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!
Tony Rice’s “Orphan Annie” Solo
Learn a solo from Tony Rice’s recording of the Norman Blake song “Orphan Annie.” It’s an example of Tony’s style of playing in C position, which is different from his driving bluegrass style, usually played in G position.
I’ve Found a New Baby
“I’ve Found a New Baby” is one of the most popular standards in New Orleans, swing, and Gypsy jazz. Matt shows you an accompaniment part as well as a chord melody version that features four-note voicings.
Advanced Variations in A Minor
Flynn shows you some advanced variations in the key of A minor using up-the-neck voicings and demonstrates how to use them with two tunes you’re already learned: the reel “Dan Breen’s” and the jig “Scatter the Mud.”
Bob Wills’s tune “Maiden’s Prayer” is a staple of the western swing repertoire but it’s also popular at bluegrass jams. It’s a beautiful melody played at a medium tempo, so it’s a great song for working on improvising.
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.”
Improvising with Chord Tones
Sharon shows you four different approaches to targeting different notes in a chord as you change from one chord to another: targeting the root, targeting common tones, using guide tones, and using half-step motion.
“Tall Timber” is Bill Monroe’s version of the old-time fiddle tune “Katy Hill.” Mike shows you the half solo Bill played on the original 1955 recording as well as a complete solo from a mid-1960s live recording.
“Charlie’s Song” was written by bassist Greg Garrison, who was a founding member of Punch Brothers. It’s a fast waltz in A minor and D minor and has a circular 28-bar form with one long part that doesn’t seem to want to end.
The Nootka Blues
John’s original tune “The Nootka Blues,” which he recorded on Up in the Woods, is a bluesy bluegrass tune in the key of B that uses a scale with the flatted seventh and both the minor and major third.
The final tune in the classic Joe Cooley set you’ve been learning is “Roaring Mary,” which like the other two tunes is also in the key of D. Marla shows you the way Joe Cooley played “Roaring Mary,” as well as some simple variations.
“Satin Doll” is one of Duke Ellington’s most popular songs. Its form is AABA, so Aaron approaches each A part differently. In the first A part, he starts in the low register with block voicings; in the second, he separates the bass notes from the melody.
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.
JD Crowe’s “Nine Pound Hammer”
Bill pays tribute to the music of banjoist JD Crowe and guitarist Tony Rice and the music they made together in JD Crowe and the New South. You’ll learn two JD Crowe solos on “Nine Pound Hammer” from Tony Rice’s first album.
Wes shows you two-octave major and minor arpeggios with an exercise that moves around the cycle of fourths. You’ll learn two-octave patterns for G major and E minor, and how to move them to the keys of C, F, Bb, etc.
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, Parts 3—5
Chad shows you how to combine licks you’ve learned in the three lick series in different ways. He also teaches solos to the bluegrass songs “Whose Shoulder Will You Cry On?” and “Letter from My Darling” that use licks from the series.
Half Past Four
“Half Past Four” comes from the great fiddler Ed Haley, who wrote the tune to commemorate the passing of his newborn son at 4:30 in the morning. It’s unclear whether Haley played it in standard tuning or AEAE but you’ll learn it in AEAE.
Dirk Powell recorded two versions of his great song “Waterbound”: one on his album Time Again and again for the Transatlantic Sessions. Zoe shows you the Transatlantic Sessions version, which has phrases of five long beats.
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.