Chopping solo or How to play fun songs by myself?


#1

Hey crew, how’s everyone doing?

Been working like a dog on the chop chords and playing rhythm with a once a month bluegrass jam. It’s been slow going but I’m at the point now where a few nights a week I queue up the blue tooth and start playing along with one of a dozen or so different BG songs. It’s not bad, I’m getting better and better each week, and can definitely keep the rhythm chop and even play the most basic of breaks (along with the song). So hey, it feels like progress and that’s good.

My question though is sometimes I just want to play “by myself” and rock out some of those same songs. There’s nothing stopping me, however I can’t help be get the sense that that chop chord doesn’t sound as good as it did when I was playing along with the rest of the “Internets Band” :slight_smile: In other words, the chop sounds perfect when there’s a guitar, banjo, fiddle, etc playing along, it meshes and makes “great music”. :slight_smile: But… well, on it’s own it’s kind of…barky (is that even a word?)

So I’ve tried to just play open chords, but the chop rhythm is so engrained now that open chords sound so LOONNNGGG and boring… How do you sing along with that?

I don’t think I need instruction as much as I need to listen to some good solo mandolin playing that’s possible for mere mortals to obtain…let’s be frank, Thile has way more than 10,000 hours, more like 100,000 hours. While I love listening to him it’s like watching a professional athlete, inspiring, but they are so far ahead that really practical comparisons or ideas are moot.

I’m wondering if there are some people on YouTube you guys/gals like for that? Do you often play other styles outside of BG where the chording and rhythm is different? Something you would recommend I look at? Or perhaps there are great examples of solo BG song playing by mandolin guys/gals that after I watch I’ll want to kick myself for not thinking of.

Basically, Old Time fiddle tunes are coming to mind… I actually listened to some clawhammer banjo the other day and got to wondering how I would play along with those guys… thankfully all I have it Internet friends so I’m safe :slight_smile:

Looking for the feedback from my favorite mando loving Internet friends!

Thanks!

Matt


#2

Howdy Matt, I’m glad things are coming along well. IMHO, the mando doesn’t make any easy instrument for doing nice sounding solo accompaniment for vocals. I do think Thile does a great job with it (many examples on uTube). My favorite approach for solo playing/singing involves more open chords and drone chords. I use alot of embellishments (like hammer ons, slides) and variants on the chords. I can’t think of a good example on uTube, but to get you an idea, I play something like the following progression for a song in C (insert your own timing and slide things a bunch). The progression on this song is C G Am F:
0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 5 7 0 0 5 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
3 3 3 3 5 7 0 2 2 2 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 3 3
0 2 2 2 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 0 2
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 5 5 5 5 0 0
I hope that’s enough to spark an idea. If not, let me know and I can tab it in a TEF file.


#3

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'm wondering if there are some people on YouTube you guys/gals like for that? Do you often play other styles outside of BG where the chording and rhythm is different? Something you would recommend I look at? Or perhaps there are great examples of solo BG song playing by mandolin guys/gals that after I watch I’ll want to kick myself for not thinking of.

— End quote

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Well the king of solo mandolin AND something different is Jim Richter, now he can give you that Thile feel or never on my best day BUT his chord strumming is different ( he plays open chords and chops by bringing down a finger to mute the strings) and my point in pointing him out is no song is off limits on the mandolin. I came from electric gtr and sometime I sit and play Hendrix or AC DC on the mandolin just to mix it up or break a mold. Voodoo Child is easier than Jim makes it here but watch these. He has a whole YouTube channel with ton of this stuff.

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaHRstF-2qA[/video]

Sir duke
[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMmyMzkYf38[/video]


#4

I dig it. I like the voodoo chile mando part.