NEW LESSONS JUST ADDED TO THE STRING SCHOOL!
Each month, our instructors add new tunes, in-depth technique lessons, and play-along tracks to many of our courses. Check out this month’s additions below, and sign up for any new course with promo code “Play20” and get your first month free!
Home Brew Rag | “Home Brew Rag” was recorded by Georgia old-time fiddler Lowe Stokes in 1927. It’s full of ragtime-style syncopations and is in the keys of F and Bb, so it’s a good opportunity to work on playing in those keys in open position.
Russian Lullaby | “Russian Lullaby” was written by Irving Berlin in 1927 and has been recorded countless times, most notably for guitarists by Oscar Alemán in 1939 and Jerry Garcia in 1974. Matt’s version is inspired by Oscar Alemán’s recording.
Ear Training, Chord Changes | This ear training lesson will help you learn to hear chord changes, specifically how to know when to change to the IV and V chords in a major key and to the bVII in a minor key.
East Tennessee Blues | “East Tennessee Blues” is played everywhere, and there are lots of versions of it. Joe shows you the basic version he plays in bluegrass jams, as well as some of his favorite variations.
Two-Note Chord Comping | Chad shows you how to use double stops on the bottom two strings to accompany (“comp”) songs, using the chord progression for “All of Me.”
Arpeggios in the Key of G | Sharon shows you seventh chord arpeggios for the I, IV, and V chords in the key of G (G7, C7, and D7) and gives you ideas on practicing the arpeggios two strings at a time so they become part of your playing.
Used to Be | On Bill Monroe’s 1955 recording of “Used to Be,” Bill soloed on the beginning and end of the form, so Mike fills in the middle section with some of Monroe’s typical phrases. The solo features strong, even tremolo and a few ragtimey phrases.
O Santo de Polvora | “O Santo de Polvora” is a tune from Galicia that Chris Thile recorded on his recording How to Grow a Woman from the Ground. It includes a lot of triplet phrases, so Joe shows you a few different ways to play triplets.
Bud’s Bounce | “Bud’s Bounce” is a country instrumental written by steel guitar player Bud Isaacs. It’s played with a medium-tempo western swing feel and has some cool double-stop moves in the key of G that will be applicable to many tunes.
The Skylark | “The Skylark” is the second tune in the classic Joe Cooley set. It’s a full 32-bar tune in the key of D with a busy, eighth-note heavy melody.
Limehouse Blues | The 1920s jazz classic “Limehouse Blues” is popular in the Gypsy jazz and swing repertoire and is often played at a very fast tempo, so Aaron’s arrangement reflects that, varying the melody and chords in simple, rhythmic ways.
Dark Hollow | Learn a solo to the bluegrass classic “Dark Hollow” in the key of C. Sharon shows you how to dress up the melody of “Dark Hollow” by using double stops and creating licks out of double stop shapes.
Getting Ready for a Slow Jam | Being comfortable playing with others is your goal as a banjo player and slow jams are a good place to start. Bill talks about what you need to know to get ready for a slow jam, including how to play songs you don’t already know.
Bluegrass Banjo Jam Survival Skills | Bill gives you a variety of tips for playing in jams, including advice on tuning, playing in all keys, and quickly learning new tunes on the fly. He also discusses jam session etiquette.
Instrumental Breaks to Songs | Evie talks about creating instrumental breaks to songs, using the song “Little Darling Pal of Mine.” She also talks about backing up instrumental breaks when it’s another instrumentalist’s turn to solo.
Dinosaur Birthday | “Dinosaur Birthday” is another original from Wes’s solo album Cascade. This one is in the key of D major and is played melodic-style with a few positions and shapes you may not have used before.
Arm Extension | Chad gives you advice on holding the fiddle and extending your bowing arm. He demonstrates how to hold the fiddle parallel to the ground so the bow can rest on the strings and then breaks down bow mechanics.
Bluegrass Backup Lick Series, Part 2 | Chad continues with another series of bluesy licks (Lick Series #3) that he learned directly from the playing of the great bluegrass fiddler Bobby Hicks.
Singing and Fiddling: “Lazy John” | Bruce’s version of the song “Lazy John” has evolved from a western swing recording by Johnny Lee Wills (brother of Bob Wills) through Kentucky fiddler Clyde Davenport into Bruce’s hands.
Are You Leaving for the Country? | The song “Are You Leaving for the Country?” comes from Karen Dalton’s album In My Own Time and was written by Richard Tucker. Zoe uses the song to talk about improvising on a melody
PLAY-ALONG RHYTHM TRACKS – Available to all subscribers. Guitar accompaniment video, downloadable audio, and chord charts for popular bluegrass, old-time, and roots tunes and songs.
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