Picking a Country Song
Now we can move on to a favorite folk, country, and bluegrass song to accompany
with this pattern. Although all the notes in the accompaniment part are written
out to guide you, the most important thing is to keep the beat going. Don’t worry
if sometimes you don’t exactly brush exactly the three strings that are indicated,
just as long it sounds like a good, ringing strum. Aim at getting more accurate
with more experience.
Playing a Solo: “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”
The words and vocal melody to “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” are given below,
in addition to the guitar accompaniment. If you want, you and a friend can learn
to play both parts on the guitar, and switch off playing lead and accompaniment.
When you encounter a song in 3/4 time, you’ll need to adapt the pattern to work
in units of three. Bass brush has two components. To get the feeling of three beats,
just add one more brush.
Make it your business to learn to accompany about a zillion songs with these
patterns. Ideally, you should become perfectly comfortable with it before moving
on to anything else. But just to give you a little taste of how this pattern can
be developed, let’s use it to play the melody of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”
We’ll do this by playing the melody notes instead of the ordinary bass notes.
As you follow the music you’ll see that sometimes you need to move or add a finger
to play a melody note that is not one of the notes of the chord, but keep the chord
shape in place as much as you can and always get back to it. You’ll notice that
you really have to move some fingers around on the F chord. From the chord chart
earlier in the chapter, choose one of the F chord shapes that doesn’t use the complete
bar, so you can get to the open strings when you need them.
Also notice how every now and then a bass note is used in the spot where there
would normally be a brush. This is something you sometimes have to do in order to
get the melody out clearly. Some melodies are so busy that, in order to get them
out, you’d hardly find time to brush at all. Songs like this are not well suited
to this style of playing.