bill monroe

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.

The first recording of “True Life Blues” come from the 1945 sessions that produced other singles such as “Footprints in the Snow”, “Rocky Road Blues” and “Kentucky Waltz”. I was first drawn to this era of The Bluegrass Boys because of the bluegrass girl, Wilene “Sally Ann” Forrester on the accordion. Key of A for those of you keeping track at home.

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…

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…