Ron Block Online Guitar Workshop Session Two
Part One - Bluegrass Lead Guitar
I. Melody - Tone - Timing - Taste - Technique
A. Influences are crucial - some of my early bluegrass influences are George Shuffler, Bill Napier, Larry Sparks, Clarence White.
1. Napier’s “Over in the Gloryland.”
2. Larry Sparks’s “Smoky Mountain Memories.”
3. Clarence White’s “Take a Whiff On Me.”
B. Questions for a good solo: Is this memorable? Is this melodic? Does this fit the lyrics and emotion of the song?
C. Right and left hand technique
1. Check belief/
2. Lego blocks, Lego blocks.
3. Slow motion practice/
4. Economy of motion.
5. Ways of releasing tension - posing - no tempo practice - body scan - stretches.
6. The rest stroke - especially good for slow tunes.
Part Two - Fundamental Practice Techniques
I. Four Ways of Practice - Metronome/Recordings/Solo/With Other People
A. Playing with a metronome or drum machine.
Metronomes and drum machines
a. Metronome/DM keeps perfect time and doesn’t respond or adjust to you. b. Which is best, metronome or DM?
c. Why I now generally use a metronome in practice.
Drum machine variations:
a. Boom-tick-boom-tick (kick-snare-kick-snare) b. Boom-( )-boom-( )
c. Boom-( )-( )-( )-boom-( )-( )-( )
a. G scale - one note per click at 60 b. G scale - two notes per click
c. G scale - three notes per click
d. Et cetera.
B. Learning from and Practicing with Recordings
1. The importance of transcribing.
a. Amazing Slow Downer or !Transcribe!
b. Listen a lot before transcribing.
c. Lego blocks again. Transcribe small pieces if necessary.
2. Playing along with recordings
a. Albums with good timing can move a bit, but they don’t respond or adjust to you.
b. Make sure you don’t have the album volume up too high.
c. Choose albums with really solid timing.
C. Playing Solo
1. You are the sole timekeeper playing from your internal sense of time.
2. Record yourself and check your timing. Play along. Are you easy to play with?
D. Playing with Others
1. They respond to you, and you respond to them.
2. This is one of the best kinds of practice - jamming with good players.