Newsletter #5 • August 2004
News, Music, tablature, MPs, to download & learn!
Hello and welcome to our Musix Newsletter #5!
Five tunes for guitar & mandolin, with standard notation, chords, tablature, and lyrics, in .pdf and MP3 formats. You can download and print .pdfs of the music and listen to the MP3 examples. First, some news.
This Newsletter is later than usual. An ever-busier schedule is to blame. Last week I shot a new video to accompany my best selling “First Lessons: Mandolin” at Jim Nunally’s studio in Crockett, CA. Now all we have to do is edit it! It’ll include all the teaching plus every song from the original book/CD set at both slow and regular speeds.
A couple days after the video shoot, banjoist Bill Evans and I recorded more songs for The Parking Lot Picker’s Songbooks, a massive collection of bluegrass, gospel, and old time songs — almost 250 so far — songs every picker and singer should know. There’ll be separate editions with tablature for guitar, mandolin, and banjo. Bill Evans is writing the banjo TAB. We hope to have the recording done by September 04.
I finished writing and recording Getting into Bluegrass Mandolin in Spring of 04. I’m hoping Mel Bay will have it in print by sometime this Fall. I’m currently working on “Bluegrass Solos” book/CDs for guitar and mandolin. I also have two guitar crosspicking books in production along with a collection of Scandinavian House Party tunes Uff Da: Let’s Dance! Scandinavian House Party Music for Mandolin, and more BackUP TRAX. (For a sample tune from“”Uff Da” for mandolin, check out “Auction Pa Strommen” from Newsletter #3.
I recently finished two book/CD sets I was working on with Midwestern accordionist Bruce Bollerud: one is Uff Da: Let’s Dance! Scandinavian House Party Music for Accordion and the other is Accordion Music from Around the World Waltzes, Polkas, Tangos, Hornpipes, Two-Steps, and more! I learned a ton and a half from Bruce in the process and hope to convert some of the melodies in “From Around the World” to guitar and mandolin. Tell your accordion friends to keep an ear peeled for both books. We’ll keep you posted on all the new projects and when they become available.
Brothers at Heart Jim Nunally and my latest CD was nominated for the California Music Assoc. “Alt. Country” CD of the year. We were up against heavy hitters like Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. Thanks so much for all your votes and nice e-mails. Unfortunately, we didn’t win, a group called the Cowlicks took the top prize. We were honored, as they say, just be by nominated.
We’re delighted to announce that we’ll be working with Martin Guitars and performing some workshops at West Coast music stores in the coming months. The first will be Thursday, October 28th, at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, CA. When we have the details, we’ll let you know. We’re so tickled to be working in tandem with the company that makes our dream guitars!
Here’s a web site product update:
We’ve finally got these very popular picks back in stock and the legend has further grown! Get ’em while we got ’em.
Jethro Burns Complete Mandolin will interest those who want to stretch their knowledge of mandolin beyond what was thought possible. Worth the price for the transcriptions of Jethro’s famous and revolutionary recorded solos on Back Up & Push, Mississippi Sawyer, Tennessee Waggoner, Old Joe Clark, Soldier’s Joy, Hell Amongst the Yearlings alone. Great tunes and exercises for any mandolinist.
Bill Monroe Mandolin Instrumentals
If you’re gonna play Bluegrass mandolin, you have to know the music of Bill Monroe. This book includes transcriptions of 25 Monroe classic solos including Bluegrass Stomp, Raw Hide, Big Mon, Cheyenne, Monroe’s Hornpipe, more.
Garcia/Grisman “Shady Grove” Transcriptions
Great collections of all the solos from the wonderful CD. Guitar book includes lyrics, chords, Jerry’s solos and several of his backups. Great songbook! Mandolin book of Grisman transcriptions also available.
Elvo D’Amante’s wonderful three volume, 11-CD ear training course is available. If you’re serious about training your ears to hear scales, intervals, and chords, check it out!
Now the music & MP3s
MP3 recordings to the following are presented in mono and at one speed only to save space on the web site. Similar recordings on the CDs that accompany all my books are in split track stereo and presented at both slow and regular speeds. Click on the links on the right to download the pdfs and MP3s
Mandolin: Double stop/Tremolo
“All the Good Times are Past and Gone” is a great tune for a double stop tremolo solo. This technique is a must for intermediate and advanced mandolin players. The double stops allow you to harmonize whatever melody you’re playing and tremolo gives you the ability to sustain notes indefinitely. On “All the Good Times” I tremolo notes longer than quarters. I arranged this solo for my upcoming book/CD set entitled All-Time Favorite Parking Lot Picker’s Mandolin Solos.
The numbers between the standard notation and the TAB are fretting finger suggestions. Two numbers divided by a slash — “1/3” — tell you to use your index finger on the upper note; use your third finger on the lower note.
This arrangement is in a closed position with no open strings so its moveable up and down the fingerboard to a variety of different keys. As written, the last double stop is relatively low on the fingerboard so you can really only move the whole solo down one position to the key of Gb/F#. If you move these last two notes to strings three and four, frets 9 & 12, you’ll be able to move the whole thing down to more positions/keys. Of course the original closed position solo is moveable up the fingerboard as well to several new keys.
