- String School
- Instruments & Gear
- News & Reviews
- Featured Videos
Learn to play solos to any bluegrass song in any key with Sharon's intermediate-level method for learning the fingerboard, based on arpeggios, chop-chord shapes, and double stops.
Sharon Gilchrist has long made her home in the American acoustic music scene. Whether she’s playing mandolin, thumpin’ the upright bass, singing a traditional ballad, or performing one of her original pieces, her music is steeped in traditional Appalachian sounds, delivered with a distinct spacious, graceful, and fiery style all her own. Sharon has performed with Darol Anger, Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet, Uncle Earl, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, the Kathy Kallick Band, and many others. She is also a respected mandolin teacher and has taught at music camps throughout the US.
In this video, Sharon shows you how to harmonize the melody of “I’ll Fly Away” with double stops. With Notation/Tab
Peghead Nation is creating a library of accompaniment videos (and downloadable MP3s) for songs and tunes that are taught on the site, classics that you'll find at many jams and picking parties. As a subscriber, you have access to this library and can use the tracks to practice playing tunes and songs at a slow or medium tempo with guitar accompaniment. New songs will be added regularly.
A subscription to Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method includes:
Get started now! Use promo code “SharonLand” at checkout and get your first month free or $20 off an annual subscription. Subscribe to Intermediate Bluegrass Mandolin today for access to all of these bluegrass mandolin lessons.
INTRO TO THE BLUEGRASS MANDOLIN FINGERBOARD METHOD
BLUEGRASS SONGS 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.
Long Journey Home The bluegrass standard “Long Journey Home” comes from the Monroe Brothers: Bill Monroe and his brother Charlie, and was recorded by them in 1936. You’ll learn it here in the key of G using the same shapes you’ve been using in the key of D, but over a string. Sharon explains how to move everything you’ve learned so far to the key of G, showing you where the roots, arpeggios, and double stops are. After showing you the chords and basic melody of “Long Journey Home,” she walks you a through a double-stop solo.
On and On Bill Monroe recorded the song “On and On,” which has become a bluegrass standard, in the key of A, so that’s where you’ll learn it, using the L shapes, arpeggios, and double stops you’ve used for the keys of G and D. It is, of course, common to play solos in open position in the key of A, but it’s good to know the up-the-neck shapes in A (with your index finger at the seventh fret) so you can easily move between the two positions. Before showing you the basic melody of “On and On” Sharon shows you the L shapes and arpeggios in the key of A. Then she shows you how to harmonize the melody of “On and On” with double stops, giving you a few ideas about alternate rhythms in your phrasing.
Bury Me Beneath the Willow Sharon uses the bluegrass standard “Bury Me Beneath the Willow” to show you how to move out of the basic closed-position fingerings you’ve been learning to other nearby positions. After showing you the basic melody of “Bury Me Beneath the Willow,” Sharon shows you how to harmonize the melody of “Bury Me Beneath the Willow” with double stops and some melodic embellishments and a typical Bill Monroe ending lick.
In the Pines Sharon uses the folk and bluegrass standard “In the Pines” to show you another common way to move out of the closed-position L-shape fingerings you’ve been learning. “In the Pines” is in waltz time (3/4) and you’ll learn it in the key of D. After walking you through the melody and showing you how it relates to the chord progression, Sharon shows you how to harmonize the melody of “In the Pines” with double stops and some melodic embellishments, also showing you where you can move out of the L shape to a nearby double stop. She also gives you ideas for starting to improvise and create variations on the solo.
Your Love Is Like a Flower Sharon revisits the two extensions you’ve learned (places you can move out of the basic closed position fingering), using the Flatt and Scruggs song “Your Love Is Like a Flower.” In addition to showing you how to harmonize the melody of “Your Love Is Like a Flower” with double stops, Sharon shows you how to vary the basic double-stop solo with melodic embellishments, rhythmic variations, sliding double stops, Monroe licks, and more.
Sitting on Top of the World In this lesson, you’ll learn a solo to the bluegrass classic “Sitting on Top of the World” in the key of B, which is not an unusual key for bluegrass bands. Sharon starts by showing you which open strings can be used in the key of B and the closed-position L shapes, scales, double stops, and arpeggio patterns in the key of B. Then she shows you the basic melody and chords of “Sitting on Top of the World,” how to harmonize the melody of “Sitting on Top of the World” with double stops, and how to vary the basic double-stop solo for with melodic variations, seventh chord double stops, Monroe licks, and more.