Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jerusalem Ridge

Lots of people consider this tune to be Bill Monroe's magnum opus.  It's a difficult one, especially because it has several crooked parts in it.  It helps to listen to it a while before you try to play it.  The definitive version is probably on the album "Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe" (with a nice, more banjo-centric, arrangement on the tribute album "Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe"), and another great version is on the excellent Tony Rice Unit record "Unit of Measure".

It's in the key of A minor, and the chords lay out like this (the measure in parentheses are 2/4 measures):

||: Am | Am | Am | E | Am | Am | Am | E Am :||                      A part
||: Am | Am | Am | Am E | Am | Am | Am | E Am :|| (Am)       B part
| Am | D | C E | Am | Am | D | C G | Am |                             C part
||: Am | Am | C | C | Am | Am | Am | E Am | Am | C |(E)| Am | Am :||   D part

Notice that there is no repeat on the C part, just once through.  Also, at the end of the B part, there's an extra 2/4 measure (2 beats) of Am where the melody note rings a little longer.

Here's a guitar tab I wrote for the tune in the lower register:  Jerusalem Ridge guitar tab
Still working on an upper register arrangement.

And some Youtubes:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Wildwood Flower

I understand that this is the very first flatpicking tune than many learn.  It's a beautiful tune, and I love playing it.  It was popularized (at least in the modern recorded era) by the Carter family, and covered by just scads of bluegrass folks.  One of my favorite versions to listen to is on the Tony Rice & David Grisman album "Tone Poems".

Wildwood Flower 150 bpm
Wildwood Flower 160 bpm
Wildwood Flower 170 bpm
Wildwood Flower 180 bpm
Wildwood Flower 185 bpm
Wildwood Flower 190 bpm
Wildwood Flower 195 bpm
Wildwood Flower 200 bpm
Wildwood Flower 205 bpm
Wildwood Flower 210 bpm
Wildwood Flower 215 bpm
Wildwood Flower 220 bpm
Wildwood Flower 225 bpm
Wildwood Flower 230 bpm
And a zip file of all tempos (25.7 MB)

The chords are a bit harder than most fiddle tunes, because of some "bluegrass measures" in the song.  They show up as an extra measure at the end of each line.  It helps to listen to this song a while so you can feel the chord changes.

| C | C | G | C | C |   (notice, 5 measures)
| C | C | G | C | C |
| C | C | F | C |         (no 5th measure this time!)
| C | C | G |C | C |

For guitar--Mike Stangeland & Kim Davis, Brad Davis
For mandolin


My take on guitar & mando

The Carter Family

Thanks for your support!

I just wanted to take a second and thank those very generous readers who supported our adoption fundraiser (http://becomingmorethanfour.blogspot.com/2013/12/giveaway-announcement.html).  The fundraiser was very successful, and raised about $21,000, which will cover the large majority of our expenses for travel and administration in eastern Europe.  This is a huge weight off our shoulders.  Thanks very much.  Sutton, I'm sorry to report that you didn't win a prize.  I will take the original adoption fundraiser post off the blog later tonight, and we'll return to our usual flatpicking content!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jerusalem Ridge tab

My picking buddy and I have started working on tunes from the classic album "Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe", and this is the first new-to-me tune I'm starting with.  This is a lower-register break for guitar, an amalgamation of several different arrangements I looked at.  I will add an upper-register break after I get this one down, and put some rhythm tracks up soon (after Wildwood Flower rhythm tracks).

Jerusalem Ridge guitar tab (pdf)
Jerusalem Ridge guitar tab (guitarpro)

There's a lot of weirdness in this tune--several 2/4 measures thrown into a 4/4 song, and a D major in an A minor key song.  It seems some play D minor instead of the major in the third part.