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is this bluegrass wack?

Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by GlennCarbon, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. I like a lot of different styles of music. I got into americana/bluegrass so I bought an up-right. I think I play better now than I did when I put this song together. Is this good bluegrass, are the solos good, hows my up-right playing.

    This is the link
  2. DILYSI Dave

    DILYSI Dave

    Jan 26, 2013
    Works for me. Got my foot tappin, so it passes the test.
  3. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    Fun, yes, bluegrass, not so much- More Americana. Nice playing!
  4. Thank you for the input. I have a melody line(kinda) and its in the key of G, what did i do wrong to make this non-bluegrass? To busy? I am attempting to mimic what i have heard, is it to modern? Maybe the video is to absurd?
  5. jeepnstein


    Dec 6, 2013
    It's got drumming, for one thing. It's a good country groove, a good Grateful Dead style groove, but it's not really Bluegrass or even New Grass. I really like your bass playing.
  6. Thank you. The drumming is a guitar with a dollar dill in the strings to mute it (I snagged that idea from "walk the line"). The funny thing about the Greatful Dead comment was that I wrote a thread in the electric forum about Phil Lesh. I'm not a huge Phil fan but I got some good info in the end.
  7. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    First off, nice playing!

    If you are talking traditional bluegrass or even modern "newgrass", a couple things:

    Too much guitar
    No banjo
    No mandolin

    The bass breaks were too busy for blue grass, and more jazz-like.
    The roots and fifths were good, but it's missing the mandolin "chops" on the upbeats.
    That's what really sets the rythym for bluegrass - the bass on the downbeat and the
    mandolin on the upbeat.

  8. What if I mimicked the mandolin parts with a guitar chord in a higher voice, maybe as a double stop? Should the breaks have been more percussive I.e like a rhythmic slap kinda thing with some basic scale runs? I don't know how to fake a banjo...... but thank you for the advice. I will break this damn bluegrass code yet!
  9. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    I think you could probably mimick the mandolin part on a guitar. The "chop" is just a chord
    with a very short sustain. Of course then you lose the guitar part, and if you don't have another
    guitar or banjo, you have no chords going on.

    Something you might try, if you're going to use just a guitar, is to have the guitar strum
    along, and hit an accent strum on the upbeat.

    The bass usually doesn't take a break in bluegrass, although there are certainly cases
    where the the bass has done so. When it does, it is usually something like even 1/8 notes
    though, and not free form as in jazz. Often the bass plays a melody line if it takes a break.
    Breaks are much more common for the mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and banjo.

    Normally the bass just plays roots and fifths, with an occasional run. As bluegrass lacks
    a percussion section, the bass pretty much takes up the part of the bass drum, and that's
    where it spends much of it's time, playing on the downbeat.

    It's fun stuff. See if thare are any jams going on in your area. That would be a good way
    to get the feel of the style. You play more than well enough to join in on a jam.

  10. I went to a bluegrass fest not to far from my home a couple years back. At the time I had been on upright for maybe 3 months, I had positions and intonation pretty good, I didn't do any thumb stuff at the time. I got mixed reviews at the open jam tent. Some people really seemed to like my feel and style while others REALLY hated it, I mean I got some really nasty looks. The age demographics for the pro and anti-me were pretty spread out, so I couldn't say it was the older cats that didn't like me, but the kids dug my hip jive. I guess they were bluegrass purists....later I did some sub work for a group of elderly people that once a week would perform for a group of people their own age, I think it was a church group or senior group anyway they loved what I did, but they weren't strictly bluegrass.
  11. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    The bluegrass festivals around here (Virginia) are all traditional bluegrass. I believe there
    is more progressive stuff in some of the local bars. I think you'll always find that many of
    the bluegrass fans are traditionalists, and will not not understand what you are doing.
    (that includes some bluegrass players also).

    I became a lot more interested in bluegrass when some of the groups started using more
    than the common I IV V chords.

    But still, there is something about the simplicity of things like Bill Monroe's "footprints in the snow".
    That's tough to beat.

    Times are changing, though.

  12. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    It's been my experience that if I'm playing bluegrass bass well, I'm practically invisible - simple I-V timekeeping with occasional walkups and walkdowns gets the job done, everybody's happy, and I get called back for jams and gigs. If somebody's annoyed by my playing, I'm doing it wrong and calling too much attention to myself. Most likely, I'm not keeping good time, which can singlehandedly destroy a tune and ruin a jam.

    Listen to some bluegrass greats - Barry Bales, Edgar, Dennis Crouch - you don't hear a lot of flash, just good strong fundamentals, rock-solid time, and tone to die for. They can play rings around all of us, yet primarily stay with a simple direct style that is the bassist's function in the group.