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Bluegrass Guitar Fingerboard Mastery
with Stash Wyslouch
 
 
About This Course
 
A step-by-step approach to decoding the mysteries of the guitar neck through the lens of bluegrass, old-time, and country music.
 
 
Try a Sample Lesson
 

In this lesson, you’ll learn triad inversion shapes for C, F, and G chords on the GBE string set and use them to play the traditional song “Roll On Buddy” in the key of C.

 
 
 
Meet the Instructor
Stash Wyslouch
 
 
Stash Wyslouch is a bluegrass guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Despite his heavy metal beginnings in middle and high school, bluegrass has been central to Wyslouch's life for the past 15 years touring and recording with groups such as the Deadly Gentlemen, Bruce Molsky’s Mountain Drifters, the Jacob Jolliff Band, and Tony Trischka’s Early Roman Kings. He has recorded four albums, the latest of which, Plays and Sings Bluegrass Vol. II, was released in 2021. Conceived as a gift back to the music that has framed his career, Plays and Sings Bluegrass Vol. II is a collection of zanily deconstructed bluegrass classics.
 
 
 
Peghead Play-Along Tracks
 
Peghead Nation is creating a library of accompaniment videos (and downloadable MP3s) for songs and tunes that are taught on the site, classics that you'll find at many jams and picking parties. As a subscriber, you have access to this library and can use the tracks to practice playing tunes and songs at a slow or medium tempo with guitar accompaniment. New songs will be added regularly.
 
 
The Bluegrass Guitar Fingerboard Mastery Subscription Includes:
  • A systematic approach to learning the guitar fingerboard
  • Theoretical concepts applied to roots music songs and tunes
  • New lessons added every month
  • High-quality video with multiple camera angles so you can see close-ups of both hands in action
  • Detailed notation and tablature for each lesson
  • Play-Along Track videos and audio downloads so you can play along with Stash
 
 
$20/Month For One Course
 
Additional courses only $10/month each!   •   Save 20% with an annual subscription
 
 
Get started now!
Use promo code StashLand at checkout
and get your first month free or $20 off an annual subscription.
 
Bluegrass Guitar Fingerboard Mastery Course Outline
 
Welcome to Bluegrass Guitar Fingerboard Mastery
 

Stash talks about his approach to the guitar neck and what you’ll be learning in Bluegrass Guitar Fingerboard Mastery,

 
Triads and Inversions
 

In the first series of lessons in Bluegrass Guitar Fingerboard Mastery, Stash shows you how to find inversions of diatonic chords on two string sets, the DGB string set and GBE string set. You’ll learn triad inversion shapes for G, C, and D chords on the DGB string set and use them to play the traditional song “Lonesome Valley” in the key of G. You’ll also learn triad inversion shapes for C, F, and G chords on the GBE string set and use them to play the traditional song “Roll On Buddy” in the key of C.

 
Triads and Inversions, Part 1: DGB String Set

In the first lesson on triads and inversions Stash begins by showing you the chromatic scale on the low A string, beginning with the open E string and moving up fret-by-fret to the 12th fret. Then he shows you the three different diatonic triad shapes for G, C, and D chords on the DGB string set and how to use them to play the traditional song “Lonesome Valley.” He also explains that these shapes are different inversions of a major triad, and how to find the three inversions up the neck for G, C, and D chords on the DGB string set.

 

Triads and Inversions, Part 2: GBE String Set

In this lesson, you’ll learn triad inversion shapes for C, F, and G chords on the GBE string set and use them to play the traditional song “Roll On Buddy” in the key of C.

 

Crosspicking Triads

Stash shows you a great way to practice the triads and inversions you’ve learned in the previous lessons: crosspicking the triads. He starts by defining and demonstrating crosspicking and then shows you a 3–3–2 crosspicking pattern you can play on the DGB string-set triad shapes, which you can use to play “Lonesome Valley.” He also shows you two other crosspicking patterns: 3–2–3 and 2–3–3.

 

 
Major Scales and Scale Positions
 
Scale Construction

The major scale is the most used scale in bluegrass, old-time, and related music, so it’s good to really understand how it’s constructed. The major scale is made up of a sequence of whole steps (two frets) and half steps (1 fret)  in this order: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half (wwhwwwh). Stash starts by showing you the G major scale all on the G string and then he gives you exercises to help you visualize the major scale, including exercises in octave displacement. He also shows you how to play the melody to the traditional hymn “Farther Along” in the key of C on one string.

 

The C Major Scale in Open Position

In this lesson, you’ll learn the C major scale in open position. Stash also shows you how to analyze melodies according to their scale degrees and practice the scale while saying the names of the scale degrees. You’ll learn to play “Farther Along” in open position in two octaves.

 

Open-Position Scales

Stash shows you the five most useful open-position scales on the guitar: G, C, D, A, and E. You’ve already learned open C, so Stash starts with the open-position G scale and then moves on to the other three. He also talks about internalizing the degrees of the scale as you practice them. You’ll also learn to play the old-time country song “Wabash Cannonball” in G position.

 

 
Exploring Triads
 
Diatonic Triads

Stash shows you the diatonic triads in the major scale, sometimes known as the harmonized major scale. He shows you how to create minor and diminished triads by modifying the major triad, and then shows you which kinds of triads correspond to each step of the major scale. He also shows you how to use these triads to play Norman Blake’s “Ginseng Sullivan” on the GBE string set in the key of D.

