Marcel Ardans

One of my first YouTube bluegrass guitar lessons I ever made was called Why You’re Practicing Bluegrass Licks Wrong and it was not a good video. Mostly because you can hear the filter on my turtle’s tank running in the background the entire time; don’t worry I forgave him and didn’t turn him into guitar picks. YouTube user ‘Skip Lee’ summarized the experience brilliantly with the comment, “Every time I listen to this I have the sudden urge to pee…“

Gibson’s reign of bad publicity continues, it seems no musical instrument manufacturer can possibly take the throne of most Bond-villianesque guitar company from them. Oh wait, have you not heard about all of this yet? Yeah, Gibson is cancelled. Go read last month’s article about lawsuits and stolen designs. But after years of decline, I’m sure those of you that are caught up on the gossip and drama are wondering, “How could it get worse? It’s not like Gibson is running over guitars with construction equipment and destroying the one thing that kind of makes sense in this clown world that we live in!”

Bluegrass chord changes can be a source of confusion, but let me drop this bomb on you: the changes are simple, you can make them infinitely more complicated or less complicated. It’s all up to you, all you need to know are some simple rules to get started. In this article we’ll be focusing on dominant seventh chords and when they make sense in a chord change and the consequences and benefits of including them or leaving them out.

In the middle of last month some real drama hit the YouTube guitar world. If you didn’t see, Gibson published a video to YouTube entitled “Play Authentic” but quickly and quietly removed it after the criticism began rolling in. The source of the negative comments were Gibson’s Director of Brand Experience, Mark Agnesi’s quotable lines, such as: “This isn’t about us being bullies or trying to stifle the boutique…

If you read my recent article, Why Kentucky Waltz Is About Time Travel, you may know I have a soft spot for Bill Monroe fan-fiction. This unfortunately is not fan-fiction. Many of the original tape masters of Bill Monroe records were lost in a fire that ravaged the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood in 2008. We’re just learning the extent of the damage now in 2019. In fact, 11 years ago when asked about the…

I know, I know. You might be saying to yourself, “Open strings up the neck!? That just means floating!” You’re not wrong, however I did avoid that word when I titled this article because ‘floating’ isn’t an agreed upon term in the flatpicking community. Some folks still call these licks ‘open string licks’ as opposed to ‘floating licks’. Even more confusing is the idea that some pickers might confuse this ‘open string floating’ with the way some people describe an unanchored pick grip as a ‘floating right hand’.

Alright, I think we all know the basics but I’ll say it anyway: Time travel is real and first generation bluegrass musicians have been trying to keep it under wraps for the last 74 years. That’s right, this engineer is about to reach up and blow the whistle. No longer must we toil in the shadows of chemtrails while the Bluegrass World Order meets below the Denver Airport to laugh about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. And no, this isn’t about how IBMA 2018 was a false flag operation and the lizard people will have a judge on the panel of every major picking contest in the next ten years because…

Every week I get lots of requests for videos on certain subjects, whether that be requests for work by certain artists (I swear I will make a Jerry Garcia video at some point), for obscure fiddle tunes that I’ve never heard of (let me learn it real quick then I’ll teach it to you), or for guitar subjects that have been taught to death on YouTube (I’m sorry but that dedicated pentatonic scale video will probably never happen). For one reason or another a lot of these requests…

Blue notes get used a lot, you can find blue notes in countless genres and they certainly appear (sometimes too frequently) in bluegrass. But do you know exactly what a blue note is? Are you ever confused when people use the term? Does it have something to do with blues or jazz? Don’t worry, I’m going to cover what you need to know about…

I met Maddie Witler at IBMA 2018 and she was definitely one of the stand out instrumentalists. She appears multiple times in the IBMA vlogs I posted on YouTube and I knew I had to get her on the website sometime in the future. Lucky for us, her band just released a new album, Smoke & Ashes. So Maddie was nice enough to talk with me about…