Try moving the solo “over” one string. Your first note will be an A on the seventh fret third string. If you play the same solo in this new position, it will be in the key of D. This “key of D” position can also be moved up and down the fingerboard to other keys. Combine the two positions and you should be able to play the solo in just about any key. Ain’t the mandolin a cool little instrument?
Mandolin: Cherokee Shuffle
I don’t think I need to say too much about “Cherokee Shuffle,” it’s just a good old tune that you’ll have fun playing. Pay attention to the fretting hand fingerings between the two staves and they’ll help you start with and maintain the proper fretting hand position.
Guitar: Basic/Double Stop/Variation:
When the Saints Go Marching In
I can almost guarantee that you’ll need to be able to play “When the Saints Go Marching In” at some point in your musical career. And, if you play it with horn players or jazzers, you’ll have to play it in the key of F. So here’s a basic version of the melody in the key of F. Memorize it before you go on to the other exercises.
The age-old question for any improvising musician is: What should I play after I’ve played the melody? Obviously you can take a solo in any of a thousand directions. Here are a couple of ideas for “Saints.”
The first solo is a version of the melody where I’ve added a second note to harmonize each melody note. These are called “double stops.” Double stops are widely used on the mandolin (see “All the Good Times” above) and violin. As you work through this solo on the guitar, play both notes of the double stops with one pick stroke. The numbers under the lyrics and above the TAB are fretting hand finger suggestions. The upper number tells which finger to use for the higher note; the lower number tells which finger to use for the lower note. If you hold the basic chords shown, most of the best fretting choices will become clear.
Except for a couple of notes, all the double stops are played with fretted notes. Try moving the solo up the fingerboard to different keys. You will have to substitute different fretted notes for the open notes. Once you’re comfortable with the initial double stop solo, try the variation.
Some players use a combination of flatpick and fingers to play double stops. Try holding the pick between the thumb and first finger and use the pick on the lower note. Play the higher note of the double stop with your second finger.
Guitar: Two Guitars
When I was a kid, my family lived in the flat above my maternal grandparents. My grandfather, Al Bareis, had recently retired and had decided that one of the things he wanted to finally spend some time doing was learning to play the guitar, a brand new Martin D-21. He’d usually practice in the evenings and I’d hear him playing as I drifted off to sleep. The sounds of his playing and singing would travel up the heating duct and turn the register in my room into a speaker.
His repertoire included a lot of old songs I assume he had heard as a younger man, songs like “My Wild Irish Rose” and “Peg o’ My Heart.” He also played a variety of “Spanish guitar” instrumentals like “Two Guitars.”
As I entered my teens and got interested in playing guitar myself, my grandfather showed me a few things and loaned me his old nylon stringed guitar. Eventually I learned to play “Two Guitars” and we’d often play it together. Here it is, from memory. It’s a wonderful tune to have in your repertoire. It works great as a light classical number.
It’s important to hold the appropriate chord as you play since most of the melody notes are chord tones. You won’t need to hold a full B7 in M 3, just fret strings three and four. The numbers between the staves, as always, are suggested fingerings.
The second ending has 12th fret harmonics as does M 17. To play them, lightly lay a fretting finger above the fret wire, not the fret space. Practice it until you get a bell-like ring.
In M 11 & 13 you’ll need to use chord #1 and #2, shown on page two of the music.
Notice that the last eight measures of the music, starting at M 18, are a repeat of the first seven bars plus the second ending. You’ve already played this twice so the whole piece is not quite as difficult as it might at first seem!
Guitar: Wildwood Flower in two keys with modulations
This version of “Wildwood Flower” in two keys with modulations makes a great solo guitar arrangement. Since most guitarists who play the tune favor either C or G, I thought it would be interesting to combine the two approaches into one.
“Wildwood Flower” begins in the key of C. In M 14, we use the chord passage C—C#7—D7 (D7 is the V chord in the key of G) to modulate to the key of G. In M 30 we use the G7 (G7 is the V chord in the key of C) chord to modulate back to the key of C. I use a similar approach to the tune “Faded Love” and go into greater detail about how these modulations work theoretically in the upcoming issue of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine.
The road map for “Wildwood Flower” works this way: start at the top of page one in the key of C, play through the first ending. After you’ve played through M5, go back to the first set of double dots, the first full measure, and repeat. This time, after you’ve played M4 skip the first ending, M5, which you’ve already played and play the second ending.
In M 14 you’ll see an oval with a cross in it and the text “to Coda.” Ignore that for now and play through M 14 & 15. This takes you to M 16 and the key of G version of “Wildwood Flower.” Play through the first and second endings as you did with the key of C version. In M 30 you’ll see the notation “D.S. al Coda.” “D.S.” means to go to the sign, or segno, which in this case in the first full measure of the key of C version. The sign is the “s” shaped symbol with the dots and lines in M 1. “Al Coda” has nothing to do with global terrorism. It means to play from the sign to the Coda, in this case in M 13. It’s the oval with the cross in it. After you play M13, skip all the way to M 31 where you’ll find another Coda. This is the ending. If you have any questions, a quick listen to the MP3 will probably answer them.
That’s all for now. Let us know what you like or don’t like about Newsletter #5. Tell us what other types of music you’d like to see covered in Newsletter #6, which we’ll post sometime in the late Fall, good Lord willing and if the creek don’t rise. Click here to e-mail us.
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