Looking for Bluegrass Guitar Lessons?
Bluegrass guitar lessons are absolutely essential for anybody looking to master this complex and iconic style of guitar. The genre has roots in folk music brought over to America from Scotland, Ireland and England, and is a subgenre of country. Although there have been variations on the traditional bluegrass sound (such as incorporating electric guitars) the genre still largely retains its original characteristics. For guitarists, bluegrass is great fun to play, and it produces a richly detailed sound whilst simultaneously making you look awesome on the instrument.
Instead of forking out large sums of money for expensive private guitar lessons, would-be guitarists can now learn through DVD courses or subscription-based websites from the comfort of their own home. These are a fraction of the cost of traditional lessons, but still use structured programs created by professional instructors. We’ve done our homework and reviewed, rated, and compared the top bluegrass guitar lesson courses available today
To help you get started on your search for the best best bluegrass guitar lessons, we’ve put together the comparison chart below.
Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: Buying Guide
If you’re going to learn bluegrass, you need to have at least a basic grasp of the instrument. Before you start learning, you should have a good understanding of chords and legato techniques such as hammer-ons and pull-offs. Ideally, you should start trying to learn bluegrass when you’re an intermediate level player, but the genre can still be a challenge. For this reason, courses with more bluegrass-specific lessons are preferable.
One of the major defining elements of bluegrass (which separate it from country) is the use of flatpicking instead of fingerpicking. Flatpicking may sound scary, but it is just picking using a plectrum, or guitar pick. Within this, other bluegrass techniques such as crosspicking should be covered, as well as important general techniques like alternate picking. These are essential for creating the bluegrass sound, and you should ensure that the course you choose covers them.
Bluegrass is built around chords, but slurs and extra notes are used to add color to the sound. These extras require an understanding of legato techniques such as slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs. Any series of bluegrass lessons should cover these techniques and explain how they are incorporated into the genre. Most courses for learning the guitar suitable for beginners will include basic lessons on them, but you need to know how they work in bluegrass.
Scales and Chords
Scales and chords commonly used in bluegrass are also important to playing in the genre. The most important scales for you to learn are the major pentatonic, major diatonic and the mixolydian mode. These are useful for bluegrass compositions – particularly in licks and solos – and are good to know for other genres too. The G major chord is the most important one for bluegrass music, but you also need a good understanding of split chords to effectively play in the genre. Many online services have chord and scale libraries which can be used as a quick reference, but there should ideally be specific lessons on chords and scales to show their relationship with bluegrass.
Classic Bluegrass Songs
Any good series of bluegrass guitar lessons should also incorporate songs. They are useful for testing out techniques learned from other lessons, and can also help you with compositions and arranging other songs for bluegrass guitar. Check out the course content and see how many songs you get to learn. These can be classic bluegrass tracks such as “Black Mountain Rag” and “Salt Creek” or other songs which have been played in the bluegrass style.
Bluegrass guitar lessons on DVD courses or streamed over the internet are almost always taught via video. The quality of the video is important to the learning process, because you need to be able to see what both of the instructor’s hands are doing clearly in order to learn. It helps if videos are high quality, are shot using multiple camera angles and make use of close-ups. Some videos also use split-screen views so you can see two or more close-ups simultaneously. Look for sample lessons or screenshots to evaluate the video quality.
Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: Conclusion
JamPlay stands out as the best course for learning bluegrass guitar. It’s an online, subscription-based video streaming service which includes detailed series on many different genres and general instruction to take you from a beginner to an advanced player. The videos are HD-quality, and use close-ups and split-screen display so you can clearly see what’s going on. There are 54 lessons on bluegrass, covering all of the essentials in ample detail. You can also study a variety of other genres through the same course.