Silver Sand Rag Part 1

In this lesson, Charlie will teach us the first 16 bars of a Bluegrass piece called Silver Sand Rag.

The diagrams below show the position of the fingers on your left hand to play the basic chords used in this lesson.

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In case you missed it ...

We are going to take a look at a little Bluegrass piece called Silver Sand Rag. I have absolutely no idea where I found this piece of music, but I had it lying around for many years, so I thought we'd have a crack at it today. Like I've had done with previous pieces, I'll break it down into sections for you. So, let's get cracking!

We're starting off here, with the C chord ... and I'm going to be playing thumb of the bass note being C ...thumb and second finger going from G to E, so I get this sound ... Notice that I'm using the second finger on my right hand ... going to my first finger. Very important that we use thumb, second into first. C note, ... thumb back on the C, second finger back on my high E ...and then back to my thumb on the G note ...

So getting a nice close up on the right hand here playing my C chord, it's thumb, thumb and second finger ... First finger comes in and grabs what is my B string or what is my C note ... thumb again ... second finger it's going to grab the E, the open E string ... and then back to my open G string with my thumb ...

I'm playing that in what we call a swing feel ...

If I played it straight, it would be ... and in the swing ...

So again, from my C to my E7 chord, I'm playing a B on the bass my E7 chord, So, it is E7 with a B bass so the right hand is exactly the same ...

So the third chord now is an A chord. All I'm doing is half barring the second fret and stretching my forth finger onto the fifth fret. The right hand is exactly the same, playing an A bass to start, the only difference being at the end of the bar, instead of plying one note, I'm playing an A and a C. So I'm going to play thumb ... then thumb, second ... back onto my first ... this is my right hand ... back to my A bass ... and my second finger is going to play the A on the octave on the first string ... and the last two notes, I'm going to be using my thumb for the A and my first finger for the C# ...

Get a close up lookup of the right hand on that A chord ...

All that happens in bar 4 is I maintain the A shape. I play A on the bass, A on the octave with my forth finger here, and I just playing thumb, second finger ... drop down to the A with my thumb and I go to a G with my second finger here, so I'm going from A ... to a G ...

I'm using my second finger for the A octave ... on the E string I'm using my first finger on the right hand for the G ... and I repeat that, so I play both of those groups twice ...

Taking a close up look at the right hand for that forth bar. It's just simply ... alternating
second finger thumb ..
first finger thumb ...
second finger thumb ...
first finger thumb ...

So playing through the first four bars ... nice and slow for you ...

In bar 5, we change to a D7 chord ... So on the D7 chord I play a D bass with my thumb ... drop the thumb down to the A ... and grab the F# with my second finger ... Then my first finger is going to play the C natural on the B string ... Back to my thumb bass on the A ... I'm alternating that bass from D to A ... Back to F# once again with my second finger ... Then thumb on the A and first finger on the C. So starting off with my D ...

Bar 6, I'm still in my D7 chord playing my D again (with) my thumb ... F# and A together, thumb and second finger ... and then I play this little run going from my A to A# ... which takes me into bar 7, which is a B note ...

So starting on bar 5, playing through bars 5, 6 leading into 7...

Now, Bar 7, we are going to a G7 chord, so I play my little run ... I'm into that G7 chord, the only difference being that I'm playing my G bass here with my thumb. So running into that G7 chord ...

Bar 8, I'm going from a G chord to a G7 chord, so I'm pretty much just putting my forth finger down here on the first string, third fret, which is how I shape my G chord ... playing my G on the bass using my second finger for that G note ... then I go to a G7 chord alternating to my first finger on my right hand for the F note ... and what happens here with the bass note is I drop down to the G on the octave, so I get ...

Close up for the right hand on bar 8 ...

So let's just slowly run through from bar 1 to bar 8 ...

Bars 9, 10, 11 and 12 are the same as bars 1, 2, 3, 4 ...

Bar 13 is exactly the same as bar 5, the only difference is on Bar 5 the last two notes we play are A and C. We just simply play the A note at the end of the D7 chord.

So here is bar 13 ...

Also notice one this particular bar, I'm not going to alternate that bass note, I'm not going back to the A. I'm staying on the D all the way through ...

Now in bar 14, I'm going into a G7 chord. What I'm going to do here is play my G with my thumb, that's the open G, and I'm going to be playing my F note down here on my right hand with my second finger. So, first finger sitting on the F note at the top here and second finger on my right hand is going to play that note. so I get ... bass note ... first finger plays open D ... bass note G ... first finger plays my open B ... thumb plays the open A ... still playing that F note with my finger ... to my B note, again I'm using my thumb on my right hand and my second finger here on my left hand ...

Bar 15, I'm going from a C shape into what essentially is an Ab chord. I want to stay down in that first position. Some people move that up into the forth barre fret, but I think we can make an inversion down here in the first position. It is a little bit of a stretch with your forth finger, but I just show you that chord change separately before we add the right hand ...

So to achieve that Ab inversion, I'm barring my first fret, and stretching that forth finger here onto the forth fret of the E string ...

Looking at my right hand, in the C shape I'm playing C bass ... dropping down to my E with my thumb and my second finger is going to grab the C note on my right hand ... change to my Ab chord ... thumb plays the Ab on the bass ... second finger is grabbing that C ... and thumb drops down to play the Eb note ... which is on my D string ... and finishing off bar 16 just basically playing a C chord ...

So I just take you slowly through part 1 of Silver Sand Rag, that's bars 1 to 16 ...

Probably the most important thing to do is to establish your right hand, get that out of the way, so I'd work on going from my C chord to my E7 chord. Nice and slow to start with ... and then just pick up your tempo ...

Then work through the chord shapes again slowly to start and then gradually pick up your tempo ...

Persist with it. It is worth the effort. Have fun and hopefully I'll catch up with you for the second part of Silver Sand Rag.

 

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