View Full Version : "blues" type bluegrass solos

Dec-06-2005, 11:49am
Let me first say I am not a professional so some stuff may not be perfect. Anyone else that has input please post!

This is directed to Bluegrasstjej, but anyone else who needs help too. I think this can help with all types of bluegrass soloing.

Ok here is the natural G Major scale:

E|--------------------------------0 2 3-|
A|---------------------0 2 3 5---------|
D|-----------0 2 4 5-------------------|
G|-0 2 4 5-----------------------------|

And here is the G Major Blues scale

A|-------------------1---3 4 5--------|
D|------------0 3 5-------------------|
G|-0 3 5 6----------------------------|

Notice the changes in the notes. In the G Blues sclae you now have a flat 3rd(Bb), flat 7th(F natural instead of F#), and you have the C, Db, D combo(4th, flat 5th, natural 5th). When playing a break and you want if to sound bluessy you need to concentrate on the 3,5,7. You will want to play them flat and resolve them to their natural or major form by slidding from the flat to natural or hammering on. But don't play them all this way. If you play every 3,5 and 7 by playing them flat and resolving them it will sound redundant and just not what you are looking for.

Here is an example, it's a little lick in G.

D|-4--------4-2-0---|-2-0----- 5-||
# # # #|_|_|_| #|_|_|_| |_|_|_| # o

I then took it and used the G Major Blues scale and now I use this lick for endings and much more:

D|-3/4--------4\3-2-0---|-2p0---- 5-||
# # # # #|_|_|_| # #|_|_|_| # |_|_|_| #o

NOTE:the 3/4 and 4/3 in the 1st messure are played as 16th notes not 8th notes. But the 3/4 in the 2nd is played as regualr 8th notes.

As you can see, I have taken a normal G ending and turned it into a more bluessy, bluegrass ending/lick. I use these types of licks quite a bit, and the seem to work well.

Off the get go I start by sliding from a flat 7th into a natural 7th. Then the next couple of notes stay the same, but I then slid from a natural 7th into a flat 7th(although I am not resolving it here, it still works and fits the blues scale). Then notice at the start of the 2nd messure I use a pull off, not doing and changes to the notes, but it still gives it the bluessy feel. Then right after the pull off I slid from a flat 3rd(Bb) into a natural 3rd(B) and the whole things ends on the G. As you can see, using the G blues scale I simply made a few changes and the whole thing really comes together. It went from a noraml, kind of flat ending into a powered up stringer blues lick.

Try doing some similar things with fiddle tunes you know, endings and all other breaks and licks. Don't be afraid to try something new, sometimes it works and it really sounds good.

Anyone else that wants to weigh in, PLEASE do so...every little bit helps. And I by no means am a professional so I am too always looking for help creating good breaks.

Dec-06-2005, 12:58pm
The book "Beginning Mandolin" (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0739034723/ref=ord_cart_shr/104-0418338-7275124?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&v=glance&n=283155) by Greg Horne leads into bluegrass by first explicitly discussing blues; There are a couple nice tunes that he explains. I am looking forward to applying Defyngravity's remarks to the blues discussion in the Horne book

Dec-06-2005, 3:55pm
Thanks Dfyngravity!! You're a hero! I'll try this. Great stuff!

Dec-06-2005, 7:05pm
There is a sample of what I think your looking for on a site selling "Getting into Bluegrass Mandolin" by Dix Bruce.

Look at the 'Movable Blues' pdf and mp3 from the book here.. # # # http://www.musixnow.com/

I think this type of lick is what your looking for.

Sorry I don't know how to establish a link for you to the exact place. Just go to the "Sample Pages and Lessons" page.

Dec-07-2005, 12:04pm
very nice
This link gets you a little closer (http://www.musixnow.com/Getting%20into%20BG%20samplepage.html)

Dec-07-2005, 1:54pm

That is great stuff. Thanks, for the licks. I couldn't stop playing it last night, now I just have to find the right use for it.

Dec-07-2005, 2:07pm
I am glad I can help. By the way, you can move that lick up to start on the A string and now you have the same thing but in the key of D. And you can make slight changes to it and get great little lick for the key of A.

Pete Frostic, the mando player for Old School Frieght Train gave me this idea of coming up with little licks like this to incorporate with my playing to make taking breaks and filling in a little easier.

David M.
Dec-07-2005, 4:55pm
here's that pdf noted above. cool stuff.