Thursday, March 30, 2017

Updated: Beaumont Rag, Angelina Baker, Billy in the Low Ground

Still working my way through the list in descending order of how often they're used. If you try these and they work, or don't work, let me know?


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Updated: Jerusalem Ridge, Cherokee Shuffle, Blackberry Blossom, Whiskey Before Breakfast

I'm updating rhythm track links, starting with the ones most frequently visited in the last month.  I'll provide progress reports as I update more. Please let me know if something I thought I updated isn't working!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Dropbox changes

Hi, everybody.  Dropbox has changed a few things about how they share files, which unfortunately means that I have a lot of work to do to go back and change the links to every file I've posted so far.

I'm testing the new file sharing method with the blog post for "Drowsy Maggie". If you get a chance, can you try to play and/or download the Drowsy Maggie tracks, and reply on this post if it worked or not?


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Drowsy Maggie

This is an Irish tune in D (or E dorian?) I've been working on, and I've found it pretty hard.  Lots of string jumping. Unlike most reels I'be played, the structure is AB (repeat), rather than AABB (repeat). There seems to be quite a bit of variation in how this tune is played; I went with what seems like the most standard version.

Drowsy Maggie 150 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 160 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 170 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 180 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 185 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 190 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 195 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 200 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 205 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 210 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 215 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 220 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 225 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 230 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 235 bpm
Drowsy Maggie 240 bpm
And a zip file of all tempos (24.7 MB)

The chords:
| Em | Em D | Em | G D | Em | Em D | Em | G D |
| D A | D | D A | G D | D A | D | D | G D |

Guitar tab

Mandolin Tab

Versions from


Thursday, October 1, 2015


A Youtube viewer asked for the backing track to this video:

So, here's the backing track:


The chords go like this:

| C | Am | Fm | G | (repeat)

and then the bridge goes:

| F | F | Fm | Fm |
| C | C | C7 | C7 |
| F | F | Fm | Fm |
| G | Bb | G | G7 |

Monday, December 8, 2014


I'm looking forward to playing some contests in the coming year.  I want to play a couple of old arrangements and a couple of new arrangements, so I've been writing a little.  The four tunes I'm looking at are Red Haired Boy (which I've done before), Liberty (which I've also done before, but haven't actually played in a contest), Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine (new to me), and maybe Leather Britches (also new to me).

It seems like the two usual problems I have with contest playing are: 1) Not starting early enough, and 2) Nerves.

My plan is to write and practice long before contest season actually starts, and to play out as much as possible with the tunes I'm going to use.  I spent some time working out a practice schedule for myself, which I've already fallen behind.  It includes a little writing, a little working on tracks and youtubes for this blog, and a little focused practice on my contest tunes each day.

The practice routine looks like this:

1.  Play rhythm along with some of the tracks on this blog to warm up the wrist.  Various tempos, starting at very comfortable and working up to brisk.  5 minutes or so.

2.  John Moore exercises (link here) for 5 minutes or so.  Starting relatively slow, about 110-140 bpm.  Hopefully dials in pick accuracy.

3.  Play one section of a contest tune about 10 times.  By one section, I mean A part and repeat, B part and repeat.  Slowly at the beginning of the week and speed up as the week goes on.

4. Review last week's focus area at a comfortable tempo.

5.  Write a couple of bars on the new tunes.

6.  Write a couple of bars on whatever tune I'm working on for this blog.

7.  Record a couple of rhythm tracks for this blog.  Just finished up rhythm tracks for Nine Pound Hammer, I should be posting those soon.

I do all of this (except for the writing) to a metronome or rhythm track.  On the days I'm not at work, I'll try to fit in some time to just play along with tracks or go to a jam to slowly build my overall picking speed and comfort.

What am I missing?  What do you guys do to get ready for a performance?