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Thread: Monroe Style Help

  1. #1
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Monroe Style Help

    Hey Everyone,

    I guess this isn't so much about his overall style. My question has to do with simply hearing the notes in his songs in an effort to learn them.

    For example, I am trying to get the introduction to Roanoke down in a detailed way, and listening to Bill play it isn't much help. It's odd, because he's the source of it. I've slowed it down to .75, .5, and even .25 speed to try to hear the notes. What becomes clear when slowing it down is he doesn't play very clean at that speed. It's full of clicks and even some rhythmic anomalies.

    What's been more helpful is listening to trusted interpreters of the song, particularly Roland White's playing with the Bluegrass Album Band, and I guess the Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza recording but Roland seems closer to Bill.

    Any thoughts on how to conceptualize Bill's playing when he gets going so fast? Roland, Grisman, Compton, and others seem to be able to get it, to get the notes and the feel. I can't always, but I'd like to be able to pick up on what Bill's doing without listening to what someone else picked up on.

    Make sense?
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  2. #2
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Style Help

    Kevin, Big Mon uses arpeggios heavily in his playing of that tune. Im pretty sure I have the tab, but its copyrighted by the transcriber.

  3. #3
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Style Help

    Thanks, Skip!

    Maybe I can purchase the tab somewhere?

    Also, I am developing a germ of a thought about how great it would be to have a new Skip Kelley A-style to pair with my shiny new Hamlett two-point. It’ll be a while due to saving up, but the thought is there. I love what I’m hearing from your mandolins!
    Hamlett Two-Point
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    Default Re: Monroe Style Help

    Christopher Henry transcribes alot of Monroe stuff and has a website full of videos and workshops.

    The lesson for Roanoke is there, heres the link - https://www.noyamountainmusic.com/do...nroes-roanoke/

    I would suggest a lesson with Christopher and he can discuss how to listen to Bill Monroe's playing since he does so much of it.

    The more of Monroe's stuff I transcribe the more I hear and have learned his tendencies...and for the rest I just wing it.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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  7. #5

    Default Re: Monroe Style Help

    Mike Compton has an online Monroe style mandolin course on Peghead Nation that is worth checking out. He goes through the material nice and slow, and you can even use the video slow-down feature to slow it down even more if you need. Having the video visual aid can be really helpful when your ear can't quite decipher what you're hearing. Especially with some of the "messy" sounding licks.
    https://www.pegheadnation.com/string...style-mandolin

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  9. #6
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Style Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Briggs View Post
    Thanks, Skip!

    Maybe I can purchase the tab somewhere?

    Also, I am developing a germ of a thought about how great it would be to have a new Skip Kelley A-style to pair with my shiny new Hamlett two-point. It’ll be a while due to saving up, but the thought is there. I love what I’m hearing from your mandolins!
    Kevin, thanks! John is a real master and that mandolin is sweet. I don't remember where I got the tab for it or if I can even find it.

  10. #7
    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Style Help

    [QUOTE=Kevin Briggs;
    What's been more helpful is listening to trusted interpreters of the song, particularly Roland White's playing with the Bluegrass Album Band, and I guess the Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza recording but Roland seems closer to Bill.[/QUOTE]

    On the Bluegrass Album Band version, it is Doyle Lawson on mandolin.

  11. #8
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Style Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    On the Bluegrass Album Band version, it is Doyle Lawson on mandolin.
    Ahhh, right you are! Total brain fart, lol. Thanks for mentioning it. :-)
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  12. #9

    Default Re: Monroe Style Help

    Well, I've been doing some intense study of Bill through the Monroe Workshops with Chris Henry and David Mclaughlin and friends and learning Bill is a deep dive, especially when you consider the depth of his career and the amount of music he created. It really is it's own dialect of mandolin language and really the only way to get it in your ear is to listen, listen, and listen. Then patterns start to emerge as you refine your ear and get it under your fingers. But it is still mysterious and slightly out of view. For hardcores new things are constantly emerging after years of work.

    The workshops are a very supportive group and have been very eye opening for me. They also represent a great value, in my opinion. As luck would have it the most recent session was today. The next one will be in 2 weeks and luck would have it the songs being studied are Roanoke and My Little Georgia Rose. You outta check it out, you might get bit with the bug.

  13. #10

    Default Re: Monroe Style Help

    Todd Collins has a Monroe book out. He does a note for note transcription.

    https://www.amazon.com/Monroe-Instru.../dp/B07B81RQRZ

    I took lessons from Todd for a while when I lived in NJ. He spent a lot of time working these transcriptions out listening to Monroe’s recordings.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  14. #11
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Style Help



    This is a good one to slow down and learn from.

  15. #12
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe Style Help



    This is a good explanation of what he's doing.

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    Default Re: Monroe Style Help

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post


    This is a good explanation of what he's doing.
    I was thinking that the OP's post had more to do with technique that note selection, and this video is a fabulous example of that. This staggered 1/16's style dictates the note choice, in a way. Monroe was a master at making this style flow. Roland White, Doyle, and especially Grisman excel at changing strings on the upstroke, and it seems to enable them to play these tunes at speed.
    Mitch Russell

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