New Jazz, Bluegrass, and Theory Lessons! 

We've successfully found ways to integrate all of the blue notes we set out to include. I've covered those and the techniques we used in this chart: (Click to see chart.)  

The only notes from the chromatic series that haven't been included are G# and C#. In this lesson I'll endeavor to include those notes in an effective manner so we can utilize the entire chromatic scale when soloing in any key. Continue reading...

This is another classic Tony Rice lick, you not only hear this one played by the master himself but it is constantly repeated by Tony Rice disciples. It's frequently used as a bold trail off in breaks to vocal songs. If you start the lick slightly before or even after your solo should end it extends the length of your break in a very dramatic fashion. 

Notice the lick is at it's core, an arpeggio of a G chord. It ends with some quick blue notes and then closes with the escape route technique covered in my Descending The Neck video. Continue reading...

So in the first lesson of this series we answered the question "What are modes?" and we found shapes for all seven of them. Let's talk about some of the modes in particular now. Which modes do you know? You likely already know two modes: major and minor (or Ionian and Aeloian). For instance, the G major scale and its relative minor, the E minor scale, share the same scale tones but resolve at different points. Easy. The other 5 scale tones in G major are 5 different possible modes to make from the G major scale. Let's look at all of them here. Continue reading...


Lessons With Marcel Sponsors Bellingham Folk Festival 

This year is the second year that I will be involved with the annual Bellingham Folk Festival, and this year, I'm happy to announce that it will be at a much greater capacity!  

I have become a sponsor this year, which means you'll be seeing my information all over the festival and that attendees have a chance to win some free guitar lessons with me. In addition to being a sponsor I will be teaching a workshop on bluegrass guitar; which will be very similar to my work with the Bellingham Folk School, where I, and other instructors teach monthly workshops. At the festival you can also catch me performing with Nakos Marker in our duo project; Marcel and Nakos. And lastly, there is an unconfirmed rumor I will be sitting on a panel with the wonderful fiddle player, Kat Bula, where we will discuss how to discover and practice music as an adult beginner.  

The festival is in December in Bellingham, WA. You can find tickets here.

New Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Tabs for Sale! 

Angeline the Baker is a song written by Stephen Foster and published in 1850. It has become an American fiddle tune standard and will most likely be called at any bluegrass jam you attend. Having a break that is more than the standard melody is a must. 

This arrangement includes a simple version of the melody perfect for someone new to fiddle tunes or the player looking for an arrangement with no flourishes to embellish themselves.

This tune has a legendary origin story. It is said that a young Canadian fiddle player was playing with an old man until the dawn with the aid of libation before finally passing out. When finally awoken, the young fiddler remembered the last tune the old man had taught him but not the name. He gave the tune the new name "Whiskey Before Breakfast" (and made some alterations to fill in the gaps his mind didn't remember as clearly) it soon became widely known in America and is now a fiddle tune standard. 

Here is a simple version of the melody written for guitar. It has no frills and is intended as a base for you to build your own arrangement on top of.


A nineteenth-century printing of Flop Eared Mule calls it "Detroit Schottische". Twentieth-century sets usually call the tune "Flop-Eared Mule" or "Lop-Eared Mule" lucky for me these names are much easier to spell. This is one of the semi-rare tunes that modulates from the key of G in the A part to the key of D in the B part. It also frequently falls under the breakdown category. 

The melody in this arrangement is fairly straightforward but it provides you with a direct way to conquer the key change from A part to B part.


Sugar Foot Rag is a song written by Hank Garland and Vaughn Horton. Originally recorded by Garland and released in 1949, it sold over a million records. It was also recorded by Jerry Reed and released in 1979. 

This version is based on a recording from Scotty Turner's private collection of Jimmy Bryant. This recording, like many by Jimmy Bryant, is constantly being accused of having the tape sped up. However, many industry professionals attest that not only are the tapes unaltered but when challenged to a contest of speed Jimmy could play his hits faster than the recordings. In the first 40 seconds of the recording listed above, Jimmy Bryant plays 350 notes in three distinct breaks to Sugar Foot Rag. At the speed Jimmy plays, he averages out to almost 10 notes a second. Those are the three breaks sold in this tab.



Marcel and Nakos, Private Party

Marcel and Nakos are a duo from Bellingham, WA. Comprised of a guitar and a dobro, the two reminisce and draw inspiration from early American music. They play quick, crisp bluegrass and swing and croon a worrisome, honest blues and country.


Bellingham Folk School Workshop, Improv Lab: Blues

Bellingham Folk School, 1208 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, Wa

The fourth Wednesday of every month Marcel will be introducing new genres to beginning improvisers. This class is aimed at those that can already play their instruments but have never improvised a solo before. We'll cover some basic theory of the monthly genre and some techniques you might use to solo in that genre concluding the class with a jam where all are encouraged to take turns soloing over a tune in a comfortable environment. October is Blues.


Marcel's Bluegrass Night

The Green Frog, 1015 N State St, Bellingham, WA 98225

The 4th Thursday of every month you can see Marcel and a rotating cast of all the best bluegrass players in Bellingham. Unrehearsed and with no excuses, live at The Green Frog!


Queen's Bluegrass, Kulshan Brewery

Kulshan Brewery, James Street, Bellingham

Queen's Bluegrass has been performing since the mid 1980's. The founder of the group, Ernest Queen passed away in 2015--we like to say he "has gone on before." Kevin Fazio and Aaron Maas, both longtime Queen's Bluegrass members, had the privilege of spending a good bit of time with Ernie in his final days. One of Ernie's final requests was that we "keep playing the music."


Broken Bow Stringband, Kulshan

Kulshan Brewery, James Street, Bellingham

Kulshan's favorite bluegrass band performs the first Wednesday of every month. Through the sounds of the banjo, mandolin, fiddle, bass and guitar they transport you back to a simpler time.

© Lessons With Marcel 2016