Sponsored By
Intermediate Bluegrass Mandolin
with Sharon Gilchrist
About This Course
Learn to play solos on classic bluegrass songs and instrumentals using bluegrass mandolin techniques like tremolo, double stops, two-string melodies, and more.
Try a Sample Lesson
In this lesson you’ll learn the bluegrass standard “I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky” using a common technique in bluegrass mandolin: playing melodies on two pairs of strings. Sharon starts this lesson by talking about the basic right-hand technique for playing two pairs of strings at a time. She shows you how to keep the pick out on the edge of the strings and not let the pick dig in past the strings as well as how to slightly rotate your wrist so you can play all four strings (both pairs) at once. Sharon also gives you advice on practicing this technique with a metronome, with some ideas for exercises you can do.
Meet the Instructor
Sharon Gilchrist
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.
Peghead Play-Along Tracks
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.
The Intermediate Bluegrass Mandolin Subscription Includes:
  • More than 60 intermediate bluegrass mandolin video lessons
  • More than 40 great bluegrass tunes and songs to play
  • New lessons added every month
  • Extensive right- and left-hand technique lessons
  • Notation and tab provided for most lessons (all but the first five tunes)
  • High-quality video with multiple camera angles so you can see close-ups of both hands in action
  • Play-Along videos so you can practice what you’ve learned
  • Downloadable audio MP3s of each tune
$20/Month For One Course
Additional courses only $10/month each!   •   Save 20% with an annual subscription
Get started now!
Use promo code SharonLand at checkout
and get your first month free or $20 off an annual subscription.
Intermediate Bluegrass Mandolin Course Outline
In five introductory lessons, you’ll learn how to hold the mandolin and pick comfortably and get in-depth advice on picking-hand and fretting-hand technique, with exercises that get you started off right and help you develop efficient technique for both hands.  
Sharon talks about her Gilchrist mandolin as well as the picks and strings she uses. Built by Australia’s Stephen Gilchrist (no relation), Sharon's 1991 F-style mandolin has been her primary instrument since 1994.
The closed “chop” chords known as “Monroe chords” (after Bill Monroe) are what give your rhythm mandolin that classic bluegrass chop sound or bark. You’ll the Monroe chord shapes for G and C, and since they’re closed chords (with no open strings) you can move them around the neck to play any major chord. You’ll also get advice on fingering the chords easily and exercises to increase finger strength and get you used to stretching out your pinky.
Rest Strokes 
The rest stroke comes from classical mandolin and guitar technique but is used by many bluegrass mandolinists and guitarists. To play a rest stroke you pick through both strings and then rest your pick on the next string over. This allows you to get the deepest possible tone from your instrument. With simple exercises using a G major scale.

Review the G major, A major, D major, and C major scales and learn to practice the A major scale by stretching from your ring finger to pinky, which is useful for playing chop chords as well as scales. You’ll also learn some simple exercises for developing strength in your pinky.

Learn some exercises that can help you work on your tremolo. Sharon learned these exercises from classical mandolinist Caterina Lichtenberg, and she gives you lots of great technical advice on playing tremolo.

Learn some great bluegrass instrumentals heard in jam sessions around the world. With play-along tracks for every tune. You'll learn these tunes by ear; there's no tab or notation provided for the first five lessons. Learning by ear is a great way to train your ears to learn this music that has always been passed down by ear. 
Clinch Mountain Backstep

This bluegrass standard comes from the great banjo player Ralph Stanley, but it has a simple modal melody that suits all instruments. It has an extra beat in the second part and you’ll learn to “ghost” a note with your picking hand to make sure you get the timing right.


Soldier’s Joy

A must-know tune in the bluegrass and old-time world, “Soldier’s Joy” is in the key of D, and in addition to learning the melody, you’ll learn the D major scale in two octaves.


Midnight on the Water

The beautiful waltz “Midnight on the Water” comes from legendary Texas fiddler Benny Thomasson. You’ll learn how to use tremolo to play it and how to add drone notes to the melody.


