Here are some tunes that you can work on over the holidays if you feel inspired. Probably won’t be the ones we work on in class, as I’ve just compiled some tunes that were already available on the website and what I’d like to do in January is work up tunes that we’ll also work on in Session I class (but those are yet to be decided). Anyway, without further ado, are some practice tunes:
Also, the KGB Practice links have a ton of good tunes – maybe slightly out of tune, but also played in sets of 2 or 3 (though only 1x each).
Will post more soon, but for now, quick reminder. Practice the 2 and 3 finger chord progressions in both reel and jig rhythms. If you find you have mastered that, then change chords every 2 beats instead of every 4.
Jig Backing Exercise: For the tune, Connaughtman’s Rambles, work on the alternative backings that I passed out in class. Note that I provided 3 for the A part and 3 for the B part. This link is nice and slow and very steady, so it should allow you to work through both the chord changes and the jig strumming pattern safely.
Here’s are a couple of jigs on guitar that I ran across this morning – just to get you into the jig modd. Some fabulous picking. The Monaghan Jig (first one) is one that KGB often plays. Great minor jig.
Monaghan Jig / Tipperary Temptress (Note: I’m pretty sure the 1st tune that is listed in the description was cut off)
First! Two items for your calendar – BRIMS session at C’ville Coffee Thurs, Dec 6th at 7pm. First hour is played at a measured pace, 2nd hour pace is appropriate for the group as a whole. I will at least be there for the first hour and if you’re interested, we can sit together a little away from the group and talk through some of the accompaniment.
Second item is that John Doyle is coming Wed, Dec 12th at C’ville Coffee. John is one of the finest guitarists in the world and it is a real treat to have him coming back to Charlottesville. He’ll be playing solo, so the emphasis (perhaps entire?) will be on song. Sure to be enjoyable (and probably crowded, so come early!)
Okay, on to class topics…
In the email to you, I’ve sent an updated intro to the course that includes an additional page of chord charts that have the D / Em / F#m / G / A walk up that I quickly introduced in class. It also has the basic minor chord shapes that we’ll go over in class next week.
This week spend time going over the exercises we introduced in class:
Rhythm Exercise: 4 measures on first beat followed by 4 measures on 2nd beat followed by 4 measures on 3rd beat and 4 measures on 4th beat. Repeat until you’re bored. Then go to exercise 2!
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 etc.
Can also try emphasizing beats 1 and 3 and then 2 and 4.
This rhythm exercise is good to practice regardless of which tuning you ultimately choose to pursue. It helps you learn control the emphasis in your strumming hand and it is not easy to do for most people!
Chord Shapes Exercise: For whatever chord progressions you want to practice, do 4 beats with the 1st chord, 4 beats with the 2nd chord, etc. For example:
D1 D1 D1 D1 A1 A1 A1 A1 D2 D2 D2 D2 G2 G2 G2 G2 A2 A2 A2 A2 D2 D2 D2 D2
Where 1s represent the single finger chords, and 2s are the two finger chords moving up the scale (note that the 2nd D2 is the one just above the two finger A chord). Make sure to practice the “jump” back to the 1st D shape. Try it going up the scale and then practice going down.
Alternative Backing Exercise: For the tune, My Love is in America, try at least the first 4 alternative backing approaches that we did in class. Feel free to give the last two a whirl as well, but definitely practice the first 4. Make sure you feel really comfortable with knowing where those chord changes occur. The link above is to a recording of the full tune, you can just reset each time or try playing along with both the A and B parts. See if the same backings work for both parts! What do you think?
If you’re still with me – give the jig rhythm a try (pick direction also in the email). Down up Down Down up Down. Yep, that should keep you busy this week!!
It’s great to be teaching guitar again after a lengthy layoff while getting the session classes underway. Seems like we’ve got a group with a fairly common set of backgrounds and knowledge and I appreciate everyone being willing to play a little yesterday so I have a better understanding of where we are and where we might go together.
To review some of the key points from yesterday’s class:
#1 – Rhythm. Lots of different types to keep it interesting – Reels, Jigs, Polkas, Hornpipes, Slides, etc.
#2 – Rhythm. It is THE priority in backing Irish music.
#3 – Rhythm. Examples from some of the best! Listen!
Reels: (Note not all play DADGAD – doesn’t matter)
Arty McGlynn (great melody work on guitar on the 1st tune)
John Doyle (Drop D)
Owen Marshall (note how the tunes sound with / without guitar)
Pat Egan (Standard)
Josh Dukes (great view of strumming hand – rock solid steady!)
#4 – Communication. Listening and coordinating with the melody players. Verbally prior to playing the tunes, but more importantly, once the set begins. Let your instruments and natural rhythms get in synch with each other. Support one another musically. If you don’t believe me, check out this article!