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Bluegrass Back-Up

Posted by Joe Larson on Friday, January 31, 2014

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Read Jody Hughes" Blog entry http://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/home.asp?id=3881,

Some thoughts on learning to play back up.

First and foremost, underlined with exclamation points and lit up like a neon sign -

IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU, THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED BACK UP. Your job when you're not the lead instrument is to support the lead vocal or instrument. Also you should keep the drive going. You can do this by rolling open chords in the background and keeping the licks to a minimum.

Learn your closed chords. Those are the so-called F, D, and Barre shapes. Why closed chords? Because you have more control over a fretted note than one played on an open string.

 Be able to play G, C and D each in three different places on the neck with each of the chord shapes.

When in doubt, Vamp, especially if the Mando takes a break. No one's going to accuse you of getting in the way if you can do a decent Vamp.

When you can vamp, you can add a little roll as in T, PINCH, 1,2,3,2, etc.

Take on the fancy stuff only after you can do all of the above. And keep it to a minimum.

And maybe even more important than everything else, listen.

 

 



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