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#1


Good morn', eve', or afternoon all you lovely people.


For lack of a better forum, we find ourselves here in the land of acoustic instruments. We are a mostly relevant bunch, which many branchings into other forays of the acoustic stringed instrument that we find ourselves so endeared to. I myself, Jake, and she herself, Kristen, bring you the Ultimate-Guitar Bluegrass Thread.


What's to be discussed?

Anything bluegrass, folk instrument; hell, even world instruments (who doesn't love the Guhzeng?). This is mostly a place for those of us who play more than a few of those stringy-thingies to get together and discuss instruments, artists, etc.

What If I don't play a 'folk' instrument?

Who cares! Come join in the fun and get some good new recommendations of some fantastic players of the appalachian style.

What do you consider the main folk instruments?

Guitar is a staple, but this entire forum is dedicated to that! This thread is more-so for the most popular bluegrass instruments, including (but not limited to): Banjo, Mandolin, Fiddle, Pedal Steel, Dobro, and Upright Bass. Many other instruments have been used, but these are the most common and widely known to be regularly used.


Tell us a bit about yourselves! We'll Start.


I am Jake, keeper of the coop. I play banjo. Folk-style and some clawhammer on 5-string, but I mostly play Tenor. I can throw the cowboy chords down on Mandolin, and I flatpick a good bit on guitar. My main bluegrass instrument, however, is the String Bass.

I play with a 3-piece. We're pretty new yet, so no recordings or a name, but that will come in short order. We've got a few patio gigs lined up for this summer already. We've been picking Jazz standards and bluegrassifying them, as well as picking up some other popular stuff. I'll post some as soon as we get it.

Kristen is down below.


Here's a classic featuring some of the biggest names in the genre in this era:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQIJuu3N5EY

And here's a song from a couple of the most boner-inducing women on earth.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEA-aPui1A
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
Last edited by JustRooster at Mar 19, 2014,
#2
Interestingly enough, I have been wanting to get a guzheng, but I don't really have anywhere to put it or any real time to play it, so for now it will stay on my list along with kora, alpine zither, and morin khuur.

For now though, I play 5 string banjo, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, and just a wee bit of dobro and fiddle. I flat pick bluegrass guitar a little, but I don't really put much effort into it because it is more practical to put the effort into other instruments. I need to record Foggy Mountain Breakdown again sometime. I can't remember when last I recorded a couple of good breaks.

I play an Epiphone MB-250, a Kentucky Mandolin KM-160, and an MSA Classic D12 8x4 (I should probably make up a copedent for that at some point, but then again it is really just the basic E9/C6 copedent). I have pictures of instruments on my profile if anyone wants to see them.

I really did bluegrass, but more the 60s/70s stuff like New Grass Revival, the Country Gentlemen, the Bluegrass Alliance, the Osborn Brothers, etc. I really dig Courtney Johnson, Bill Keith, and Bill Emerson as far as individual players go.

I would be interested in doing an "alt country" sort of thing that would combine honky tonk, Bakersfield, progressive bluegrass, Western swing, sludge metal, thrash, crust punk, etc. I'm sure there are people around my area that would be interested in something like that, but I don't really have enough time to want to actively search for musicians.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#3
There's a good scene for that here in Madison. I sing like Lucero anyway, so I'm sure I could find a group if I got bored with my current one.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#4
My singing voice sounds very bad but I do have a range of 3 1/2 octaves (probably like G2-G5 on an average day without warming up, and I can usually get down to F2 and up to high C after warming up a short bit). I suppose I would do well with harmonies I guess.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#5
I don't know what my range is. Probably just a couple octaves, but that's all I really need for singing like Tom Waits.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#6
If I could sing like anyone I would go with Hank Williams. His voice plus Don Helms's steel playing is like the saddest thing ever. Actually, it's too bad they never did A Maiden's Prayer. That would have really been a great fit for their sound. Uncle Josh does that song the best though. It's also one of like two songs that I really know well on dobro.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Mar 19, 2014,
#8
I love bluegrass/string band playing; about half of what I do falls into this category. I mostly play solo due to my job; I'm never off on weekends.
So I do stuff I can play alone. Some of my faves are Watson's "Deep River Blues", Norman Blake's "Randall Collins", and old chestnuts like "Freight Train Boogie" and "Way Downtown".

Very occasionally I make the Saturday jam at the local folk school where I get in a little ensemble practice.
#9
I like playing Wayfaring Stranger by myself with the banjo tuned to G minor, which makes it way easier to play and then I also don't need a capo (otherwise I would have to play it in E minor probably, which is one or two notes too low). Also I play it on mandolin usually in Dm.