Whiskey Before Breakfast

The fiddle tune “Whiskey Before Breakfast” is a popular tune among all sorts of roots musicians. The chords to “Whiskey Before Breakfast” change fairly often, especially in the B part. Sharon shows you a handy way to memorize them so that they don’t seem so random. You’ll also learn a few simple variations on the A and B parts.


Bluegrass is primarily a vocal-oriented music, so in addition to learning to play fiddle tunes and instrumentals you’ll need to learn to play breaks to songs.
Wayfaring Stranger

The old hymn “Wayfaring Stranger” is a perfect tune to play on the mandolin with tremolo. It’s in the key of A minor, which sounds great on the mandolin, so you’ll learn an A minor scale and arpeggio before learing to add tremolo to the melody. 


I'm Going Back to Old Kentucky

Learn the bluegrass standard “I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky” using a common technique in bluegrass mandolin: playing melodies on two pairs of strings. You’ll learn the basic right-hand technique for playing two pairs of strings at a time, including how to keep the pick on the edge of the strings and not let the pick dig in past the strings, as well as how to slightly rotate your wrist so you can play all four strings (both pairs) at once. Then you’ll learn the melody to Bill Monroe’s “I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky” played on two strings in the key of A. With Notation/Tab


Uncle Pen

Bill Monroe wrote the song “Uncle Pen” about his uncle Pendleton Vandiver, a fiddler whose influence inspired Monroe to create bluegrass music. The solos are a little different than most bluegrass solos. Usually the fiddle will play the first part, which corresponds to the verse, while another instrument will play the chorus form. In this lesson, you’ll learn the fiddle melody to the verse and a solo to the chorus based on some of Bill Monroe’s solos. With Notation/Tab


“I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky” Variations

Learn three variations to “I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky” that including some of the arpeggios you’ve learned in previous lessons as well as folding scales, sequences, and some typical bluegrass mandolin licks. With Notation/Tab


If you’re having trouble with the fabled “death grip” (holding the mandolin so tight that you can’t move your hand freely on the fingerboard), Sharon gives you (and others) lots of advice on playing with good fretting-hand posture. She reviews basic fretting-hand posture, how she likes to hold the fretting hand to reduce tension, and gives you some ways to get out of the habit of pushing into the back of the neck and squeezing the neck.  
Bluegrass singers often sing in keys other than the usual keys of C, G, D, and A you’re probably used to playing in if you’ve mostly been playing fiddle tunes. So it’s important to be able to play in different keys. In these lessons you’ll learn how major scales and arpeggios are constructed so you can play them in any key, including two major scale finger patterns you can use anywhere on the neck. You’ll also learn about the importance of knowing about seventh chords, and how Bill Monroe used dominant seventh arpeggios to create a bluesy sound. In addition, Sharon gives you tips for practicing alternating between chords or arpeggios in the key of A. With Notation/Tab and/or Chord Diagrams
Scale Theory

When you play the notes of a chord one at a time, that is called an “arpeggio.” In this lesson, Sharon explains how chords and arpeggios are built, using the key of A. She shows you the I, IV, and V (A, D, E) chords in A and the seventh chords that correspond to the I, IV, and V chords. With Notation/Tab

Arpeggios in the Key of D

In this lesson, you’ll learn arpeggios for the major chords in the key of D, including a new arpeggio fingering. You already know arpeggios for the D and A chords (the I and V in the key of D), so you just need to learn a G arpeggio to have arpeggios for the I, IV, and V chords in the key of D. Sharon provides audio rhythm tracks for practicing your arpeggios in the key of D as well as changing between chords: D–G, D–A, G–A.


