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Help the NOOB!!!

Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by Mktrat, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Mktrat

    Mktrat Seriously, are we not doing phrasing anymore? Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    The Mitten
    OK. So I love my Ergo. I want a true DB but my wife would kill me if I bought one (our bedroom is the music room.....)

    Anyway, I am looking for a few suggestions on fairly simple bluegrass tunes to start learning. I realize that until I get a DB it will never be truly thumptastic. I gotta work with what I got for now.

    Any ideas would be great. I don't have a clue where to start, I know no one in the bluegrass genre, I just love that sound.

    Thanks in advance for your guidance.
  2. Doley50


    Sep 4, 2005
    The first place to start is listening to Bluegrass, so here are some of my suggestions.

    Bill Monreo - his is considered the farther of Bluegrass and rightfully so.

    Flatt and Scuggs- both played with Bill Monreo and became commercially successful with The Beverly Hillbillies theme . Also Earl Scuggs is the pioneering banjo player the created the bluegrass banjo sound .

    The Stanley Brothers - They play in a Bluegrass style but kept move traditional mountain music in there sound.

    To me this is the foundation of the music, while there are many greats, you will find that being familiar with there music you will know many jam standards and you will also learn the basic structure of the Blugrass style.

    Most important go to Blugrass jams, I'm sure there are some in your area.

    Ok now I'll answer your question ! Lol! Sorry.

    Some very easy songs are:

    Will the circle be unbroken
    Mama don't allow
    Siting on top of the world
    Blue Night
    Freeborn Man

    This is just a few.
    Here is a web site that has some tabs.

    There are some good books that will get you going in the right direction also.
    Hope this helps some.
  3. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Speaking from my experience, you can learn songs at home on your EUB, but as the first response says, you will need to get into jams to take it to even "step 2"--I was stunted for years and didn't know it until I got my upright and just started getting out.

    Read this:
    It was very formative for me.

    The old recordings by the masters (listed above--the Father, Bill Monroe; Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs; Ralph & Carter Stanley), or "first generation" are definitely where to start. The bass is often hard to hear on these albums, though, and bluegrass bass tabs have been hard to come by for a long time (thanks for that link, D!)
  4. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Lest anyone think I'm a bluegrass "rebel" based on what I'm going to suggest, don't worry. I have great respect for all of the masters. That said, I'm not sure modeling your bluegrass bass playing after those early recordings is a great place to start. Unless you primarily want an indistinct, muddy (thumptastic), repetitive 1 - 5 sound.

    Since you already own an EUB, can we assume you play other styles of music already? If so, why not use some of those skills in bluegrass?

    It won't hurt to have more variety in the bass line. It won't hurt to have a clear, punchy bass note that can cut through banjo and dobro playing.

    I'd suggest you listen to the early recording, but also listen to more contemporary bands: Alison Krauss and Union Station with Barry Bales; Blue Highway; Tony Rice Unit with either Schatz or Simpkins on bass; the Steeldrivers with Dennis Crouch; or look for recordings with Victor Krauss (Alison's brother), he plays for Lyle Lovett.

    Anyway, just another perspective for you to think about. I've been playing bluegrass bass for about 30 years. For the past 20 it's been on a '51 Kay with Spirocore mediums, low action and a never ending quest to eliminate the classic "bluegrass thump" anyway I can. I've owned three basses - got them all with gut strings, and that was the first thing I changed when doing a set-up.
  5. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    In the above post I forgot to mention Edgar Meyer working with Jerry Douglas and Russ Barenberg on Skip, Hop and Wobble. And any of the other contemporary acoustic or bluegrass recordings he's on.

    I also should have mentioned that I'm not talking about bass players who take a break, or otherwise try to dominate a song. I think bluegrass bass playing would be improved if more players mastered the use of tasteful passing notes within a phrase, and perhaps utilized more positions up and down the neck. Early on someone advised me to try and be as "musical" as I can with my bass line, without getting in the way. Good advice; not always easy to execute but I keep trying.
  6. MkTrat, I have two upright basses I'm selling. They were my bluegrass weapons.

    If you're in the Windsor area. I can do a trade with your Ergo plus cash from your end.

    PM me if you're interested. :)

  7. In my opinion, another non-traditional bass player to investigate is Sam Grisman of Deadly Gentlemen - David (Dawg) Grisman's son. He is a great player who is able to blend the melody into his bass lines for a fantastic sound.

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