What to do with all of that time? Check out the lessons, tunes, and techniques to learn in our guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, dobro, ukulele, and bass courses.
by Dan Gabel
March 05, 2020
NEW LESSONS JUST ADDED TO THE STRING SCHOOL!
Each month, our instructors add new tunes, in-depth technique lessons, and play-along tracks to many of our courses. Check out this month's additions below.
Abe’s Retreat | The fiddle tune “Abe’s Retreat” comes from the old-time repertoire and dates back to the Civil War. Scott often plays it as a solo guitar tune in A, without a capo. You’ll learn it in two octaves.
Chicken à la Swing | In this first installment of a three-part lesson on the classic guitar duet “Chicken à la Swing,” recorded in 1937 by Dick McDonough and Carl Kress, you’ll learn the first three of six parts as played by McDonough.
Using a Capo | Learn how to play in different keys in DADGAD by using a capo. For example, with the capo at the second fret, you can play tunes in E minor; at the fifth fret you get DADGAD sounds in the key of G.
Daley’s Reel | “Daley’s Reel” is a fiddle tune likely of Canadian origin in the key of Bb. It’s great for getting familiar with the key of Bb, and is a good bootcamp for your pinky.
Bluesy Pentatonic Lick in All Bluegrass Keys | Chad shows you a bluesy lick that uses the pentatonic scale and how to play it over a I–IV–V–I progression in all the bluegrass keys: B, E, A, D, G, C, F, and Bb.
Your Love Is Like a Flower | Sharon shows you how to use ideas and licks you’ve learned in other solos to build your own solo on the bluegrass standard “Your Love Is Like a Flower.”
Sitting Alone in the Moonlight | Recorded by Bill Monroe in 1954, “Sitting Alone in the Moonlight” was one of his biggest hits and it continues to be a favorite in the bluegrass world to this day.
Sam I Am | Matt Flinner’s tune “Sam I Am” pushes the boundaries of contemporary bluegrass mandolin composition with interesting chordal movement, tricky melodic passages, and an A section with a lot of space.
Slipped Disc | John marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great jazz mandolinist Jethro Burns with a swingin’ Benny Goodman tune Jethro recorded with banjoist Larry McNeely.
The Home Ruler | The hornpipe “The Home Ruler” is usually paired with another hornpipe, “Kitty’s Wedding,” which you’ll learn in the next lesson. Both are in the key of D with a classic hornpipe structure.
Perdido | The jazz standard “Perdido,” written by Duke Ellington’s trombonist Juan Tizol, is a jam session favorite. Aaron’s arrangement features chordal hits punctuating the single-string melody.
Intro to the Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method, Part 1: The L Shape | Sharon talks about the basic concept of her Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method, which teaches intermediate bluegrass mandolin players how to walk into jam sessions and play solos to any bluegrass song in any key. The method uses shapes and patterns that you may already be familiar with, but Sharon shows you how to use those patterns (chords, scales, and double stops) in different places on the neck and construct melody-based solos from them. She starts by explaining “the L shape,” a concept Sharon got from mandolinist John Moore that gives visual representation to the roots of the I, IV, and V chords on the fingerboard.
Intro to the Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method, Part 2: Arpeggios | In this lesson, Sharon shows you how to use the L shape to easily find arpeggios for the I, IV, and V chords in the key of D: D, G, A. She gives you a couple of exercises to help you practice moving between the arpeggios of the D, G, A chords.
Intro to the Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method, Part 3: Double Stops | Once you know the arpeggios based on the L shape, you can easily find double stops to harmonize the melodies of the songs you’re playing. Sharon shows you two handy double stops in the L shape for D, G, and A, and gives you a couple exercises using them.
Intro to the Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method, Part 4: Simple I–IV–V Solo In this video, Sharon gives you a simple solo to play using the L-shape double stops, arpeggios, and scales you’ve learned for D, G, and A.
I’ll Fly Away: Basic Melody and Chords, Harmonizing with Double-Stops, Play-Along Track | After learning the basics of playing arpeggios, scales and double stops using the L shape, it’s time to put the concept to use on some songs. In this lesson you’ll learn to play a solo on the bluegrass/folk/gospel standard “I’ll Fly Away” in the key of D. Since it’s in D, you already know the positions you’ll use for the solo, but Sharon starts by reviewing the basics of what you learned in the Intro to the Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method. Then she gives you advice on finding the melody of the song you want to build a solo for, and shows you the basic melody and chords of the verse and chorus of “I’ll Fly Away.”
Nine Pound Hammer, Part 1: Basic Melody and Chords, Harmonizing with Double-Stops, Play-Along Track | The song “Nine Pound Hammer” is one of the most popular bluegrass jam songs, and is played in a few different keys. The version you’ll learn here is in the key of D, so Sharon starts by reminding you of the L shapes, arpeggio patterns, and double stops in the key of D. Then she walks you through the melody and chords of the verse and chorus of “Nine Pound Hammer.”
Bill Cheatham | The fiddle tune “Bill Cheatham” is a bluegrass jam session favorite. You’ll learn a Scruggs-style version you can play at a fast tempo and a melodic-style version more like the way a fiddler would play it.
Seneca Square Dance | “Seneca Square Dance” initiates a series of students’ choice tunes, requests for tunes that Evie has gotten from students that are popular in jam sessions.
Mikrokosmos | Composer Béla Bartok wrote his Mikrokosmos as a series of piano exercises that start very simply and become more complex as they progress. The first six are great for practicing reading on the banjo.
“Arkansas Traveler” Melodic Style | Learn a melodic-style arrangement of the classic fiddle tune “Arkansas Traveler” in the key of D.
Margaret’s Musical Mecca | You’ll learn one of Chad’s original tunes, “Margaret’s Musical Mecca,” in this lesson. It’s a fun tune in the key of A, with some old-time bowing and drones.
Old Gnarly Oak | “Old Gnarly Oak” is one of Chad’s original tunes, a fast bluegrass fiddle tune in A modal that includes some cool bow crossings and rhythmic punctuation.
Cranberry Rock | “Cranberry Rock” comes from West Virginia fiddler Burl Hammons. It’s in the key of C and has some phrases familiar from other C tunes.
Variations on “Little Rabbit” | Mike shows you some embellishments and variations on the fiddle tune “Little Rabbit” that fill in the melody and add to the rhythmic feel.
Lean on Me | The bass line to Bill Withers’s hit song “Lean on Me” follows the rhythm and shape of the melody. It’s also good practice for playing scales in the key of C.
PLAY-ALONG RHYTHM TRACKS - Available to all subscribers. Guitar accompaniment video, downloadable audio, and chord charts for popular bluegrass, old-time, and roots tunes and songs.
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