Billy in the Lowground

The popular fiddle tune “Billy in the Lowground” is in the key of C. You’ll learn how to kick it off and get tips on making the transition between the end of the A part and the beginning of the B part, as well as how to shift positions between phrases. With Notation/Tab


Jerusalem Ridge

Bill Monroe’s epic fiddle tune “Jerusalem Ridge” has four parts and is in the key of A minor, the relative minor of C. You’ll learn the version played by Monroe’s long-time fiddler Kenny Baker in this lesson, rather than the way Monroe played it on the mandolin. Baker’s version has become standard for all bluegrass instruments. With Notation/Tab


St. Anne’s Reel

The fiddle tune “St. Anne’s Reel” may come from the Celtic tradition, but it’s become a jam session standard in bluegrass and old-time circles. It’s in the key of D, so Sharon reminds you of the two-octave version of the D major scale. She also points out the small arpeggios that are part of the melody and some places where you should use finger planting. The chords to the second part of “St. Anne’s Reel” can be played in a few different ways, so you’ll learn the chords for each variation, and get play-along tracks for each version. With Notation/Tab


Gold Rush

The bluegrass fiddle tune standard “Gold Rush” comes from Bill Monroe and fiddler Byron Berline. Sharon gives you advice on learning by ear, suggesting that you try to learn these tunes by ear and only use the tab/notation as a reminder when you don’t have access to the video. She also shows you the distinctive rhythmic accent in the B part that is usually played by the rhythm section, and how to fill in the rhythm by adding some strums to the basic chop pattern. With Notation/Tab


Red-Haired Boy

The classic fiddle tune “Red-Haired Boy” is a popular bluegrass jam tune and one that every bluegrass picker should know. In addition to learning the melody, and a variation that includes a triplet, Sharon shows you how the chords to “Red-Haired Boy” match the melody, which alternates between an A Mixolydian sound (with a G natural) and A major (with a G sharp). With Notation/Tab


Temperance Reel

The fiddle tune “Temperance Reel” is originally from Ireland, but has become popular at bluegrass and old-time jams. It’s in the key of G and includes an E minor chord. The tune starts with a triplet and includes some tricky pick moves. You’ll learn how to pick the triplet and get advice on maintaining strict alternating picking as you work through the melody. With Notation/Tab


Lonesome Moonlight Waltz

One of Bill Monroe’s prettiest waltzes, “Lonesome Moonlight Waltz” has an unusual form and chord progression. The form is AABA and it moves between the keys of Dm and F. You’ll learn to play it out of an F major scale position with your index finger on the third fret. Sharon gives you advice on playing tremolo on the long notes, showing you how you can use a slower or quicker tremolo, and stresses the importance of ending the tremolo on a downbeat. With Notation/Tab


“Lonesome Moonlight Waltz” Harmonies

Bill Monroe’s recording of “Lonesome Moonlight Waltz” includes three fiddles playing the melody in harmony. In this lesson you’ll learn to play both of the harmony parts on the mandolin, beginning with the high harmony. Sharon also explains how to find harmonies by finding the next note in the chord above or below the melody. Includes play-along tracks for both harmony parts with Scott Nygaard playing the melody on the mandolin so you can hear how the two parts go together and play along. With Notation/Tab


Sail Away Ladies

There are many versions of the old-time fiddle tune “Sail Away Ladies.” This one comes from bluegrass fiddler Kenny Baker, who recorded it on his Baker’s Dozen album. You’ll learn how Kenny played it, along with a couple of variations. Sharon also gives you advice on how to pick some of the syncopated phrasing in both parts. With Notation/Tab


Stony Point

The fiddle tune “Stony Point” is popular with old-time and bluegrass musicians. It’s been recorded by numerous people, most famously for bluegrass pickers by Tony Rice on his 1978 album Manzanita. Tony’s version has two parts, the first of which is in Em and the second of which is in G. The old-time version, which you’ll learn here, goes by many names in addition to “Stony Point,” including “Wild Horse,” “Wild Horse at Stony Point,” etc. and reverses the order of parts while adding a short third part in G. With Notation/Tab 


Ashland Breakdown

Bill Monroe’s fiddle tune “Ashland Breakdown” is in the key of C major and has three parts. The first two parts use the second position, with your index finger on the third fret. Sharon’s version combines the fiddle version that fiddler Kenny Baker played on his classic album Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe with some of Monroe’s phrasing from his mandolin solo on that same album. With Notation/Tab


