In the new year, the Beginner Bluegrass Jam will continue to be held on Thursdays from 6:30 - 9pm at the Ironwood Bar & Grill.
In the attachments, I have included new song lists for the jam. Starting next week, these will replace the song lists that we used for the jam between September and December 2022.
The song of the week is 'All The Good Times Are Past And Gone' in the key of A. This song is played in 3/4 time.
Flatt and Scruggs - key of A
Jimmy Martin - key of C
Jason Homey & The Snake River Boys - key of A (starts at 11:23)
Jason Homey and the Snake River Boys, IBA Open Mic, 6_25_19 - YouTube
Here are three youtube jam videos I have made for All The Good Times Are Past And Gone. I recommend starting with the one listed first. In that one, I am on guitar.
Jason’s YouTube Links – Alphabetical Listing – Parisology (cyberplasm.com)
The chord progression for All The Good Times Are Past and Gone is:
This is Progression V6 on the Basic Chord Progressions handout. Other songs, and parts of songs, on the song lists for the beginner jam that use this same progression are Amazing Grace, the verses and breaks of Before I Met You, Foggy Mountain Top, the verses and breaks of I've Lived A Lot In My Time, Light At The River, and the verses and breaks of Little Cabin Home On The Hill.
In the key of A: 1 = A; 4 = D; 5 = E.
With a capo on the 2nd fret, the chord shapes become: 1 = G; 4 = C; 5 = D.
In 3/4 time (a.k.a. Waltz time), there are 3 beats per measure. On guitar, when playing rhythm, one measure will consist of 'boom-chuck-chuck', i.e., 'bassnote-strum-strum', rather than the more common rhythm for bluegrass songs of 'boom-chuck-boom-chuck'. Notice that this means that in 3/4 time it takes two measures, instead of one, to get through a cycle of root-5 (alternating bass) on guitar (and on bass, if you are playing only one note per measure). For this reason, it can be useful to think of the chord progression in groups of two measures.
Root-5: Guitar, Bass (and Banjo)
The root note of each chord is simply the note that has the same letter name as the chord. The '5' of the chord is the 5th note of the major scale that has the same letter name as the chord. The first five notes of the A major scale are A, B, C#, D, and E, so when playing 'root-5' over an A chord, this means that you are alternating between an A note and an E note.
There are six major (and six minor) chords for which identifying the 5 involves nothing more than counting up the musical alphabet, without having to worry about sharps or flats. The six are: A, C, D, E, F, and G. So, the 5 of C (counting C as 1) is G (1,2,3,4,5: C,D,E,F,G), the 5 of D is A, the 5 of E is B, the 5 of F is C, and the 5 of G is D.
3/4 Time Root-5: Guitar, Bass (and Banjo)
Taking the progression two measures at a time, the first two measures allow one to play 'root-5' over the 1 chord, but the second group of two measures (i.e., the third and fourth measures) allow one to play only the root note of the chords called for there, because the second of these two measures has a different chord than what the first of these two measures does. So, this scenario is similar to what happens in the non-3/4 time songs we play at the jam in which a single measure is split between two chords (e.g., the 7th measure of each of the parts of Boil The Cabbage Down, Old Joe Clark, and Soldier's Joy, or the 2nd and 4th measures of Down The Road and the A-Part of Cripple Creek).
The second line of the progression for All The Good Times allows one to play root-5 over the 1 chord and then over the 5 chord. Notice that this means that two root notes over the 1 chord end up being played back to back, one in the last measure of the first line, and one in the first measure of the second line, since the first line of the progression ended with the 1 chord, and there was only time to play the root note of the chord, but not the 5, because the third measure of the first line called for a chord other than the 1 chord.
Notice that on the Flatt and Scruggs recording, an extra measure of the 1 chord is played at the end of each of the breaks before the vocal comes in. The same thing happens on the Jimmy Martin recording, except that after the mandolin intro break, two extra measures of the 1 chord are played before the vocal comes in. On The Snake River Boys recording, 2 extra measures are played at the end of the first three breaks, each of which are followed by a verse, but no extra measures are played at the end of the fourth (last) break which is followed by a chorus. When playing this song at the jam, these kinds of things may or may not happen, so be prepared for any number of these scenarios. The safest thing to do here is to just keep on hitting the root note of the chord (on bass and guitar) at the beginning of each of these potential additional measures of the '1' chord so as to guarantee that you will be playing the root note of the chord at the time when the progression starts over from the beginning.
3/4 Vamp/Chop: Mandolin, Fiddle, Banjo, and Dobro
When playing a 'vamp' or 'chop' rhythm on mandolin, banjo, fiddle, or dobro, a measure of 3/4 time will consist of 'rest-chuck-chuck', which is the same as the guitar rhythm, just without the bass note at the beginning of the measure.
