How to Find Other Musicians in Your
Growing up in an area that had
very few bluegrass musicians, I was lucky to learn as much as I did.
I was a teenager before I learned the name for it, however, I knew it was
great when I heard it. Bluegrass was not played on the radio.
Once a week Roy Clark would play Cripple Creek for about 30 seconds.
That was my access to bluegrass music. As I got older, I was able to seek
out a little more but still it was not plentiful. There was one
group in the area that was to their own; there was no room for
me. No one else seemed to understand what bluegrass was.
Through all of that, I learned to play different bluegrass instruments but
had almost given up.
At age 33, I moved to an area
(in looking distance of the blue ridge mountains) where I could provide
better for my family. I had gotten heavily into astronomy and went on outings
with the local club. It was fun, but not bluegrass by any
means. While talking to my friend Andy at work one day, I said,
"I wish there was a bluegrass club that would meet like the astronomy
club." Andy said, "I think there is and I think they meet
at the mall on Thursday nights." Well we were there Thursday
night and it was perfect. One look around and we saw musicians standing
around everywhere. They were playing bluegrass. It was a miniature fiddlers convention so it
appeared. We almost ran back to the car to get our instruments. It
was in the middle area of the local furniture mall. We all played until
they cut the lights out on us at 9:00 PM and some of us continued playing until
12:00 out on the sidewalk.
I have learned more in the last
year as I learned up to that point for the most part. I made
contacts of all kinds and have just completed my first completely hand
made violin which I can't stop playing. I also started this
music on my website as a result of having more experiences available to me.
What I am getting around to, is that you never know what is in you until
you find what you need to bring it out.
What if you can't find it in
your area, then what? Create it! Build it and they will
come! That line came from a good movie but it works here
too. The way I understand that it got started at the mall here was
by the local radio bluegrass show host and I am sure some others. One of
them contacted the mall manager and expressed the need for space for a jam
section once per week. It seemed like it would attract a crowd and
would be good for the mall's business. The only rules were that there
would be no alcohol, acoustic instruments only, and they could not bring in anything that they could
not leave with. Any trouble and it was over. There has been no
trouble and has been going own every Thursday night for two years.
Now a crowd gathers to listen and others trying to find a spot to fit in
and play. The mall has greatly benefited as well as the people.
Other places around have also
started getting together on the other nights and even back home it is
happening there as well. If you can follow this example it can work
for you as well. It should be set up by the older people and you
will have a greater success. If you are not the one to start it,
just start talking about it and some else will think they thought of it
and will make it come true. That is what I call planting the
seed. The person with the idea is the one that will work the hardest
to make it happen so let it be theirs. After all, you want to play
bluegrass however it comes.
How to Have Fun With Bluegrass and
Have you ever heard a song that had words
that didn't make sense? I know I have! In just about
every case, I found that I misunderstood what I heard. With a little
common sense and thought it might be easy to figure out if you set your
mind to it. On the other hand, kids don't worry so much about if it
is right or not, they just except it. It is a lot of fun to ask them
and see what they really think. As you play your bluegrass, ask a child
what they said in the song and get ready for a good laugh. Here are some
examples of what I have heard kids interpret.
When the rollies crawl up yonder.
(When the roll is called up yonder)
Do you want that five feet turtle.
(Do you want that life eternal)
Bringing in the sheets (Bringing in
Thy burger is greener than mine. (Thy
burden is greater than mine)
There's a bathroom on the right. (There's a
bad moon on the rise.)
Each day my butt gets heavier it
seems. (Each day my bucket's heavier it seems.)
|Do you remember the old Earl Scruggs, "Shave and
a hair cut, two bits" at the end of a song? Well here is
how it is done. In the key of "G", around the 8th
fret, hold down the two notes Marked "G" with your first
and second finger. Your third finger will hit the note marked
"1" and "2". The first finger will release
the note marked "G" and hold the note marked
The note marked "1" has the word "Bend"
beside it. This means to hit he note and while it is sounding
out, push it to the side to make a higher note.
The T T12 marks the finger that does the picking.
The numbers at the bottom are the strings that are picked in the
It should sound like this Example.
That section was picking
out ever note. Now let's try it a little different. Hold
the notes marked "G, G, and 1". Pick the 1st and 2nd
string while bending the note marked "1" as before.
It should sound like this Example.