Bluegrass Guitar Lessons

Welcome to the section dedicated to Bluegrass style guitar. Bluegrass is a a form of American roots music and a sub genre of country. Typically bluegrass is performed with mainly acoustic stringed instruments. Much like jazz, in bluegrass each instrument will take a solo or turn playing the melody in a piece of music with an ensemble. In these lessons we will learn the basics of bluegrass style guitar starting with common chords and strum patterns and progressing into lead playing and improvisation.

Common Bluegrass Chords

Common Bluegrass Chords

In this lesson we will be covering the common open chords used in bluegrass music.
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Essential Bluegrass Rhythm

Essential Bluegrass Rhythm

One of the most common rhythms in bluegrass music is often referred to as the bass chop. This is essential to the feel of bluegrass.
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Alternating Bass Line

Alternating Bass Line

We are going to focus on the alternating bass line concept used in bluegrass. This lesson will use the key of G to demonstrate the use of the root and 5th in the bassline.
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Alternating Bass Line in C

Alternating Bass Line in C

In this lesson we will learn an alternating bassline in the key of C
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Essential Bluegrass Rhythm Part 2

Essential Bluegrass Rhythm Part 2

In this lesson we will expand on the first Bluegrass rhythm by adding 16th note chops
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Walking Bass

Walking Bass

In this lesson we will discuss and study walking bass lines within the bluegrass rhythm and chord progression we have learned thus far.
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The G Run

The G Run

The G Run is a common riff used in bluegrass and created by Lester Flatt that signifies the end of a chord progression. It is often used as the basis to improvisation as well. It is a very recognizable riff in the bluegrass realm.
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Open String Scales

Open String Scales

In this lesson we will learn the G, C, and D Major scales in the first position using some open strings. This is important in bluegrass since we play in first position frequently while chording. Knowing these scale fingerings will come in handy when learning melodies and improvising.
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Easy Bluegrass Licks

Easy Bluegrass Licks

In this lesson we will learn some easy transition type licks in the key of G that you can use within your strum patterns.
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Tony Rice Inspired Bluegrass Lick

Tony Rice Inspired Bluegrass Lick

In this lesson we will learn a Tony Rice inspired Bluegrass lick in key of G.
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Descending Bluegrass Lick

Descending Bluegrass Lick

In this lesson we will study an easy descending bluegrass lick that you can add to your bluegrass vocabulary.  The lick will be studied in G, C, and D.
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Tennessee Stud by Doc Watson

Tennessee Stud by Doc Watson

In this lesson we will study Tennessee Stud as performed by Doc Watson. The tune has a great bluegrass type intro that repeats throughout the song. It applies many of the basic bluegrass principles we have discussed in the Bluegrass Genre section. The chords used are not difficult, however the timing and arrangement are a little tricky. Best to learn a section at a time.

Song Difficulty: 3

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Man of Constant Sorrow

Man of Constant Sorrow

Learn this bluesy bluegrass tune from the movie Brother Where Art Thou. The tune requires Drop D tuning and a capo on the 3rd fret. Basic chords include D, G, and A. The song applies a bluesy line that recurs throughout the tune.

Song Difficulty: 4

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Basic Banjo Rolls

Basic Banjo Rolls

In this lesson we will learn about the concept of banjo rolls.  This is a technique used by banjo players where we play a "rolling" eighth note arpeggio.
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Banjo Roll Licks in G

Banjo Roll Licks in G

In this lesson we will be learning some specific banjo roll licks in the key of G.  We will cover what to play over a G, C, and D chord.
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Country Scale For Bluegrass in 1st Position

Country Scale For Bluegrass in 1st Position

In this lesson we will be learning the country scale for each of the 3 chords G, C, and D in the first position.  The country scale is a foundation for bluegrass licks and improvisation.  Learning the scale in one position for all 3 chords is crucial to the bluegrass style
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Bluegrass Licks in G

Bluegrass Licks in G

In this lesson we will learn some specific Bluegrass style licks you can use to play over the G chord.
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Bluegrass Licks in C

Bluegrass Licks in C

In this lesson we will learn some specific Bluegrass style licks you can use to play over the C chord.
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Wildwood Flower

Wildwood Flower

In this lesson we will be learning the Carter family classic Wildwood Flower. This is a great example of a traditional Bluegrass style tune.  The melody is played within the chords much like a chord melody or solo.

Song Difficulty: 5

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