The latest issue (March 2011) of Acoustic Guitar magazine is out, and it includes a lengthy article by Tyler Grant entitled: Must-Know Bluegrass Vocabulary – A guide to practical licks every flatpicker should know.
Grant draws an interesting analogy between learning to play a particular style of music, like bluegrass, and learning to speak a new language. His goal with the article is to introduce guitar players to bluegrass vocabulary in such a way that they don’t just memorize some licks, but actually learn to speak the language so as to create their own “stylistically appropriate solos.”
just knowing a large number of words is not enough to get by—if you don’t want to sound like a tourist
The article is three pages long (at least online) and comes complete with tab and video examples for fifteen different exercises. Remember, the goal isn’t just to learn these licks, but to learn to speak the language of bluegrass like a native!
The conclusion of the article includes tab/video for Tyler’s original tune, Witch Creek.
Tyler is a great player, and with this article he’s provided a helpful introduction to the style for guitarists who are just learning to speak bluegrass.