 

Harmonizing Melodies with Triads

Stash shows you how to harmonize “In the Pines” with triads in this lesson. He starts by showing you the melody to “In the Pines” on the high E string and then, whenever a note of the melody is a chord tone, he harmonizes it with a triad on the GBE string set.

 

Crosspicking “In the Pines”

In this lesson, Stash shows you how to play the harmonized version of “In the Pines” with a crosspicking pattern. He simplifies the melody to “In the Pines” by just playing the melody notes that are on the first beat of the measure, and fills out the rest of the measure with crosspicking.

 

Voice Leading Diatonic Triads

In this lesson, Stash gives you a couple of exercises to practice voice leading diatonic triads. He uses the song “Ginseng Sullivan,” which you previously learned in the key of D, but in this lesson you’ll learn it in E. Stash starts by walking you through the diatonic triads in the key of E on the DBG string set. Then he gives you two exercises: voice leading up and voice leading down using the chords to “Ginseng Sullivan.”

 

Introducing Non-Diatonic Triads

In this lesson, Stash introduces you to non-diatonic triads: a series of chords that deviates to some degree from the diatonic triad series of major (I), minor (ii), minor (iii), major (IV), major (V), minor (vi), and diminished (vii). Stash shows you the chord progression for the Louvin Brothers song “I Love You the Best of All,” which includes II, III, and VI major chords, and shows you how to voice-lead triads through the progression on the DGB string set.

 

Triads on the ADG and EAD String Sets

In previous lessons you’ve learned triad shapes on the GBE and DGB strings sets. In this lesson you’ll learn the triads on the remaining two string sets: ADG and EAD. Stash uses the song “Columbus Stockade Blues” in the key of G to show you triads on these string sets. He starts by showing you chords on the ADG string set in three zones on the neck.

 

 
Closed-Position Scales
 
Closed-Position Scales, Position 2E

Stash shows you the first in a series of closed-position scales on the fingerboard, using the Hank Williams song “We Live in Two Different Worlds.” Stash defines each position (or pattern) on the neck for each key by finding the lowest root on the low E string in that key. The lowest root in the key of G is played with the second finger on the low E string, so Stash calls that position Position 2E.

 

Closed-Position Scales, Position 4A

Stash shows you closed-position pattern 4A in this lesson. In pattern 4A, the lowest root of the major scale is played with your fourth finger on the A string. Stash starts by showing you the position on frets one through four, so the fret numbers correspond to the finger numbers. In this position, the root is Db, so moving this position up a fret gives you a closed-position pattern for the key of D.

 

Closed-Position Scales, Position 2A

You’ll learn closed-position pattern 2A in this lesson. Unlike the other patterns you’ve learned so far, the fingering of pattern 2A at the bottom of the neck (in this case, in the key of B) doesn’t correspond exactly to fret numbers on all the strings. Stash shows you position 2A in B and then shows you how to play “We Live In Two Different Worlds” with pattern 2A in the key of G, up at the 9th to 13th frets.

 

Closed-Position Scales, Position 2D

In Pattern 2D, the lowest root of the major scale is played with your second finger on the D string. Starting on the lowest position on the neck puts it in the key of E. Stash shows you position 2D in E and then shows you how to play “We Live In Two Different Worlds” with pattern 2D in the key of G, up at the 4th to 7th frets.

 

Closed-Position Scales, Position 4E

In Pattern 4E, the lowest root of the major scale is played with your fourth finger on the low E string, which puts you in the key of A. Stash shows you the pattern in the key of A and then in the keys of B, C, and D. He also shows you an exercise using all five patterns in one position on the neck, modulating around the circle of fifths from B to G (B–E–A–D–G). You start with the key of B using pattern 4E, then the key of E using pattern 4A, the key of A using pattern 2E, the key of D using pattern 2A, and the key of G using pattern 2D. Stash finishes up by showing you how to play “We Live In Two Different Worlds” with pattern 4E in the key of G, up at the 12th to 15th frets.

 

 
Arpeggios
 

In these next lessons, you’ll learn arpeggios in the five scale positions you’ve already learned. Arpeggios are broken-up chords—all the notes of the chord played in sequence rather than all at once. Learning these melodic structures will help you play melodies and improvise solos in different positions on the neck.

 

 
Position 2E Arpeggios

In this lesson, you’ll learn G major seven and G dominant seven arpeggios using pattern 2E, as well as C major seven and C dominant seven arpeggios in pattern 2E.

 

Position 4A Arpeggios

In this lesson, you’ll learn D major seven and D dominant seven arpeggios using pattern 4A, as well as G major seven and G dominant seven arpeggios in pattern 4A.

 

Position 2A Arpeggios

In this lesson, you’ll learn C major seven and C dominant seven arpeggios using pattern 2A, as well as G major seven and G dominant seven arpeggios in pattern 2A.

 

“Sophronie” Solo with Arpeggios

In this lesson, Stash shows you how to play the melody and a solo to the Jimmy Martin song “Sophronie” using the arpeggios in position 2E. The solo starts with the melody and then adds arpeggios, scales, rhythmic variety, and an ending lick to create a more interesting solo. 

 

Position 2D Arpeggios

In this lesson, you’ll learn G major seven and G dominant seven arpeggios using pattern 2D, as well as C major seven and C dominant seven arpeggios in pattern 2D.

 

Position 4E Arpeggios - New Lesson

In this lesson, you’ll learn the fifth and final pattern for major seven and dominant seven arpeggios: pattern 4E. You’ll learn A major seven and A dominant seven arpeggios, as well as D major seven and D dominant seven arpeggios, using pattern 4E.

 

 
 
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