- Is it hard to play the mandolin? January 16, 2017 Heck no! It’s easy as eating pie if you approach learning the mandolin in the right way. Of course, there is no shortage of free information, tab, and musical notation of mandolin music on the web. The challenge is finding information that’s geared to your style of learning.
At Native Ground Books & Music we have ... Read More
- ‘Run Mountain’ history, music & lyrics + the origins of bluegrass December 27, 2016 Among the more bizarre songs in old-time and early country music is one called “Run Mountain.” The song is curious both for the melody and because some of the lyrics are rather mysterious. The melody is set in the key of G but it starts in the key of A. By the time the chorus ... Read More
- How Hard is it to Learn to Play the Guitar? December 16, 2016 The quick answer to this question is “it’s pretty easy,” IF you have the right instructor or instructional materials (ie books or videos). After teaching guitar since 1962, I’ve had a wide variety of students walk through the door. The vast majority have learned to play and, as far as I know, have kept playing ... Read More
- New Guitar Book + ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ Guitar Tab & Lyrics November 18, 2016 We are excited that Wayne’s newest book is just back from the printer, Painless Guitar – A Fun & Easy Guide for the Complete Beginner. This 48 page book is packed with 31 familiar folk, bluegrass, gospel and blues songs along with easy to read chord charts, simple tab and painless strumming… and it’s only ... Read More
- Ralph Stanley- ‘I’ve Just Seen the Rock of Ages’ for banjo July 27, 2016 Cold chills. That’s what I get when I hear the eerie voice of Ralph Stanley. You can say that I’ve been a true blue Stanley Brothers nut since I first heard them in 1962. Just thumbing through my collection of LPs, I count 58 Stanley Brothers or Ralph Stanley albums, and that doesn’t include several ... Read More
- Whiskey Before Breakfast on Clawhammer Banjo May 25, 2016 I recently published my newest clawhammer banjo book-Clawhammer Banjo~ Tunes, Tips & Jamming. Among the forty four tunes in the book, I included “Whiskey Before Breakfast.” I always wondered about the origin for the tune, so I took this opportunity to do some research. Here’s what I found.
Chasing down the history of “Whiskey Before Breakfast” ... Read More
- How to Tune a Ukulele- Your Ears Will Thank You May 4, 2016 Guest post by Colleen Kinsey, editor-in-chief of Coustii.
Even if you are a professional ukulele player, having an out of tune instrument is going to make you sound horrible. We’ll teach you how to tune your ukulele and keep it in tune. Different ukes will hold a tune better than others, it’s best to check every ... Read More
- A Different Approach to Learning Bluegrass Banjo ~ tab for ‘Katie Kline’ April 22, 2016 There are certainly as many ways to learn to play bluegrass style banjo as my dog has fleas, bless his heart. After playing and teaching banjo for many years, I came up with an approach that is different from any banjo books that I’ve seen. Let me explain.
The most common way to teach a beginner ... Read More
- Playing the B-flat chord on the ukulele February 2, 2016 (This is a guest post by Ted Parrish, ukulele extraordinaire and co-author of Ukulele for the Complete Ignoramus, available on our website as a spiral bound paperback or PDF, or on Amazon as spiral bound or Kindle.)
To be or not to be – Bb that is.
Beginning ukulele students often have this common experience: You are rolling right ... Read More
- ‘Fall On My Knees’ tab + lyrics ~ Clawhammering with Wayne Erbsen January 12, 2016 More than forty years ago I wrote my first banjo book, Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus. About five years ago I decided it was time for a follow up, so I started working on it. Recently we received delivery of the new book – Clawhammer Banjo ~ Tunes, Tips & Jamming. To make it easy to ... Read More
- ‘I Wish I Was A Mole in the Ground’ on Clawhammer Banjo + New Book November 11, 2015 I’m excited to announce that my newest book is at the printer. Entitled Clawhammer Banjo – Tunes, Tips and Jamming, the book was at least three years in the making, and I hope that people who want to learn to play in the clawhammer style on the banjo will think it’s a humdinger.
Let’s take one ... Read More
- Ukulele Advice: Do I need a strap? How do I hold this thing? October 20, 2015 This is a guest post by Ted Parrish, co-author of our newest release, Ukulele for the Complete Ignoramus, available on nativeground.com & Amazon (also in Kindle format).
A lot of ukulele beginners struggle with holding the instrument and ask what to do. It is important to have the instrument supported so that you don’t have to worry ... Read More
- Stagolee: the legend, music & lyrics October 14, 2015 This is an excerpt from Wayne Erbsen’s book, ‘Outlaw Ballads, Legends & Lore’, available on nativeground.com for only $5.95
The Legend of Stagolee
His real name was Stack Lee, but they all called him Stagolee. At birth, a fortune teller was summoned because the newborn was double-jointed and had a full set of teeth. What worried the ... Read More
- Short Life of Trouble ~ music, lyrics, and the joy of sad music September 15, 2015 A portion of this article was taken from the book Rural Roots of Bluegrass by Wayne Erbsen, published by Native Ground Books & Music.
A while back I was invited to bring an instrument to a potluck party of some friends of mine in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. I brought along my fiddle in ... Read More
- Should I Use a Pick with the Ukulele? September 9, 2015 (This is a guest post by Ted Parrish, co-author of ‘Ukulele for the Complete Ignoramus‘)
To pick or not to pick, that is the question.
Folks ask me all the time what pick do they need to play the ukulele. And while the easy answer is “none”, there really is no easy answer.
Historically speaking there is no ... Read More
- Ukulele Clubs August 7, 2015 (This is a guest post by Ted Parrish, co-author with Wayne Erbsen of our newest book, Ukulele for the Complete Ignoramus. It was be available on August 17, 2015)
One of the many wonders of the modern world has been the proliferation of ukulele clubs in almost every metropolitan area of the country. A Google search ... Read More
- The Hanging of Fiddlin’ Joe Coleman July 2, 2015 The story of the hanging of Fiddlin’ Joe Coleman is enough to send chills up and down your spine. In 1847, near the town of Slate Fork, in Adair County, Kentucky, a shoemaker and fiddler named Joe Coleman was living with his wife, and his wife’s mother and sister. According to some accounts, Joe had ... Read More
- Build Your Own Chords on the Fiddle or Mandolin May 28, 2015 One of my students recently asked me to give him a sheet with all the fiddles chords he would need to play most any bluegrass song. I certainly wanted to help him out, but I decided that I wouldn’t be doing him any big favors by handing him the chords on a sheet of paper. ... Read More
- Fat Finger Blues ~ Are My Fingers too Fat to Play Music? April 29, 2015 One of my struggling banjo students recently wrote me and asked if his fat fingers are to blame for muting the adjacent strings when he played. He even went so far as to send me a photo of his fingers to prove his point. A lot of people have given me the finger, but he ... Read More
- Cowboys in Bluegrass Music? April 8, 2015 As a kid, I desperately wanted to be a cowboy. I dreamed of owning a horse, riding the range, and doing what cowboys did. And why wouldn’t I? Every night I slept under a cowboy blanket and my lunch box was fully decorated with a decal of a handsome cowboy twirling his lariat. Growing up at ... Read More