Up and Around the Bend

Béla Fleck’s tune “Up and Around the Bend” comes from his classic 1988 bluegrass instrumental album Drive, which featured Sam Bush on mandolin, Tony Rice on guitar, Mark Schatz on bass, and Mark O’Connor and Stuart Duncan on fiddles. In this lesson you’ll learn the melody as well as a harmony part that was played by one of the fiddlers. With Notation/Tab


Denver Belle

The fiddle tune “Denver Belle” comes from famed bluegrass fiddler Kenny Baker. It’s in the key of C, but modulates to the key of G for the B part. Sharon walks you through the melody and includes some minor variations on the A part that Kenny Baker played. She also gives you advice on playing the tricky triplet lick that the B part starts with. With Notation/Tab


Ashokan Farewell

The beautiful waltz “Ashokan Farewell” was written by fiddler Jay Ungar and famously featured in Ken Burns’ documentary The Civil War. In this lesson, you’ll learn the melody as well an upper harmony part you can use when playing “Ashokan Farewell” with another mandolinist or fiddler. Sharon shows you how she embellishes the melody with hammer-ons and tremolo and uses downstrokes to play a lot of the eighth-note melody lines. With Notation/Tab


Dusty Miller

There are many versions of the old-time fiddle tune “Dusty Miller.” This one comes from Bill Monroe, who recorded it in 1966. There are a lot of repeated notes in Monroe’s version so it makes a great exercise for keeping your pick strokes small and keeping the tip of the pick out on the surface of the string. Sharon walks you through the melody of “Dusty Miller,” pointing out the accents in Monroe’s playing and giving you advice on picking as she goes. With Notation/Tab


 Learn solos to songs by some of the great bluegrass mandolinists.
Old Home Place: Ricky Skaggs Solo

Ricky Skaggs’ solo on the 1975 JD Crowe and the New South recording of “Old Home Place” is a classic and illustrates many elements of his funky style, including some cool syncopations and bluesy, swingy licks. The solo is in the key of Bb, so you’ll learn three ways to play a Bb major scale as well as how to find a blues scale, which includes the flatted third, flatted seventh, and flatted fifth, in Bb. Then you’ll learn Ricky’s solo, including how to pick the syncopated phrases and get the timing right. With Notation/Tab


Walls of Time: Ricky Skaggs Solo

Ricky Skaggs’ solo on the Bill Monroe/Peter Rowan song “Walls of Time” (from Ricky’s album Ancient Tones) is a contemporary bluegrass mandolin classic, an update of Monroe’s classic style with lots of eighth-note downstrokes, triplets, position shifts, and bluesy licks. Sharon walks you through the solo, which is in the key of B, phrase by phrase, showing you how to play with all downstrokes on eighth notes, make the position shifts, pick the triplets, and play the cool lick that begins the second half of the solo, which combines a descending major scale with pedal tones using open strings. With Notation/Tab


Walls of Time: Bill Monroe Solo

Bill Monroe’s solo on his recording of “Walls of Time” includes a steady 16th-note tremolo, eighth notes played with downstrokes, and a number of his characteristic arpeggio licks, as well as some subtle syncopations and variations on phrases. Sharon gives you advice on playing the 16th-note tremolo by using your arm and wrist together and then walks you through the solo, which is in the key of C and starts with a quick 16th-note run up to the C on the second string. With Notation/Tab


Big Sandy River: Sam Bush Solo

The Sam Bush solo on the fiddle tune “Big Sandy River” you’ll learn in this lesson comes from a performance on the TV show Nashville Now featuring Doc Watson with an all-star band: Sam on mandolin, Doc and Pat Flynn on guitars, Ricky Skaggs on fiddle, Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka on banjos, and Edgar Meyer on bass. The way he plays the B part is a good example of how to use sevenths leading to thirds, which Sharon has talked about in her lessons on arpeggios. With Notation/Tab


