View Full Version : Can anyone recommend a good beginner's bluegrass and/or country book?

03-09-2007, 09:33 AM
I'd like to learn the basics of bluegrass and country, anybody have any books they'd recommend?

03-09-2007, 01:25 PM
A good intro to both styles would be "Old Time Country Guitar Backup Basics" by by J. Weidlich. This book focuses on rhythm playing, and it shows the foundation used in both country and bluegrass music. Hell, I'd recommend this book to just about any guitar player.

As far as country goes, I really like "Hot Country" by L. Hodgson. It's published in the U.K. (I think) and it seems a little hard to find here in the States. It looks like Elderly Instruments sells it. This book illustrates the foundations used by modern country players. It's quite verbose, but in a good way. And it lays a good theoretical foundation to work on. It's a great book for a fairly experienced guitarist who's new to country guitar. It covers the common scales, intervals, and licks along with some basic rhythm playing and lots of good examples.

And "Red Hot Country" by M. Hawley would be a great supplement to both of these books. It's a lick-oriented book, but it goes through the theory of what's going on. This really helps you improve your improvisational skills.

As far as bluegrass, that's harder. There's just so much crap out there. For starters, don't buy anything that still isn't in print. And stay away from names like Happy Traum, Eric Thompson, and Scott Nygaard. I would take a strong look at Steve Kaufman's stuff. He's a good player and instructor. He has a 3-dvd set that I think would make a great intro to bluegrass, but it goes a little slow. He has some more advanced material that's pretty good too. Once you get a handle on things, Tony Rice has some great instructional material as well.

Good luck.

03-09-2007, 02:08 PM
For Bluesgrass, and if you read standard notation, get one of those traditional fiddle tune books. The fiddle parts done with flat picking will really get you going in the right direction and help you carry out melodies too.

For some "country riffs" (ala Albert Lee, Pete Anderson, Ricky Skaggs, etc...) you can check out my Advanced Pentatonic Tutorial at my lessons site: http://lessons.mikedodge.com

Have fun.

03-09-2007, 02:56 PM
thanks for the advice!

03-11-2007, 10:58 AM
Here is a bluegrass book. I have not bought it yet but I looked through it in the bookstore. Plan to get it.


03-12-2007, 03:11 PM
Check out Steve Kaufman. He's a multi-award-winning flatpicker.
I taught with him many years ago (even took some lessons from him when I was 8).
He's got lots of books out (for Mel Bay, I think).

03-12-2007, 04:20 PM
I loved Tony Rice Teaches Bluegrass

Definitely not intended for beginners, but it's in tab, and he plays slow, medium, and at-tempo versions of each song, broken down into parts. About 20 classic bluegrass standards. You can learn at your own pace.