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Rhythmic Embellishments

Gettin' Fancy

Rhythmic embellishments are another important element to an authentic bluegrass chop. They help to fill space and move the music along. Bill Monroe used them all the time. Listen to Bill Monroe’s “Footprints in the Snow”. In this recording you can hear several of the rhythmic embellishments taught here and more. They are very clearly heard in the chorus where bill uses the chop to fill space between vocal lines.

Just a few basic embellishments are taught, and will be used in our song study of I saw the light. Don’t worry about hitting the exact strings listed in the tab. If you hit 3 strings instead of 2 or vice versa, that’s fine. The more you play, you will start to gravitate towards a certain sound. Sometimes you might like to accentuate the high strings, or maybe you like to include the D string on your up-stroke because it gives a fuller sound. There’s a lot of subtlety to be had and over time you will develop a chop that works for you and the specific song you are playing. The most important thing with these embellishments are the timing and feel. Watch the video carefully, then listen repeatedly to each measure on a loop. This will help you start to understand the sound before you try and play it. Remember to use the looper to work on these Rhythm riffs individually.

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