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The Bluegrass Learning Place-- Getting Started

Posted by LifesMiracle on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Table of Contents © John G Nitkowski

No matter what your skill is you can always be better! I have some tips today that will help you achieve higher levels of proficiency. The goal is not merely to enable you to play other people's musical ideas, but for you to create your own and be able to play effortlessly and almost without thought as most of the professional musicians do...

This post is to help you set up shop

  1. First of all, get the paid version of Tabledit.
    This is by far, the best investment I believe you will make! While you are creating your style you get to learn other people's styles and you can hear your intonation, tempo and Tabledit never gets tired. Your newfound backup band will play the same song thousands of times without getting tired!

    Tabledit lets you slow down or speed up the music to match your skill level AND you can turn off the fiddle playback so you can be the fiddler! You can also write your own songs and convert mandolin tab into fiddle tab!

    Also, whether you like tablature or standard music notation you can have it either way, as Tabledit lets you have it both ways.
  2. Get an Electronic Tuner
    Nothing worse than placing your fingers on a fretless instrument and mastering those positions and learning that the string was out of tune. Learning the fingerboard requires muscle memory. Check your tuning often and certainly every time you pick it up! You can get one for around $10.
  3. Get some Peg Drops if your fiddle constantly goes out of tune
  4. Make sure you rosin up your bow
  5. Get a Mandolin
    The mandolin has the same tuning and "fretboard" as the violin, and sometimes it's easier to learn the fingerings and the concepts on the mandolin.
  6. Pick a song
    Go to the Learn to Play section of this website and listen to all the songs with Tabledit and find one that you wish to learn. Slow down the relative speed (which DOES NOT change the key) and start learning one note at a time!
  7. Get this chart of the fingerboard notes for reference
    Click here and print out the chart and hang it in your practice area!
  8. Ask for help
  9. Have Fun
    Go to previous lessonGo to next lesson

3 comments on “The Bluegrass Learning Place-- Getting Started”

Skookum Says:
Thursday, January 15, 2015 @6:26:17 PM

I'd say forget about the name of any note on your chart. Simply learn to start at any place on the fretboard and learn a scale from that - after all that's what's important (the relationship of the individual notes, not their names). Learn the relationships not name notes. spend some time thinking about what I just said.

Yes, get a mandolin. Better yet get a uke and tune it like a fiddle with a wound guitar string on lower end and gut from there on up. Much easier than a mandolin and you can keep it in your car or on your body for scales, melodies, harmony, etc.

LifesMiracle Says:
Friday, January 16, 2015 @11:42:51 AM

The reason I have the chart visible while I'm learning is so I can quickly find the starting point NOT to learn the notes of the Ab scale... Ab-Bb- C etc. It's also useful when reading standard notes instead of tablature. But I'm with you on this! This blog will be about the relationships between the notes and the movable maps or templates that will allow you to play in every key!

Skookum Says:
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @12:25:07 PM

sounds good to me! Thanks. I'll be watching for more pearls. Bruce

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