Want to learn bluegrass guitar?

Take Lessons With Marcel

LWM has helped hundreds of guitar players get started flatpicking. You’ve found your online destination for instructional videos, fiddle tune arrangements, transcriptions of your favorite breaks, educational blog posts, and one-on-one Skype lessons.

LWM YouTube
Love a bluegrass guitar break? Let me make a tab for you!
Love a bluegrass guitar break? Let me make a tab for you!
Let's tab out your favorite bluegrass guitar breaks!
Let's tab out your favorite bluegrass guitar breaks!
Demystifying Bluegrass Slang For Newbies
Demystifying Bluegrass Slang For Newbies
Turning your favorite bluegrass guitar breaks into tabs!
Turning your favorite bluegrass guitar breaks into tabs!
Transcribing Anita, You're Dreaming by Clay Hess Band - Bluegrass Guitar Stream Highlights
Transcribing Anita, You're Dreaming by Clay Hess Band - Bluegrass Guitar Stream Highlights

Instructional guitar videos come out weekly on the LWM YouTube channel. You’ll find walkthroughs of your favorite breaks, live transcriptions, interviews with top players, and the occasional vlog of bluegrass events.

Tabs are released weekly at the Tab Store. You’ll find transcriptions of artists you know, original arrangements of fiddle tunes, and transcriptions ordered by other fans. Oh, and most of them are free!

If you can’t find a guitar teacher in your area you can get Skype lessons through LWM! There is sometimes a waitlist to talk to Marcel but if that’s the case, LWM will help you get in touch with another teacher.

Want to look stylish at your next bluegrass jam? LWM can help you with that too. Check out our selection of shirts with bluegrass designs or snag a bluegrass coffee mug for when you’re picking at the office.

Using Licks In A Bluegrass Song, Part Two

In part 1, we talked about how to add fill-in licks, either behind a vocalist, or between the phrases of the melody. In Part 2, we talk about how to replace part of the melody by using licks that match the chord of the song instead.

“What song is this again?”
Let’s face facts. Great bluegrass guitar players don’t always play the melody to the song. In fact, I might go as far as to say they usually don’t play the melody to the song. In this article, we are going to break down a way of thinking about bluegrass licks to help you go from a basic melody break into something that is a more exciting to listen to and play.

What we are going to do is replace part of the melody with a lick. We can choose almost any lick, as long as the lick matches the chord that happens at that point of the song.

Major Scale Patterns

I’d like to show you some of the more creative ways to play major scale patterns. Every competent guitar player at some point learns scale patterns and uses them as building blocks for improvisation. There are literally countless scale patterns and countless ways to incorporate them into your playing. This lesson touches on playing all of the different interval possibilities that show up in a major scale. I chose to arrange these examples in open C position to relate them to bluegrass flatpicking. I find the guitar open position to be a worthwhile mystery to unpack. If you take the time to master scales, patterns, and licks in open position you will be able to incorporate the ideas into your existing bluegrass language. These ideas, for example, will remind you of C position fiddle tunes such as “Billy in the Lowground.”

8 Licks Tony Rice Loved To Play

In December of last year, Tony Rice passed away. He was/is my all-time favorite guitarist. Like many of his fans, my love of his playing has likely transcended obsession. In fact, at the time of writing this, I have transcribed over 100 Tony Rice solos. That puts me in a unique position to share with you not only my favorite Tony Rice licks but what I think might be Rice’s favorite licks, if the frequency with which he played them is any indication.

These examples can be found in almost every Tony Rice break. They are integral to his sound and they can become part of your sound too. This comes with one small warning though: These licks are not meant to be parroted off this page. A big hallmark of this sound is to use these phrases but to vary them, and create your own versions of them. Let’s remember Rice by innovating on his past achievements the same way he innovated on the achievements of the players that came before him.

Using Fill-in Licks in a Bluegrass Song

This is a three-part series on how to use licks in bluegrass songs. Part one focuses on fill-in licks, and how they can be used to add energy and style to a melody. In part two, we abandon the melody altogether and learn how licks can be used instead when they follow the chord progression. Finally, in part three, we will study how to make small changes to licks to make them fit into a song better.

Whiskey Before Breakfast in EVERY key

Have you ever been told to learn a song in every key? It’s often talked about but rarely done. Few things can improve your knowledge of the fretboard more than working out all your favorite licks and tunes in as many keys as you can. For this article I’ve taken a simple melody version of “Whiskey Before Breakfast” and arranged it in literally EVERY key!

Chord Melody For Flatpickers

Sometimes when I play a slower song, a single-note melody can seem pretty sparse. Chord melodies are a great way to fill out a tune. Sometimes we bluegrassers might think of chord melody as a complex jazz guitar technique, but once you’ve learned the process, you’ll find that it’s not difficult to create rich-sounding chord melodies on bluegrass, country, and folk songs.

The concept of chord melody is simple: you add a chord, or sometimes just a part of the chord, to the melody of the song. In the jazz tradition, the melody is always the highest-pitched note, and I find that this practice works well for bluegrass too.

We’ll create a chord melody to the song, “The House of the Rising Sun.” This song is familiar to most, and has an interesting chord progression. You need two things: the melody under your fingertips, and knowledge of the chords. For this example, I wrote a lead sheet with both melody and chords, available here.

15 Variations on a Common Phrase

I’d like to share an incredible flatpicking style lick that can be used in countless songs and tunes. This is a phrase that opened up many doors for me as a flatpicking guitarist. Should you want to master this idea you will have to transpose these ideas into other keys and octaves. Each one of these variations showcases a different way of inventing the phrase. The ideas vary in length and note choice but are all based on this one idea. Once you work through the following variations I’m certain you will be able to come up with more of your own and find endless situations to use this classic phrase.

Five Years Of Lessons With Marcel

In 2015, Marcel and I were having lunch at a local pizza joint during his scheduled 45 minute mid-day break. Half-way through the meal, he blurted that he wanted to quit his full-time retail job to do music. I’ve never met someone who could convince me to take such massive leaps blindly in life, but I nodded my head and we started planning the beginnings of what would become Lessons with Marcel.

A few weeks later, we had an “exit strategy” in place and Marcel started a YouTube channel in order to establish legitimacy and networking.

Need a guitar or mandolin teacher?

Let Marcel and Mickey help you out

Take your lessons anywhere

Can’t find any good teachers in your area? No problem! With the help of video chat services like Skype, we’ve taught all over the world from Canada to Australia and beyond.

Learn What You Want

Tired of teachers putting you in a ‘program’? we use individualized lesson plans, exercises and custom transcriptions for each student. Tell us what you want to learn, we’ll listen.

All Levels Accepted

Don’t let advanced content scare you, we teach lots of pickers who are new to bluegrass. Every player can benefit from a teacher, get help with what you need today.

0 +
Tabs Sold Monthly
0 +
Lessons Taught Yearly
0 +
YouTube Subscribers