Newsletter #7 • April 2005
News, Music, tablature, MPs, to download & learn!
Hello and welcome to our Musix Newsletter #7!
Four tunes for guitar & mandolin, with standard notation, chords, tablature, in .pdf and MP3 formats. You can download and print .pdfs of the music and listen to the MP3 examples.
Swing Mandolin: Chords and comping on the chord changes to everybody’s favorite tune “Sweet Georgia Brown.”
Intermediate Mandolin: First learn the melody to “In the Pines” and then learn a simple double stop solo.
Flatpicking Guitar: Dropped D tuning without lowering the sixth string. Use the “partial capo” method to play this solo on “John Henry.”
Guitar Chord Melody solo on the chord changes to “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.”
It’s been several months since the last Musix Newsletter. Time seems to be compressing, moving faster all the time. I have more projects than time, probably just like you! I started to tally up the book/CD sets I’m currently working on and had to quit when the total reached ten. That’s my excuse for not cranking out a Newsletter sooner. That reminds me of a line I heard Johnny Gimble say: “You ain’t much of a musician if you can’t think of a good excuse!” Still, I’m having a ball with it all. More info on future projects below.
Getting into Bluegrass Mandolin
My newest book/CD set is finally out: Getting into Bluegrass Mandolin. It’s the follow up to, the next step after, my basic books “First Lessons: Mandolin” and “You Can Teach Yourself Mandolin.” “Getting into Bluegrass Mandolin” teaches you how to, well… get into bluegrass mandolin! Hence the title. (Our in-house marketing geniuses are on duty 24/7.) Click here for full info. I hope you’ll check it out. We couldn’t fit the double stop solo of “In the Pines” into the book, so we’re running it here in the Newsletter.
First Lessons: Mandolin DVD
My “First Lessons: Mandolin” book and CD set has been out for a few years and last summer I shot a video of all the teaching and tunes for a new package that includes the book, the CD, and the DVD for $14.95. It’s now available. Click here. Mel Bay is experimenting with this book/CD/DVD series to offer all possible formats in one package. I lobbied for a special edition iPod with text, photos, audio, video, Smell-a-Vision, etc., but have yet to receive final word on the deal.
We’ve almost finished a massive bluegrass/old time/gospel songbook in three editions: one each with guitar, mandolin, and banjo TAB. Bill Evans, ace banjoista, is collaborating on the banjo edition and his work is superb. The title will have something about “parking lot picking” and “songbook” in it.
I’m still working on the Bluegrass Solos for guitar and mandolin project. The Scandinavian House Party Tunes for Mandolin is just about finished. Once I write a short introduction, book and CD will be complete. These tunes are so much fun, I can hardly stand it. Uff da!
I have all the arrangements finished for two guitar cross picking book/CD sets. Can’t wait to record then. I just love that cross picked sound.
“String Band Classics, Vol. 2: The Highwoods String Band for Guitar” and String Band Classics, Vol. 2: The Highwoods String Band for Mandolin should be out any old time. (Get it?) They’ve been delayed so many times, I’ll believe it when I see it! “Vol 2” is a collection of great old time music from the Highwoods band and includes lyrics, melodies, and chords.
We’ll keep you posted on them all.
Martin Guitar Clinics
Jim Nunally and I are doing Martin Guitar Clinics where we play our usual music and also demonstrate the latest great Martin guitars. It is big fun. So far we’re in and around Northern California but we hope Martin will want us to expand around the country. Click here for the latest Dix & Jim Martin Clinic info. Jim and I are both teaching at the California Bluegrass Association’s Music Camp June 12-15 in Grass Valley, CA. Jim’s teaching rhythm guitar, I’ll be teaching intermediate bluegrass and old-time mandolin.
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Don’t forget all our other great books, CDs, DVDs, and more.
Now, on to the music & MP3s!
MP3 recordings to the following are presented in mono and at one speed only to save cyberspace. The exception is the recording for “Swing Mandolin” which I felt really needed the extra separation of stereo. Click on the links to download the pdfs and MP3s. Similar recordings on the CDs that accompany all my books are full length, in split track stereo and presented at both slow and regular speeds.
