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Bass runs in bluegrass

GUEST,Townes 05 Mar 03 - 08:09 PM
Mark Clark 05 Mar 03 - 08:24 PM
Rick Fielding 05 Mar 03 - 08:30 PM
Richie 05 Mar 03 - 11:54 PM
Richie 06 Mar 03 - 12:42 AM
Bullfrog Jones 06 Mar 03 - 04:56 AM
Big Mick 06 Mar 03 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Gern 06 Mar 03 - 10:26 AM
Willie-O 06 Mar 03 - 10:55 AM
Rapparee 06 Mar 03 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Peter T. 06 Mar 03 - 11:27 AM
Songster Bob 06 Mar 03 - 12:08 PM
Frankham 06 Mar 03 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Townes 06 Mar 03 - 11:15 PM
Fortunato 07 Mar 03 - 01:28 PM
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Subject: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: GUEST,Townes
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 08:09 PM

G'day catters,
After playing Irish trad for a long time I have been listening with growing interest to many bluegrass artists and in particular to the guitar accompaniment. Many seem to run up and down in a bass pattern throughout the song or tune. Can anyone give me some info on these runs and how they are structured.
Regards
Townes


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 08:24 PM

Townes, Take a look at an old thread called Bluegrass G Run for starters. There is a lot of bluegrass guitar information in various threads. Go to the Mudcat FAQ at the top of the thread list and you'll find quite a few of them.

If you don't see what you need, add more questions to this thread. I'm sure there'll be a lot of us willing to help.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 08:30 PM

Pick up a couple of albums featuring Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen. Usually they recorded Charlie high enough for you to hear his guitar work. He is/was a master. You'll learn a ton.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Richie
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 11:54 PM

Many bluegrass runs are based on the Pentatonic major scale.

In the key of G: G A B D E ending on G again.

The blues notes that can be added to the scale are the flat 3rd Bb and the flat 7th F natural(sometimes the flat 5th but not usually).

The famous G run is G (6), A Bb B (5), D E D (4), G (3).

After you get the hang of the G pentatonic major with blues notes, you can venture into passing notes and chromatic scales.

I've started playing more chromatic scales this year and they really gives you some nice bass runs and fills also.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Richie
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 12:42 AM

The traditional bass run connects the root (chord name) of each chord.

From G chord to C chord:

1) Play the bass note G (1st beat)
2) Strum G chord (2nd beat)
3) Start bass run by playin A note (third beat)
4) Play second note of the bass run, the B note (4th beat)

5) You next play play a C note (1st beat next meas.)
6) Strum C chord


This can be done with every chord change but I wouldn't recommend it.
I use longer bass runs (two measures) and runs as fills.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 04:56 AM

Have a listen to Maybelle Carter's guitar work with the Carter Family. She played whole solos on the bass strings.

BJ


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 07:30 AM

I would recommend that you pick up one of the tapes from HOMESPUN TAPES. They do a nice job, and you can move at your own pace.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 10:26 AM

For really imaginative runs, check out these two. Riley Puckett, on the vintage Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, was constantly knitting together the chord changes, and he too was recorded clear enough to follow. Clarence White's work with the Kentucky Colonels was also adventurous in backups, as well as in leads. Sometimes the ends are pretty ragged, but his ideas are always worthwhile.


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Willie-O
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 10:55 AM

Try these in D:

For a transition from D to Bm in 4/4:

Alternate open D/strum/open A/strum/open D/strum then
Open E/hammer onto F# (use your thumb if you can)/open A/B/strum Bm
The E & F# are 16th notes; the A is an 8th note

-If the song opens with a Bm, you can use this for an intro, starting at the open E


For a change from A7 to D (all 16th notes):
open A /B/C/C#/D chord.

For a flashy ending to a solo, You can start that on the low E string, again all 16ths:

E/F#/G/G#/open A/B/C/C#/D (double the note at the end by playing the D on 5th fret of the A string, and the open D string, on the same pickstroke.)

Have fun.
W-O


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 11:10 AM

Shucks, I thought this was about fishin' in Kentucky....


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 11:27 AM

Glad to see an intelligent thread on this subject. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Songster Bob
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 12:08 PM

The typical bass run (simplest style) is the first four notes of the given scale (for the I-IV change) or the last four, descending (for the I-V7 change), room permitting (i.e., you can't go down to the D note for the G-D7 change, since the lowest normal note on the guitar is an E). Master these changes and then start experimenting, rememering that going outside the notes of the scale for that particular key can be tricky (those "blue notes" mentioned above can work, but the sharp 5 note is not often encountered, for example).

And listen to lots of people playing rhythm in bluegrass settings.

Some bass runs:

G-A-B-C for I-IV in G, and C-B-A-G to go back.
G(3)-F#-E-D for I-V7 in G (that 3 means the 3d string G note)

An alternative run for G-D7:
G-F#-G-A (ending on the A note rather than the D note for that D7 chord)

In C, that C-B-A-G works for I-V, and C-D-E-F works for I-IV.

Timing of runs is important, too. All the ones above work as written in 3/4 time, but you'd need a chord-brush after the first note in 2/4 or 4/4 time. And all of them end with a chord brush, unless you're doing back-to-back runs.

And listening to your results is the best way to make sure they sound like what you hear on the records or radio or whatever aural source you're using.

Good luck.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Frankham
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 12:17 PM

Townes,
The principle behind bass runs is this. There are basically two kinds. Diatonic and chromatic. Diatonic are major scale tones...usually two.
(Sometime applicable to minor keys.) There are chromatic notes, usually half step notes ....basically four. There have been some illustrations listed above in the thread responses. (Jerry Silverman offers some good examples in his Beginning and Intermediate Folk Guitar series...Oak Publications).

The important thing to remember is that the bass run most of the time goes to the root of the chord that you are "running" to. You wind up on that root note of the chord on the beat of the next bar.

I find that a good way to teach guitarists bass runs is to put them on an electric bass in an ensemble.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: GUEST,Townes
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 11:15 PM

Thanks for your collective advice catters. Much appreciated
Regards
Townes


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Subject: RE: Bass runs in bluegrass
From: Fortunato
Date: 07 Mar 03 - 01:28 PM

Few fiddlers, old time, or Bluegrass would tolerate Riley Puckett today, he simply plays too many notes in his bass runs for the 'modern' old time sensibilities. When I played with Doc Scantlin's Red Hot Peppers, ol' Doc would tolerate extended runs, since he appreciated the 'sound' of those bands. I believe that, well played (and opinions differ!)bass runs can enhance the old time sound with harmonies and percussive tones, and capture the wild old stringband sound. Most modern old time fiddlers I meet prefer bass runs to be played sparingly, translation one note per chord change, or better yet, leave the damn guitar in the case. cheers, chance


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