3/4 Rolls (Banjo)
When playing a roll in 3/4 time on banjo, you will have time for a maximum of 6 plucked notes per measure (counted as '1 & 2 & 3 &'), rather than the usual maximum of 8 notes per measure ('1 e & a 2 e & a'), Considered in relation to a roll pattern consisting of 8 notes, this usually involves omitting either the last two notes of the roll, or in some cases, the 5th and 6th notes of the roll, or the 3rd and 4th notes of the roll. If approaching playing in 3/4 time from his angle, make sure that the 3/4 time rolls you create by dropping notes from the standard 8 note rolls don't result in the need to play two 8th notes back to back with the same finger of your picking hand.
There are many standard (common time: 4/4, or cut common time 2/2) licks on banjo, as well as on the other bluegrass instruments, that have 3/4 time equivalents. The 3/4 time versions of these licks in many cases can be derived from the common time or cut common time lick by omitting a quarter of a measure's worth of the least essential notes of the lick.
To help illustrate this, I have included in the Files section at the bottom of this write-up a chart of A and E fill-in licks for fiddle and mandolin, and G and D fill-in licks for banjo and guitar (capo 2 to raise them to A and E), presented in the context of 2 measures worth of 3/4 time backup playing.
The two A measures (written as G measures, capo 2, for banjo and guitar) fit the last two measures (that is, measures 15 and 16) of the progression for All The Good Times when played in the key of A. The two E measures (written as D measures, capo 2, for banjo and guitar) fit the last two measures of the second line (that is, measures 7 and 8) of the progression for All The Good Times when played in the key of A.
Ending the Song
In the Files section at the end of this write-up, I have included a chart of 'Waltz Time Endings in the Key of A' which shows simple, but effective, ways on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo to end 'All The Good Times Are Past And Gone', and almost any other song in 3/4 time when played in the key of A. These endings are played for the last 2 measures of the final chorus. They are not 'tack-on' endings to be played after the last 2 measures of the final chorus. The first beat of the first measure shown for each of the endings coincides with the last sung syllable in the song. Each of the endings shown are easily transposable to each of the other 7 major keys that songs are played in at the jam.
Fiddle & Mandolin Breaks: Easy Double Stops
When played in the key of A, the melody of All The Good Times Are Past And Gone can easily be harmonized in the context of a melody-based fiddle or mandolin break, by playing the next highest open string together with the string that the melody is being played on. On the A chord measures, play the open E string along with the A, B, and C# melody notes that are played on the A string. and play the open A string along with the E melody note that is played on the D string. On the E chord measures, play the open E string along with the A, B, and C# melody notes that are played on the A string. On the D chord measures, play the open A string while playing the F# and A melody notes on the D string. All of this works well because the A and E notes (2nd and 1st open strings) are notes that are part of the A chord, the A note is also part of the D chord, and the E note is also part of the E chord.
I sing the three verses that are on the Flatt & Scruggs recording, and occasionally add Jimmy Martin's second verse to this for a fourth verse.
For the chorus, I sing the set of lyrics that are on the Flatt & Scruggs recording. Notice that there is a difference between the lyrics for the 1st and 3rd lines of the chorus. The first line is the same as the title of the song ('All the good times are past and gone'), but the third line is: 'All the good times have passed and gone.'
Since the starting note for the melody of the chorus is the third of the 1 chord (a C# note when in the key of A), the starting note for the tenor harmony is the fifth of the 1 chord (an E note when in the key of A), and the starting note for the baritone harmony is the root of the 1 chord (an A note when in the key of A).
On the Snake River Boys performance of All The Good Times Are Past And Gone included in the Recordings section of this write-up, you might notice that although I sing the melody on the verses, I switch to singing the baritone harmony on the choruses, while the bass player takes over singing the melody on the choruses.
20 songs were played at last night's jam: 11 from the main list, 6 from the additional songs list, and 3 that are on neither list:
All The Good Times Are Past And Gone - A
Boil The Cabbage Down - A
Buffalo Gals - A
Bury Me Beneath The Willow - G
I'll Fly Away - G
Mama Don't Allow - D
A Memory Of You - A
New River Train - F
Shortnin' Bread - G
Soldier's Joy - D
Will The Circle Be Unbroken - G
Cluck Old Hen - A
Jambalaya - C
Liberty - D
Little Cabin Home On The Hill - A
Mountain Dew - G
Will You Be Loving Another Man - A
Auld Lang Syne - G
Silent Night - C
Sitting On Top Of The World - G
Have a happy New Year!
All The Good Times - banjo tab
All The Good Times - guitar tab
All The Good Times - mandolin tab
All The Good Times - melody in A
Waltz Time Endings in the Key of A
E Chord Fill-in Licks in Waltz Time
A Chord Fill-in Licks in Waltz Time