Big Sandy River: Sam Bush Solo, Pick Exercises
In this lesson, Sharon uses some of the trickier passages in Sam Bush’s solo on “Big Sandy River” to create picking exercises, showing you how to practice the difficult passages in any tune you’re working on or learning. In particular, once you’ve learned a melody and are trying to get it up to speed it’s important to look for and practice string changes. Sharon goes through the Sam Bush solo phrase by phrase, finding the sections with tricky string changes and creating pick exercises out of them. With Notation/Tab

“Sail Away Ladies” Solos

You learned the melody to Kenny Baker’s version of the traditional fiddle tune “Sail Away Ladies” in a previous lesson. In this lesson, Sharon gives you two solos on “Sail Away Ladies” that demonstrate how she would improvise and/or compose a solo for “Sail Away Ladies.” The solos alternate phrases based on the melody with other phrases based on arpeggios of the underlying chord or scalar sequences. The second solo moves up the neck, finishing with a repeat of the basic B part melody. With Notation/Tab


Walls of Time: Sharon’s Solo

Sharon revisits the Bill Monroe/Peter Rowan song “Walls of Time” in this lesson to show you the solo she played on the Peter Rowan/Tony Rice Quartet recording of the song. Sharon’s improvised solo has lots of bluesy accidentals and slides and is very syncopated with some across-the-bar phrasing. She walks you through it phrase by phrase, showing you her fingering and picking, which includes a lot of consecutive downstrokes. With Notation/Tab


Chord inversions can add variety to your backup playing, providing an alternative to Monroe chords that create a feeling of harmonic motion and allow you to be more interactive and creative in whatever ensemble you’re playing in. You’ll learn three voicings of a major chord in this lesson, and learn to find those voicings for the I, IV, and V chords in the key of A in three “neighborhoods” on the fingerboard. Sharon also gives you ideas for combining and practicing inversions using a standard bluegrass chord progression that is used for songs like “Your Love Is Like a Flower,” “Bury Me Beneath the Willow,” and others. With Notation/Tab

Double stops are two-note partial chords that sound great on the mandolin and are helpful for getting a bigger chordal sound out of a simple melody line.

Double Stop Series
Sharon begins these lessons on double stops by showing you a double-stop series (short, medium, and long) for a G major chord on the top strings (A and E). These shapes were used often by Bill Monroe and have a definite bluegrass sound. Sharon gives you advice on fingering each shape and sliding from shape to shape, and gives you some exercises to help practice moving from shape to shape with her. You’ll also learn the G major double-stop series on the middle strings (D and A) and bottom strings (G and D). With Notation/Tab

Double Stop Neighborhoods
In this lesson, you’ll learn to find double stop “neighborhoods”: I, IV, and V chord double stop shapes that are closest to each other on the fingerboard. The first neighborhood Sharon shows you is based on the short G double stop on the top strings, which is combined with a long C double stop and a medium D double stop to make a double stop neighborhood in the key of G. The next double stop neighborhood is based on the medium G double stop shape on the top strings and the final neighborhood is based on the long G double stop. You’ll also learn seventh chord versions of the major double stop shapes in each of the three double stop neighborhoods and get some practice tracks using the song “Rocky Road Blues,” which has a 12-bar blues progression that’s also used a lot in bluegrass songs. With Notation/Tab

If I Should Wander Back Tonight

In this lesson, you’ll learn to create two solos for the bluegrass standard “If I Should Wander Back Tonight” in D using the melody and arpeggios in the key of D. Sharon starts by showing you the melody in two octaves, and then gives you some exercises on guide tones in the key of D, before showing you the solos she’s created. With Notation/Tab


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.” Sharon uses a phrase from Ricky Skaggs’s solo on “Old Home Place,” which Sharon taught in a previous lesson, as a springboard to creating a solo to “Your Love Is Like a Flower.” She starts by reminding you of the first half of Skaggs’s solo, and then shows you how she combines one of her favorite phrases in that solo with the melody, some typical bluegrass licks, and other ideas to create a unique solo for “Your Love Is Like a Flower.” With Notation/Tab


