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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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May 8, 2006 | Rhythm Guitar/Mandolin

We like to think the mandolin wields untapped potential outside of its conventional ensemble settings. You've heard of the Bluegrass/Folk G-chop chord, a powerful rhythmic pulse or throbbing cue in acoustic environments that provides a subdivision backbeat. Listen to a good R & B rhythm guitarist, especially complex but repetitive background rhythm. It's that same choked, treble-ish sound that can drive the rest of the band, much like a good hihat beat in jazz...

Why not use this approach occasionally to drive a pop or rock band? The mandolin is quite adept at a percussive drive, so by all means, exploit this feature. The trick is in right (and sometimes left) hand muting or choking. A solid downstroke with a series of syncopated muting upstrokes can offer an ensemble a subliminal energy as good as any rhythm guitar.

Get funky...

Posted by Ted at May 8, 2006 5:27 AM

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