AcuTab's latest DVD project, Bluegrass Jamming Essentials, offers instruction, information and valuable tips for the largest sector of acoustic and bluegrass musicians—jammers!
But unlike similar titles on the market, this DVD features top touring professionals doing the demonstrations, and providing an all-star rhythm section with whom you can play along.
Most people pick up one of the bluegrass instruments with an eye towards getting to play with other musicians. For some, the goal is no more grand than to participate in local jam sessions or parking lot picking at festivals, while others hope to join up with an amateur band - or even pursue playing professionally.
Bluegrass Jamming Essentials is designed to assist pickers in any of those camps make a big leap forward—or take their first baby steps.
Learning to play with others can be a fearsome thing for new players, and even intermediate and more skilled players who know their instrument well are unaware of the fine points of playing in a bluegrass band. On Bluegrass Jamming Essentials, Bill Evans and Megan Lynch lead an all-star band through the basics for banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass using both bluegrass standards and songs from recent recordings.
Bill is a popular west coast banjo picker, and one of the most sought after banjo teachers in the US. Megan is a six time National Fiddle Champion currently touring with Pam Tillis. Bill and Megan have taught band workshops all over the world both separately and as a team.
Mandolinist Adam Steffey has toured with Alison Krauss, Mountain Heart, Dan Tyminski and The Boxcars. On guitar, Tim Stafford holds down the rhythm in bluegrass supergroup Blue Highway and is also an Alison Krauss alumnus. Bass player David Thomas tours with Special Consensus. Together this top-notch band demonstrates the essential elements of playing in a bluegrass band, plus dozens of tips and tricks that will make you a more effective player at jams.
In this 2-1/2 hour video, the five of them describe the basic roles of the bass, mandolin, guitar, banjo and fiddle in the band setting, and address such crucial topics as tuning, choosing keys and tempos, proper capo use and more. Other concepts covered include backup and fills, soloing, playing with drive, a variety of song formats, and communication within a band while playing.
They demonstrate all this using familiar songs Nine Pound Hammer, Gold Rush, Knoxville Girl, Sitting On Top Of The World and more, each chosen to show these important concepts in a variety of keys, tempos and styles. And for each song, they leave a spot for you to play your own break!
Bluegrass Jamming Essentials sells for $35 (USD) on DVD or via online download from Instant Bluegrass.