People who like country music are familiar with the bluegrass type of music. It is a basic kind of music and the songs are usually about the country life and nature. Bluegrass music is acoustic and rarely uses electronic instrumentation. Bluegrass is a form of traditional, american roots music, though known to having roots in other cultures as well, such as Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and English.
If you are learning to play bluegrass guitar, you have embarked upon a fulfilling musical journey. Each style that you learn and master would not only be a feather in your cap, but would also bring you immense satisfaction. Bluegrass music is especially appealing to guitar enthusiasts because this type of music emphasizes melody and making notes, as well as good guitar picking and strumming. Playing bluegrass music can range from using basic chords to complex pieces that need a band of talented musicians with complicated music full of improvisations.
Here's a small 2 mins video of a nice fast bluegrass solo, hope you like it:
The Nature of Bluegrass Guitar
It caters several forms, like the classical, fingerstyle, bluegrass and many more. Each of these forms are unique in their own ways. The bluegrass is known for its originality and human touch. It is essentially played in a band along with other musical instruments. The style is quite like the country style of music. Though it's not a very fast paced rhythm, the music has a certain zing and effervescence at the core of it. This makes it a very interesting variant to hear. In order to learn to play bluegrass guitar you need have the specific taste for this kind of music.
If you are opting for the bluegrass genre, chances are that you have already been playing guitar for a while and are aware of the bare basics. That makes it easier to grasp. However, even if you have picked up the instrument for the first time, there are courses which offer you absolutely preliminary tips as well. They begin from which guitar to procure, how to maintain it, holding techniques while playing and how to tune it properly. Then they start teaching you how to play.
Most people believe that all guitar players should have bluegrass guitar lessons. Those who are already experienced and already capable guitar players are at an advantage. They can easily teach themselves using books and other instruction materials on bluegrass music.
Using Books to Learn Bluegrass Guitar
Actually, learning to play bluegrass using books is a well-respected tradition. These instructional books are usually accompanied by disks (DVDs or CDs) and music sheets. However, beginning guitar players will find that some disks do not offer enough music pieces for them to pick up the bluegrass so the practice they get is inadequate.
Learning with the help of guitar books is a lasting trend. People have been taking to the book and CD combination, to guide them through bluegrass for almost the last thirty years. Though, the initial CDs were kind of primitive with limited music pieces, now things have undergone a tremendous change. The modern CDs have a huge variety of music on offer. There are songs played in the slow, moderate and fast tempo for learners of all stages. Once you are confident with the slow one, you graduate to playing with the fast tempo songs. This gives you progressive practice and keeps you motivated. In some CDs the songs are played twice, once on the lead guitar and then again on the rhythm. This gives ample practice. The music is also enjoyable and fun, which makes learning easier.
The books guide you through the theoretical part, straight into the actual act of playing. The initial lessons deal with the chords and picks and eventually lead you into some basic runs. After this, you are directly guided into playing a bluegrass tune. Too much of theoretical knowledge might confuse you and scare you while playing the actual instrument. These books will surely help you learn to play bluegrass guitar.
For beginners, instruction (whether live, online or using instructional disks) on the basics of guitar playing is necessary. These different methods of instruction, though, usually have options for knowing the more advanced techniques of playing bluegrass. Recently released books on bluegrass music have disks with various tracks, which include those in slow and moderate tempo, ideal for beginner players and can give them ample practice.
When looking for a book to give bluegrass guitar lessons, look for the ones which give the basic lessons on guitar picking and strumming as well as other technicalities. It is important that these books make you play a bluegrass tune immediately, so that you can have results right away and be motivated by your progress. The tunes should also be written in both the music notation and tablature formats to make it easier for the learner.
The benefits of playing Bluegrass music
Learning to play bluegrass music can offer many benefits, including:
- It can improve your music listening skills and help you recognize the notes and chords in a song.
- It can develop your skills in doing adlibs or improvisations in guitar playing.
- It can help in mastering other musical genres, particularly the ones which benefit from improvisations such as jazz.
- Since playing bluegrass kind of requires more attention to tempo and timing, you will feel obliged to improve upon that area more so than before.
- Being a fast paced, “physical” type of music, it will enhance your stamina and your hands and fingers agility on the guitar even more.
Bluegrass as a genre is a kind of classical, folk style of music played mainly on the acoustic guitar. To learn it from books, it's highly recommended to have some kind of background on the guitar, or a previous experience of guitar playing, because the genre in its nature, similar to Jazz, incorporates improvisations and techniques that might leave a total beginner so overwhelmed and confused, and though the modern bluegrass books might be accompanied by some good instructional CDs and DVDs, it might not be enough for someone who have zero background in guitar playing.
Let me know what do you think of learning bluegrass from books, what is your favorite method of learning this style, or if you are a bluegrass guitar player yourself, why not share your experience with us and how did you decide to pick this style to play on the guitar, and how did you learn it. Share it all with us in the comments section below.