Free Bluegrass Lessons for Guitar & Mandolin

The lesson tunes are recorded and laid out in the same way all of the tunes in my Jam Tunes books are done. Each tune has three tracks. The 1st track is melody with band @ 106 bpm. The 2nd track is no melody with band @ 106 bpm. The 3rd track is full band, 3 times through @ 170 bpm. Remember to practice your rhythm playing as well as the picking, you're going to need it.

The tunes are in MP3 format, the text and music/tab is in PDF format and videos are either links to our YouTube channel or WMV. In order to read the PDFs, you will need to have Adobe Reader. The MP3s and WMVs are as small as I could make them without losing quality. Right click on each of the links for the MP3s, WMVs and PDFs, and download them to your computer.

The lessons are designed for intermediate players for both mandolin and guitar, and are intended for private/home study use. Of course, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have,, I will get back to you. Also be sure to visit our free samples page to download actual samples from Jam Tunes.

Several folks have asked, "Who played on the recordings"? Well, for better or worse it's all me, one track at a time.

Big Sandy River

Since one of the most emailed questions I get is, "how do I improvise around a melody, once I understand the tune?" To help answer that question, what we've done is a version 1 and a version 2 of Big Sandy River. Version 1 is a straight forward, "here's the melody" sort of arrangement. For version 2, I'm trying something I've never seen done before. There maybe a very good reason I've never seen it done, but we're going to try it anyway. Version 2 is a fancier arrangement. The difference is I've color coded certain licks and phrases, to give you an idea of what licks can be swapped out with other licks. The blue licks on page one, will swap out with any of the other blue licks on page one, etc. The goal of course, is to get you to begin to see how licks and phrases can be used to create your own version and still have it sound like the tune, more or less.

I've taught these versions for about 3 weeks now, and everyone seems to get and like the whole "color" thing. A good friend of mine whose opinion I trust, really liked the idea of colored licks and said, "You've created Garanimals for bluegrass." I'm hoping you get it as well.

This one has a lot of files and a lot of info. I've followed the same format that we have used for our previous lessons. You have a slow melody track, a slow rhythm track, and the faster jam track, for both versions 1 and 2. We also shot videos of me playing both versions slowly, along with a lesson video to walk you through this. Of course, all of this is for both guitar and mandolin.

This is a cool tune and was fun to put together. I hope you enjoy it and are able to get a good grip on improvising your arrangement.

Guitar Version 1

Guitar Version 2

Mandolin Version 1

Mandolin Version 2

Blackberry Blossom 

If you are unfamiliar with Blackberry Blossom, this lesson won't make a lot of sense. This version should not be your introduction to this tune. Get a solid melody version under your belt before you tackle this one. There are so many good versions of this tune on the net, learn as many as you can. Then pick out the licks and phrases that sound the best to you and reassemble the tune. You now have your version of this, or any other tune.

Again, make sure you know the chords. I say this a lot, don't I? Also practice going from melody to rhythm, rhythm to melody, etc., without stopping.

The lesson videos are 65+ megs. A high-speed connection is a must.  



The Gold Rush

This one is going to be relatively easy. It's one of my favorites and was written by Mr. Bill Monroe. If you're new to bluegrass, you'll want to know a little about this man, visit the Bill Monroe Foundation and learn about the father of bluegrass.

Guitar Lesson

Mandolin Lesson

Dixie Hoedown

Guitar Lesson

Mandolin Lesson

Lonesome Fiddle Blues

Guitar Lesson

Mandolin Lesson

Interstate Rag

Guitar Lesson

Mandolin Lesson

Deck The Halls

Guitar Lesson

Mandolin Lesson

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Guitar Lesson

Mandolin Lesson

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