Everybody in a bluegrass band has to have great timing, but the rhythm guitar player is the glue that holds it all together. Players often underestimate the value of working on their rhythm skills and focus mostly on soloing but developing great rhythm chops is the key to becoming a great lead player.
If you master the rhythm techniques that composer, recording artist and GRAMMY winner Cathy Fink presents here in this Bluegrass Rhythm Handbook, they’ll serve you quite well playing country music and several folk styles as well -- you’ll also be the star in every Bluegrass jam you attend!
”My approach to playing bluegrass rhythm comes from playing in a pre-bluegrass duo, a bluegrass band, a country band and many old-time country bands. The solid bass note and strum can truly define a band's timbre. I think it’s easier learning to play loud and hard and then toning it down rather than learning to play with a "light" right hand and then trying to make it louder. The muscle memory works better the first way. Power to the rhythm guitarist!”
Cathy kicks the course off with a series of key concepts and techniques: The Bluegrass Rhythm Approach, Practice: Speed & Stamina, Picks & Strum Techniques and Keys & Capos
The rest of the course is organized into 4 sections. In the first section, you’ll learn chords, bass patterns and three Bluegrass tunes in the G position: Common Chords & Bass Patterns, Connecting Bass Runs, Classic G Run & Variations, Ain’t Gonna Work (Performance and Breakdown), Don't Let Your Deal Go Down (Performance and Breakdown), and Rabbit In The Log( Performance and Breakdown)
”Timing, tone, and finesse are all key to a great bluegrass rhythm guitarist. Of course, these same techniques will give you chops for old-time country music, classic country music, and many folk song as well.”
C Position chords, bass runs and tunes are examined in the second section: Common Chords & Bass Patterns, Connecting Bass Runs, Classic C Run & Variations, Beaumont Rag (Performance and Breakdown), and Wabash Cannonball (Performance and Breakdown)
The third section focuses on the A Position: Common Chords & Bass Patterns, Connecting Bass Runs, In The Pines (Performance and Breakdown), Old Joe Clark (Performance and Breakdown) and Orange Blossom Special (Performance and Breakdown)
The fourth and final section drills down on D Position: Common Chords & Bass Patterns, Connecting Bass Runs, Classic D Run & Variations, and Arkansas Traveler (Performance and Breakdown)
Cathy demonstrates all of the tunes over practice rhythm tracks for optimal musical context. She then breaks them all down by stepping you through the key concepts and techniques used in the tunes.
All of the key demonstrations, performances and examples are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can loop and/or slow any section down as you work through the lessons. Plus, Cathy generously includes a jam track pack , which features different tempos and various mixes for each tune.
Grab your guitar and let’s jam some Bluegrass with Cathy Fink!