How to Play Bluegrass in Fingerstyle Guitar

Learn how to play bluegrass from guitarist Adam Smale in this online fingerstyle guitar lesson from Howcast.

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Learn how to play guitar old school -- using your fingertips, not a pick -- with the fingerstyle lessons from guitarist Adam Smale in these videos. Besides the basics, you'll learn different styles of fingering, like bluegrass, flamenco, jazz, funk, folk, and classical.

 
 

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Bluegrass music kind of infuses a lot of different things into it, including some African-American sounds. So you kind of have some blues mixed in with the country feel. One way to do that is to pick out blues notes, as well as using chromatic notes. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to show you a classic bluegrass run that involves all that stuff. Here we go. I'm going to start with, this is based around a G chord, and it is a great way to end a bluegrass solo or to end the end of a section. Here we go in the key of G. I'm going to start with the G note with my second finger. I'm going to pick that note, then I'm going to pick the A open on the fifth string. I'm going to hammer onto the B flat. That's our blues note right there. I'm going to hammer onto the B natural on the second fret. Then I'm going to pull that note off so that the A string's open, and then pluck the fourth string open. Hammer on, on the second fret, pull off to the fourth string again. Then finally end up on the G string open. I'll do it slowly. [playing guitar] When you do it really fast, it sounds bluegrass. So I'll do a little chord progression. [playing guitar] It's a nice little bluegrass fill-in for you there.

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  • Adam Smale

    Adam Smale is a guitarist, composer, teacher and author. He started playing guitar professionally at age 12, performing a variety of music from country, rock, and pop to funk, blues, and reggae. Since 1996, Adam has been primarily a jazz performer and composer; you can hear Adam's trio performing in and around New York City. Adam has a Master's degree in jazz performance from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor's degree in jazz studies from Humber College. Most recently Adam has written a book, New Approach to Scales for Guitarists: A Practical Modern Direction, which explains his fresh approach to applying scales on guitar.