I don't really get to play much with other people either. Only really at work between lessons (I teach lessons). I play a lot with this one guy and we just noodle and see who can tremolo pick faster. It's pretty close I think, but that's only because I use three fingers. If I started doing four, he couldn't keep up.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Mar 20, 2014,
#10
Got in touch with Kyle over at MSA, found out my steel was built November 5th, 1974.
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#12
Steel guitars are generally made entirely of metal (though some people for some reason will have wood necks) and really only have thin little veneers that are used solely to make them look like a piece of furniture and so nobody would ever bother to figure out what kind of wood it actually is.

We'll just say that it is "cabinet texture" wood.
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#14
I will have to take and upload more pictures tomorrow maybe.
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#15
Might have found a guy who would want to do a bluegrass / acid jazz fusion band.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#16
Now you just need someone with a TB-303 and you can play real acid jazz.

Also I have been thinking about getting a squareneck resonator. They're neat and all. But... I really could be putting the money to better use. Even just with music stuff, I need a multi effect thing for the pedal steel and ideally a legit amp for it at some point. Also pickup for the banjo, pull kits for the pedal steel, possibly an extra lever or two, etc.

But maybe once I get all that stuff, I'll consider it.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Apr 7, 2014,
#17
Rent a stand up bass from a music store. Then you can self record all your own shit, yo.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#18
Nah. I think I'll just use some TB-303 type sounds.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#19
Sorry for intruding - I used to fiddle around with a banjo a few years ago, but sold it because I just couldn't get into it.

Now I'm looking to get back into playing, but instead of scaring myself with hardcore bluegrass picking, I'm looking to use it in a more contemporary way (Avett Brothers, Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn etc) - any tips?
#20
My name's mike, I'm a new dad and my daughter wouldn't fall asleep unless I played bluegrass for the first couple weeks, I went from appreciating it to wanting to explore it and incorporate it into my playing. I have a Yamaha FG700MS, big sound with a little price tag. I can't wait to learn tips from you guys! I suck at fingerpicking
"Any statement beginning with the words 'In truth' is almost always a lie."

The Legion
#21
Quote by Stud_Muffin
Sorry for intruding - I used to fiddle around with a banjo a few years ago, but sold it because I just couldn't get into it.

Now I'm looking to get back into playing, but instead of scaring myself with hardcore bluegrass picking, I'm looking to use it in a more contemporary way (Avett Brothers, Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn etc) - any tips?


Play with a flat pick like the guy from Trampled by Turtles.

Also single string/Reno style is probably a lot easier since you don't have to know all those goofy roll patterns.

Quote by mikeYekim
My name's mike, I'm a new dad and my daughter wouldn't fall asleep unless I played bluegrass for the first couple weeks, I went from appreciating it to wanting to explore it and incorporate it into my playing. I have a Yamaha FG700MS, big sound with a little price tag. I can't wait to learn tips from you guys! I suck at fingerpicking


Finger picking is easy. You just tap your fingers on your desk in different patterns (T, I, M, T, I, M, T, M and I, M, T, I, M, T, I, M) all day, everyday. Maybe the patterns for rolls are different for guitar than for banjo though.

You don't really finger pick much in bluegrass guitar though unless you're Lester Flatt or something. I do, but only because it's easier than flat picking that boom-chick rhythm.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Apr 18, 2014,
#22
I bought a Gretsch G9121 today and I'm not ashamed about it.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#23
I bought a banjo pickup almost the same day (three days earlier actually) but it hasn't come in yet and so I am sort of mad. At least I haven't paid for it yet or else I would be madder.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#24
Guitar Center is stupid and so it still hasn't come in ever. I don't see why they can't just have it sent to the store and then I buy it there. Instead of have to fill out paperwork and then they call me but they didn't call so I had to fill it out again and then they didn't call after that either. It would have been easier to just say "screw it" and buy one offline at full price. I probably am not gonna save more than like $40 anyway.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#26
Quote by JustRooster
I bought a Gretsch G9121 today and I'm not ashamed about it.

pics or it's a sheckter.
#27
Just broke my middle G# string. Strings break so easily, but I guess it's because I have to bend the G# and B strings with the A and B pedal at least 10 times more often than any guitarist ever could. I have yet to change all of the strings (I have replaced that string twice when it broke, though this time it unwound). It's mainly because I don't really have a proper chromatic tuner and so... I simply can't tune everything with a guitar tuner when 6 of my open strings are accidentals (3 G#s, 2 F#s, and a D#) and 4 of the others require a pedal/lever tuned to an accidental as well.

