Re: [Harp-L] bluegrass chop?

David is correct.  There are many regional differences in bluegrass across
the country, but the basics remain.  The clip he linked shows a good
representation of providing off-beat back up on a chord.


On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 10:15 PM, David Payne

> Bluegrass in Appalachia and the Ohio Valley is a bit different than it is
> in Texas and it's really different in California, but this is a universal
> thing Cara's talking about. My grandfather was of the same general school
> of thought as Cara about many things, he had specific roles for each
> instrument and specific roles for specific situations, although I don't
> recall him ever saying anything about who plays on the 2 and 4 and who does
> not. He was a HOT mandolin player, I mean HOT, but he didn't always play
> hot. He played very reserved licks on songs with vocals, his saying was
> "save the hot licks for the instrumentals."
> I grew up with his bluegrass and my father's, so I'm very familiar with
> all of that and accept most of them, but at the same time, I added some of
> my own ideas to what the Payne family was doing musically - I'm the fourth
> generation of musician in my family - I developed a lot of my own ideas
> about what the harmonica could do.
> When you play a chord with a mandolin, the sound isn't a harmonica and
> mandolin. It is one sound, that's a bit richer. It works and I've done it
> for years.
>  I put the harmonica on the 2 and 4 beat with the mandolin as a general
> rule.
> You can hear them together here. This is a pretty good example, because at
> first it's just me and Roy Clark Jr., then the mandolin comes in later, so
> you can see how the sound changes.
> That dude from the Barcelona Bluegrass band also chops, but I haven't seen
> him play with a mandolin.
> David Payne
> From: Cara Cooke <cyberharp@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: Brian Stear <brianstear@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Cc: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
> Sent: Friday, November 23, 2012 10:44 PM
> Subject: Re: [Harp-L] bluegrass chop?
> Metronome practice is never a bad idea, but live practice is just as
> important.
> Back up comes in a lot of different ways.  It takes time to learn to feel
> what is best at what moment.  Sometimes, not playing at all, is the best
> choice.  Watch for those moments and seize them.
> For playing "chops", I usually provide this guidance:
> In bluegrass, in particular, the "chop" on the off-beat is owned by the
> mandolin.
> Do not overshadow the instrument that owns a part or you may create
> confusion.
> If there is no mandolin, then the banjo will try to fill in with its
> pinched notes for chops.  The guitar will be heard, too, but, hopefully,
> the downstroke on the guitar will not linger too long or there will not be
> as crisp a sound for the "chop" as is normarlly desired.  If this is the
> situation, continue to keep your "chops" sharp, balanced with the others,
> and inside the realm created by the combination of the banjo and guitar.
> Remember that the mandolin does this and try to pretend you are simply a
> quieter mandolin.
> For back up fills, I generally turn to the fiddle.  It can, and
> occasionally will, "chop", but fiddlers more commonly provide harmonic
> tones and occasional runs/fills underneath it all.  They generally provide
> great guidance to common runs and how they can be applied, and often are a
> great source of how to tastefully apply them, as well.
> Remember, in a bluegrass band, only two instruments can really carry a long
> tone: the fiddle and the harmonica.  As a consequence, the fiddle is a
> nature guide to how the harmonica can blend and perform in balance with the
> other bluegrass players.
> Cara
> On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 1:48 PM, Brian Stear <brianstear@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> >wrote:
> > Been getting into bluegrass and Celtic more....but......I have the
> darnest
> > time playing a simple chop like the mandolin for more than a minute or
> two
> > ( now I know why the mandolin player moved away from me at the last jam
> > session I sat in on ).
> >   Is this as simple as turning on the metronome, and practicing? Or
> should
> > I just lay out? WWCCD? ( What would Cara Cooke do ).....
> > What do you guys do when at a bluegrass jam session?
> >
> > Brian
> >

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