists were not necessarily the best technically (Lester!) but DID keep time and did listen to others. Mark, I agree with you on the wonderful early days of bluegrass music with only ONE (or maybe two) microphones where choreography was as important as playing. I'm one of those who used to practice with friends with a broomstick before our gigs so we could work on all getting AROUND the mike on the trios, get OUT of the way of the banjo player as he came up for his break, Etc. Now that everybody has two mikes and it's up to the soundman, I sometimes feel that something has been lost.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: billcheatam
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 09:34 AM

I think that the rhythmic drive is better when the guitar player plays chords in the low register of the instrument. That seems to make the chords have a lot more resonance, which makes the tune sound a lot fuller. It also makes it easier to play with dynamics and really get the tune driving.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Mark Clark
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 10:50 AM

Bluegrass players know how difficult it is to keep the rhythm exactly right all the time. Even a small fraction of a second (like maybe a hundredth?) of error creates a strain that the musicians can feel. I'm guessing the audience will start to notice at around a fiftieth of a second error.

Bill Monroe used to walk around and stand right behind an offending musician and "bark" that F-5 right in the guy's ear until he got back in the groove. I've tried that with the guitar and it worked well but I don't like dropping the guitar out of the sound. Still, sometimes that's better than letting the rhythm sound raggedy.

Rhythm problems usually develop becaue a musician is distracted or becoming tired but they can develop for other reasons. I remember one time long ago our band was using a bass player who believed his rhythmic exactitude was enhanced by ingesting a certain hard brown substance known to be psychoactive. One night our designated front man (always a cutup) announced that we would play a beautiful old waltz number: "Faded Love." Well this bass player was too busy "grooving on the microbeat" to realize that "Faded Love" isn't a waltz and he started laying down three to the bar. The band couldn't play over it so we stopped about three bars into the tune, caught everyone's eye and started over. Same result. I walked back to where he was standing, looked him in eye and told him we were going to play it in 4/4 time just this once. Embarrassed as hell, we attempted to redeem ourselves but to no avail. He just wasn't going to miss the chance to play a waltz. We finally just apologized to the audience, picked a different tune and, the next day, advertised for a bass player. Odd, that story seems funnier now than it did then.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 11:07 AM

Seamus,

I wish I'd known, I would have been there, and with friends--it makes me ask serious questions about our country when we can't fill up a pub to hear great musicians!!


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Mark Clark
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 11:21 AM

Seamus, that must've been a great time. Like M.Ted, I wish I could have been there. Thanks also for the lead on Harry Browne's. I have a niece living in that area who might enjoy the club.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Midchuck
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 02:08 PM

Here is all you need to know about the bluegrass music business.

Peter.

*********************************************

MANDOLN HE say:

Dear Dr. Bangs, I am asking for your advice in how to handle a situation. I have never written to you, and I know that my friends read your column. Maybe they will see this. Here is my problem: I play in a Bluegrass band and our banjer picker (who is missing his 2 front teeth) wants to be our MC. He whistles like a pig when he talks. He wants to MC because our present MC is our bass player who is good, but quite obese, and is having an affair with the guitar players wife, and won't introduce him or acknowledge to the audience that he is even in the band. He has threatened to kill him onstage. The fiddle player is just out on parole and wears a false mustache with a hat pulled down over his eyes so he can't be recognised by law enforcement officials. He will step up to the mic to take his break, can't see the mic because of his hat and knocks the mic over. He does not want us to use his real name. I play mando and want to sing in tight trios but I have a medical problem with B.O. The band wants to kick me out because they think I am unfit to play in their band. I thot it was MY band. Here is my problem.....for some reason or another nobody takes us seriously. We get jobs that pay us in free beer. How do we take our band to the next level? What do I do about the misfits I have in our band? Please help me. Signed, Dazed, Confused and Bewildered.

Dear DC&B:

You need to do something to increase your youth appeal. Get the fiddle player to replace his pulled-down hat with a gorilla mask, so he can see the microphones through the eyeholes. Eat a cake of room deodorizer every day to combat that BO problem. Have everbody go on stage naked from the neck down. Troop down to one of those body-piercing places and get several large gaudy pieces of jewelry poked through your intimate body locations, with flags & tassels attached. Insert tasteful repetitions of the "F"-word into each verse of your bluegrass tunes (this is a sure-fire way to increase youth appeal). Strum your mandolin with a live chicken. Call up all of the promoters you can think of, and offer them a free case of Jack Daniel's if they'll come watch your stage show. When they show up, take them hostage until they book you a gig at the Ryman.

