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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: spicin' up that country

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yankee1 - Posted - 07/29/2007:  17:43:53

So I was at a jam last night that consisted of a lot of slower country/bluegrass ballads. Anyways, there was this one guitar player that was able to really spice up the songs with some sweet jazzy scales and all. He even added some diminished and major 7th chords in the right spots that blew us all away. Awesome stuff to say the least...

Well anyways, has anyone ever tried some of this stuff on the banjo? Has anyone used alternative chords as opposed to the simple G-C-D or D-G-A? And has anyone used some interesting scale work, and some descending/ascending melodic lines?


Ragaisis - Posted - 07/29/2007:  19:28:39

I end up doing this frequently. Passing chords are great - instead of a D-G chord change, play D-C-Bm-Am-G. Instead of C-D, you might want to try C-B-C-Db-D. You can also vary the picking. Mimic a mandolin tremelo by playing close to the neck (far from the bridge) and rapidly alternating the thumb on the third string and the first and second strings being simultaneously played by the index and middle right hand fingers. A blues run fits nicely into the country idiom (better than many jazz runs). You can add spice and flavor easily.

But the _most_ important thing to remember is NOT to do this and overpower the vocal lead. Country music is _not_ known for out front soloing. You have great tunes with great story. Don't get in the way of this. You fill in at the ends of lines or in open spots. A little goes a long way and TASTE is appreciated _much_ more than musical showmanship. ;-)

If you're able to pull this off, you'll be surprised at the number of jams to which you get an invite. You'll be given an "honored seat" for the jam - and you might not play even one solo...

Good pickin',


yankee1 - Posted - 07/30/2007:  10:00:58

Hey thanks a lot Chris. That was real helpful.

banjovy - Posted - 07/30/2007:  11:27:18

its called a real musician, that transcends music "styles", good tones are good tones, like u said, at the right spots.

Edited by - banjovy on 07/30/2007 11:28:11

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