5 Runs Every Bluegrass Guitarist MUST Know

5 Runs Every Bluegrass Guitarist MUST Know

One of the staples of bluegrass guitar is using runs to connect chords, articulate song sections, and give a tune an ending. They’ll direct the listener’s attention to the upcoming chord and allow you to add personal flair to the structure of the song.

Continuing where his previous TrueFire course left off, Stephen Mougin has assembled 30 Bluegrass Runs You MUST Know that covers playing runs in the some of the most common bluegrass chord progressions. In these free bluegrass guitar lessons, you’ll find a sample of five runs that Stephen teaches in the full version of the course.

The Jimmy: G to D to G

Download the tab and notation for this bluegrass run on TrueFire.

A memorable run from the Jimmy Martin catalog that is to be used sparingly! It’s always a great idea to use this when jamming along to one of Martin’s classic songs!

The Bobby: Back to G

Download the tab and notation for this bluegrass run on TrueFire.

Perhaps a more aggressive way to get back which resembles some of our G runs. Hey, it’s never a bad idea to quote a G run, right?!

Pistachio Five: G to D

Download the tab and notation for this bluegrass run on TrueFire.

This is an expanded version of the “Vanilla Five” that starts a bit earlier and adds a ghost note. Again, we’re going to tweak timing to make a simple run more interesting.

Spicy Turn: D to A

Download the tab and notation for this bluegrass run on TrueFire.

This one almost makes me think of a Tele lick, but sure fits nicely in a bluegrass setting. Bring out the habanero sauce and jam on the “Spicy Turn”!

Slidin’ That Train: B to E

Download the tab and notation for this bluegrass run on TrueFire.

A really fun run to play because it has a slide up two frets, then slide back down! Who wouldn’t want to do that?


If you’re hankering for more bluegrass guitar playing, check out the rest of the course on TrueFire – and don’t forget to pick up Bluegrass Rhythm Evolution to go along with it! There you’ll find more bluegrass guitar techniques, as well as the tab and notation to go along with it. Check it out!