And please let me know how this works for you. I care.

Dr.Bangs


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Mark Clark
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 07:12 PM

Awww crap. Who let in the frat boys?


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 01:42 AM

Sheeit, I LOVE this thread. I have ONE and ONLY one regret about basing myself primarily in Canada over the last 30 years. NO good bluegrass band to play with. (oh, and scratch out a living)

Don't get me wrong, I love folk music in general, (and early jazz & blues etc.) and I'm bloody thankful that I make a living from it....but, oh what I would have given to be a Bluegrass Boy for even a month. Bill would have eventually fired me for being too "liberal", but I'd have kept my yap shut for a while.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Midchuck
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 07:55 AM

A couple of points, Rick:

1) You guys have Stan Rogers & Ian Tyson & Gordon Lightfoot & Garnet Rogers & Nancy White & free doctors & hospitals and good cross-country skiing nine months of the year. We have bluegrass and Tom Russell and Willie and Waylon and Emmylou and the right to have a pistol to shoot tin cans with if that's what we like to do and the ability to go outdoors without a parka for more than six weeks a year. No one can have it all.

2) Bluegrass is singularly subject to Sturgeon's Law. For every good bluegrass band you don't have, there's a hundred bad ones you don't have.

3) From what I've read and heard, Mr. Monroe fired everybody who disagreed with him, and sooner or later everybody disagreed with him about something. Did you want to be unique?

P.


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 10:32 AM

Hi P.

Yeah, and I forgot one important fact. Mr. Bill had his pickers work on his farm for FREE! Jeez, I became a musician so I could AVOID work!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Mark Clark
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 02:23 PM

Not only that, but they built the stage, out houses, and fences at Bill's Brown County Jamboree Park in Bean Blossom, Ind... drove the bus too.

Still, for all the people who complain about Bill, I've never heard former band members tear him down. Most of them probably figured they were lucky to get the chance.

When someone writes a book to say that Bill was a bastard of some kind and gets attributable quotes from a long list of former Blue Grass Boys, I'll pay more attention to his detractors. Until then, I'd recommend buying James Rooney's book       - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 04:28 PM

What is this thumb/ index finger approach? I learned something that was in the back of a book of American Folk songs years ago where you play bass notes and runs with the thums and scratch your index finger down and up to play the chords. Is that the sytle reffered to here?

I tend to use a flat pick now but I still use that method sometimes although I have never been able to get into bluegrass music. I can listen to it for about 20 minutes and then I start to get bored with it even though I have seen some incredibly skillful bluegrass players.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Mark Clark
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 05:15 PM

Well, if Rick and I are talking about the same thing, you play the bass notes with the thumb pick and lightly brush up on the top two or three strings with your index finger for the chord part. The chord should just be heard as fill between the more prominant bass notes. This allows one to back fast hard driving tunes without tiring the struming hand so quickly. I prefer the attack provided by the flat pick but it means after each bass note the pick must be lifted clear of the strings for the light down and up brush stroke of the chord.

The technique in "The Black Book" is called the Carter Family Scratch because it mimics the sound of the guitar and the autoharp played together. I used to use that quite a lot because I started out playing finger style and only learned to use a flat pick later on. I'm also fond of the Carter Family's music so a picking style that provided that Carter feel was just the thing for me.

Rick, is your thumb and finger technique different than mine?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 05:47 PM

And you've got French Canadians, and Newfoundland, and Cape Breton fiddlers...


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 06:09 PM

I just remembered when I learned it. We were on holiday and my parents and brothers went for a walk in the mountains and I stayed behind in the motor-caravan. By the time they got back, I had got something in C like play bass notes G,A,B to lead to the C bass, chord, then hammer on the D string to play an E bass with the C chord. Similar bass notes but to lead to F, couple of F chords, few bass notes to get to G....

At a guess, it must have taken me about 3 hours to learn how to do this and at a reasonable pace. Mindyou, I would have been about 15 then. I don't pick things up easily now and it took me years to find the next new thing.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Bluegrass G run
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 29 Apr 00 - 08:08 PM

Not in "bluegrass style" Mark. Spot on. Guess the main difference between Charlie Monroe style (and Flatt, Storey, Moody etc.) and Maybelle Carter "scratch" style is the 2nd brush.

Rick


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