I could always just tune the Bs and Es with the guitar tuner and then tune everything else by ear and end up with a botched half just intonation, half Pythagorean tuning mess, but I don't think I hate myself that much.

I really just need to get a tuner I guess. ^^;
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#28
After months of waiting, I finally got my pickup today. I'll put it in at school tomorrow. Also I split my head open last week due to making it too tight. Got a new 5 Star head from StewMac and I put it on today. The whole process took like two hours. It is very simple, but a lot of repetitive taking things off and putting them back on. It actually sounds a lot better than it did (before the head broke of course). I'm not sure if it is because the new head is better, because I sanded the bridge, because the new head has a shorter crown (and therefore the tailpiece is higher in comparison), or what. But whatever.

So the pickup is nice and all... but...

Since the banjo is a loud instrument, the amp has to be high enough to be heard over it, so it is not much use at low volumes. I am excited to try it with recording though so I can get an accurate idea of the tonal quality.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Jul 19, 2014,
#29
Performed at a bluegrass festival today. It was neat. I'll upload recordings at some point.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#30
Bought some EJ40 Silk Steels for shits and gigs. They're fun.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#31
do you guys have any band recommendations that have a similar sound to Trampled by Turtles?
"Any statement beginning with the words 'In truth' is almost always a lie."

The Legion
#32
Here are some general recs. The last section is what you are looking for. Also you might like the Punch Brothers even though they are soulless hipsters.

Actually Jake, you should put it in the first post.


Bluegrass Recs


Proto Bluegrass* (needs more added)
Al Hopkins & The Hill Billies*
Jimmie Rodgers*
Monroe Brothers*


Traditional
Bill Monroe
Flatt & Scruggs
Lester Flatt & The Nashville Grass
Stanley Brothers
Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
Lilly Brothers
(early) Osborne Brothers
Reno and Smiley
Mac Wiseman
Lonesome Pine Fiddlers
Jimmy Martin & The Sunny Mountain Boys


60s/70s Progressive
(electric mid 60s) Osborne Brothers
Bluegrass Alliance
The Seldom Scene
Country Gentlemen
(legit newgrass) Newgrass Revival
Muleskinner
Old and in the Way
Kentucky Colonels
The Dillards**
Poutníci***


80s and 90s Stuff
Johnson Mountain Boys
Tony Rice Unit
Rhonda Vincent
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
(goofy, poppy) Newgrass Revival
Béla Fleck & The Flecktones*
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
Nickel Creek*


Modern stuff
Yonder Mountain String Band
Greensky Bluegrass
Steep Canyon Rangers
Trampled by Turtles*
Old Crow Medicine Show*
Old Man Markley*
Kruger Brothers*

otherwise modern bluegrass is bland since it is soulless hipsters like the Punch Brothers


*things that sound like bluegrass but are not that are still neat
**also known as The Darlings on the Andy Griffith Show
***Czech bluegrass deserves its own section but I don't know too much
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#33
Saw a used Gold Tone IT-250F Irish Tenor for 500 today. I'm thinking about getting it. But I had also thought about getting a lap steel since the D12 is not practical to bring anywhere.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#34
I changed the strings on the E9 neck today. Fun times.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#35
I got the Irish tenor the other day. I'll take pictures and record sounds this week maybe.
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#36
I had a couple of those in the store and they definitely weren't for me. I like a traditional tenor a lot, though.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#37
The sound is very weird since the strings are so thick. Might need to get the neck adjusted because they are definitely tighter than the ones that were already on it. I have 42,32,23,16 right now. I was gonna go with a 20 plain but we didn't have any of those for some reason so I went with a 22w but then that broke when I was putting the strings on and so I had to replace it with the low D from a 5 string set since that was handy at the moment.

I can't say that I like the standard jazz tenor tuning since it makes it annoying to play in actual useful keys but I guess it's okay since jazz musicians love silly useless keys like Bb and F anyway. Though I suppose I know Beaumont Rag in F on 5 string, so chances are I will never, ever, ever be able to get a bluegrass band to play that tune in that key. I could capo up, but the up the neck break goes all the way to the 22nd fret so then that would be compromised.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#38
Aw man, I write most of my songs in Bb or Eb because I play with trombone and trumpet guys.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#39
lol @ playing w/ wind musicians
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#40
I want to get a guzheng, but I don't think I can since it is too big and so there is nowhere to put it. Also I know almost nothing of actually playing Chinese music, and so there is a huge music learning curve.

Although I have been thinking of getting uilleann pipes since I am fairly well versed in Irish music and already play tin whistle, which has fairly similar fingering.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
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