“If I Should Wander Back Tonight” Backup

In this lesson, you’ll learn to create a backup part for “If I Should Wander Back Tonight” with double stops that harmonize the melody line and fills between the melodic lines. Sharon starts by reviewing the double stops on each string in the key of D and the double stop “neighborhoods.” Then she talks about the importance of staying away from the singer’s melody notes, and shows you a backup part for “If I Should Wander Back Tonight” with harmony double stops and fills. With Notation/Tab


Bluegrass Stomp

Bill Monroe’s instrumental “Bluegrass Stomp” is a 12-bar blues in the key of D and the melody uses a lot of I, IV, and V arpeggios in the key of D, so it’s a great tune to practice some of the arpeggios you’ve been working on. It also has a lot of syncopation and some triplet phrases. Sharon walks you through the melody, phrase by phrase, showing you how to pick the syncopated and triplet lines. With Notation/Tab


“Bluegrass Stomp” Backup

Sharon shows you how to vary your backup chords on “Bluegrass Stomp” (or any 12-bar blues in D) using the chord inversions you learned in the lesson on Chord Inversions, which used the three inversions and “neighborhoods” in the key of A. Sharon shows you the three inversions of the major chords and the three inversion neighborhoods in the key of D, as well as the inversions of seventh chords. With Notation/Tab


Hartford’s Real

The instrumental “Hartford’s Real” was written by David Grisman and Sam Bush in honor of their good friend John Hartford. They recorded it on the album Hold On, We’re Strumming, which features lots of twin mandolin playing. With Notation/Tab


“Hartford’s Real” Harmony

“Hartford’s Real” was written and recorded by David Grisman and Sam Bush on their great twin-mandolin album Hold On, We’re Strumming, so it makes sense to learn the harmony line as well as the melody. The harmony part faithfully follows the melody, so if you’ve learned the melody it will make learning the harmony part much easier. With Notation/Tab


“Hartford’s Real” Solos

In this lesson, you’ll learn the solos that Sam Bush and David Grisman played on the first solo section of their recording of “Hartford’s Real.” For this section, which is one pass through the entire AABA form, Sam plays the first, second, and third A parts and Grisman takes the bridge. With Notation/Tab


My Father’s Footsteps

Bill Monroe’s instrumental “My Father’s Footsteps” was never recorded under Monroe’s name. Sharon’s version comes from banjoist Butch Robins, whose recording of the tune features Monroe on mandolin. Sharon also recorded the tune on her recording with fellow Peghead Nation instructors John Reischman and Scott Nygaard, Harmonic Tone Revealers. In this lesson you’ll learn the melody as well as the harmony part that Sharon played with John on the record. With Notation/Tab


Cattle in the Cane

The fiddle tune “Cattle in the Cane” is unusual in that the first part is in A major while the second part is in A minor. There are a few different versions, but Sharon learned hers from Tony Rice. She walks you through the melody, stressing the importance of fingerplanting in creating a smooth melodic line as you move across the strings and giving you advice on keeping your picking hand relaxed. With Notation/Tab


Road to Columbus

Bill Monroe’s tune “Road to Columbus” is a bluegrass standard in the key of A and a great jam session tune that hasn’t been overplayed. The version Sharon teaches you is based on fiddler Kenny Baker’s playing on the original Bill Monroe recording. With Notation/Tab


Forked Deer

The old-time fiddle tune “Forked Deer” is a popular tune at old-time and bluegrass jams around the world. It’s in the key of D, with a B part that starts on an A chord and an anticipated beat—beat four of the last measure of the previous A part. With Notation/Tab


“Forked Deer” Solo

In this lesson, you’ll learn a solo for “Forked Deer” that Sharon created using many of the ideas she’s covered in the course, including arpeggios, double stops, licks from other solos, etc.