Swing Mandolin: Chords and comping on the chord changes to everybody’s favorite swing tune “Sweet Georgia Brown.”
So-called “swing” or “jazz chords” are really just plain old chords. Here’s a primer on several that you can use to play the chord changes to “Sweet Georgia Brown.” The “Cycles chords” .pdf shows all the chord grids you’’ll need. Once you can play the chords, you’ll need to learn the basic swing rhythm comp. It’s demonstrated on the “Cycles comp” MP3.
The tune is called “Cycles.” It’s based on the chord changes to “Sweet Georgia Brown” and you can use the melody as a solo to that classic standard. In the next Newsletter we’ll learn the melody. This is from my BackUP TRAX: Swing & Jazz book and CD set.
Intermediate Mandolin: Double Stop Solo.
A few weeks back my newest book/CD set was published: Getting into Bluegrass Mandolin. Because of space limitations, a few of the pieces I arranged got cut from the final book. One of them is this relatively easy double stop solo to the classic “In the Pines.” Learn the single string melody before you tackle the double stop solo.
When you play double stops on the mandolin, you’re playing harmony to yourself. This arrangement works nicely in the key of E and utilizes a lot of open string notes. Because of the open string notes, it won’t be automatically moveable up or down the fingerboard. You will be able to move it “horizontally” from string to string. More on that below.
Fretting finger numbers are shown between the standard notation and TAB staves. The top number tells which finger to use to fret the higher note of the double stop. The lower number tells which finger to use to fret the lower note.
Tremolo notes longer than 1/4s.
Once you can play both the single and double stop version of “In the Pines,” try moving the whole solo “over” a string to a different key. This is one of the concepts we explore in depth in Getting into Bluegrass Mandolin. For the double stop version, change your double stop to be on the first and second strings, same fret numbers, rather than the second and third strings as written. You can also move it the other way and play your first note on strings three and four.
Flatpicking Guitar: Dropped D tuning without lowering the sixth string. This is slicker’n sliced bread. Here we’ll use the “partial capo” method to play this solo on “John Henry.” Put your capo on fret two but only cover strings one through five. Leave string six uncapoed.
Capoing in this way gives the effect of a lowered sixth string, commonly called the “Dropped D Tuning.” The cool thing is that you don’t have to retune the sixth string. And, if you’re playing in the key of D, you can still use the regular G chord, though you’ll have to take care not to play the open sixth string as a bass note for the A chord.
When you use this partial capo technique and play in the key of D, the actual sound will be in the key of E.
Fretting finger numbers are shown between the standard notation and TAB staves. One of the tricks to playing this arrangement is to hold as much of the chord as possible as you fret melody notes. That way you can preserve the strums almost in tact. There are a few places in the piece where you have to fudge a little on the strum. For example on beat four of measure six, you’ve pulled your first finger out of the D chord to fret the fifth string, second fret B note. You can’t get it back in time for a full strum, so try to avoid playing the third string open G when you strum as it’s not part of the D chord.
The variation involves a nice bend on the sixth string. Listen to it on the MP3 recording.
You can modify this same technique to play “John Henry” in higher keys. You just need two capoes.
Guitar Chord Melody solo on changes to “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.”
I’ve long considered this the guitar picker’s theme song! The chord sheets map out the chord positions I used to place the melody to the tune on string one or two. The lyrics below each chord grid will help you determine where each note/chord fits rhythmically. Pick only the fretted notes — no open string notes. I used bare fingers to play this arrangement, but you could certainly use a flatpick or you could strum with your thumb.
A common variation to the first few bars of the given chord progression is to add some ascending movement with Bbm and Cm chords. The variation shown and played does just this.
Chord melodies are a great technique for solo guitarists. Let me know what you think of this one and the way I’ve written it out. If you’re not used to playing so many chords, it can seem overwhelming. Just take it slow, a section at a time, and eventually you’ll get it.
I played the tune on my new Selmer/Maccaferri — style guitar. I’m really having a good time with it. It’s a completely different guitar than a Martin D or Gibson arch top. Listen to the MP3 to see how it sounds all by itself.
Here’s wishing you all a Swinging Spring and Summer 2005. Thanks for your support of Musix and our web site.
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