New Camptown Races

The bluegrass mandolin instrumental “New Camptown Races” comes from mandolinist Frank Wakefield. It’s in the key of Bb, an unusual key for a mandolin tune, so Sharon starts by reminding you of the Bb major scale in Bb in open position, where much of the tune is played. The form of the tune is a little unusual too, with two A parts that are 16 measures long, and an eight-bar B part that is played only once, followed by the last half of the A part. With Notation/Tab


Old Ebenezer Scrooge

Bill Monroe’s instrumental “Old Ebenezer Scrooge” has four parts and is in the key of A, although the melody mostly uses notes in the A minor scale. The first part just has two phrases and is repeated four times. The phrases in the second part have a distinctive rhythm that Sharon demonstrates before walking you through the whole part. The third part of “Old Ebenezer Scrooge” starts with a big sliding chord, while the fourth part is like the first in that it just has two phrases that are repeated four times.


Yew Piney Mountain

The old-time fiddle tune “Yew Piney Mountain” is in the key of A and has some irregular phrasing. It’s what’s known in the old-time music world as a crooked tune. Sharon’s version comes from West Virginia fiddler Wilson Douglas and includes a lot of drone strings and some position shifts. With Notation/Tab


Maiden’s Prayer

Bob Wills took the old classical melody “Maiden’s Prayer” and turned it into a Western swing fiddle tune. It has since become popular in bluegrass, old-time and swing circles. In this lesson, Sharon shows you the melody and gives you some different ways to accompany it using chord inversions and passing chord motion. With Notation/Tab


The Road to Malvern

“The Road to Malvern” is an old-time fiddle tune in the key of A that comes from fiddler Jim Childress. Sharon recorded it with John Reischman and Scott Nygaard on their recording Harmonic Tone Revealers as a two-mandolin tune, Sharon playing harmony and John playing melody. You’ll learn both the melody and harmony parts in this lesson. With Notation/Tab


Old-Time Rhythm with Two-Finger Chords

Sharon shows you a style of backup using two-string chords with open strings, which is used a lot in old-time music. It can also be used to backup songs or as a variation in your usual bluegrass backup style. Sharon demonstrates the style using the fiddle tune “Soldier’s Joy” and the double-stop neighborhoods you’ve already learned. She starts by showing you how to play the old-time backup chords on the chord progression to “Soldier’s Joy” in three different neighborhoods, and then shows you how to mix up the neighborhoods and move from one to another smoothly.


Queen of the Earth, Child of the Stars

“Queen of the Earth, Child of the Stars” comes from old-time fiddler Edden Hammons, though it likely originated in Ireland. Sharon recorded it with John Reischman and Scott Nygaard on Harmonic Tone Revealers. It’s in the key of D and each part is 16 bars long and played only once. The melody includes some triplets and grace notes and the last phrase of each part has an extra beat. With Notation/Tab


Half Past Four

The old-time tune “Half Past Four” comes from Kentucky fiddler Ed Haley. Sharon recorded it with John Reischman and Scott Nygaard on Harmonic Tone Revealers. It’s in the key of A, with some G♮s as well as G♯s. Unlike many old-time fiddle tunes, the A part of “Half Past Four” has little repetition, while the B part is more repetitive. With Notation/Tab


“Half Past Four” Harmony

In this lesson, you’ll learn the harmony part for the old-time tune “Half Past Four” that Sharon played on Harmonic Tone Revealers with mandolinist John Reischman playing the melody. She also gives you suggestions for learning and memorizing the harmony.


Farewell to Trion - New Lesson

“Farewell to Trion” is an old-time fiddle tune in the key of C written by Alabama fiddler Joe Blaylock, with a third part written by fiddler James Bryan. The melody covers two octaves, moving between open position and the closed position with your index finger at the first fret, and the second part starts with a long measure of 6/4.



The traditional song “Greensleeves” has the same melody as the holiday song “What Child Is This?” In this lesson, Sharon shows you how to make a mandolin chord solo arrangement of the melody that you can play for friends and family at the holidays or any time of the year. You’ll learn a chord melody arrangement of “Greensleeves” in two octaves in this lesson. With Notation/Tab


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