Jack Tuttle’s Bluegrass Guitar Primer


Hardcopy and/or PDF version available to buyers in the United States.  A PDF version only is available for buyers globally. Free audio files linked below.
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Note: If you order the PDF, you should get an automated reply email with the link. Didn’t get it? Please contact me!

In this 96 page book, the material is laid out in a graduated fashion and features 69 songs. Included are scales, arpeggios, pick exercises, chords diagrams, tag endings and a commonly used bass-run page. This book includes both standard music notation and tablature.

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The book that has launched the career of many a bluegrass guitar player, including the 2018 Bluegrass Guitar Player of the Year (IBMA) and the 2019 2nd place winner of the National Flatpicking Championship (okay, both of those are my own kids). This spiral-bound book is a result of my developing a well thought-out lesson program for guitar over the last forty years of teaching. In this 96 page book, the material is laid out in a graduated fashion. There is an even mix of common fiddle tunes and bluegrass breaks to singing pieces. Some pieces also included a rhythm page for gaining ideas on how to play chords and runs in the proper bluegrass style. There are a number of transcriptions of recorded solos by bluegrass greats, but most arrangements are put together by me for teaching purposes. Also included are scales, arpeggios, pick exercises, chords diagrams, tag endings and a commonly used bass-run page. This book includes both standard music notation and tablature. For an idea of the quality of the transcriptions, you can download PDF samples on my transcription page.

Note: Jack Tuttle's Guitar Primer is an updated version of the earlier, previously named, Jack Tuttle's Bluegrass Guitar Collection, vol 1. For those looking for the mp3s to the earlier book, go here.

Here is the Table of Contents with links to accompanying audio files. Here's a Spotify playlist with versions of the songs.

Boil Em Cabbage Down: simple fiddle tune for working out pick direction rules G
Long Journey Home: playing melody with chords filling the spaces G
Old Joe Clark: easy fiddle tune for more pick direction practice G
The Girl I Left Behind Me: easy fiddle tune in G
Bury Me Beneath the Willow: melody break with more strumming G
Bury Me Beneath the Willow (rhythm): Strumming with standard bass runs
Soldier's Joy: easy fiddle tune played out of C
Soldier's Joy (rhythm): chording with standard bass runs out of C
Sittin' on Top of the World: melody based solo with some strumming G
Sittin' on Top of the World (rhythm): demonstrates the “accent strum” common in bluegrass G
Jaybird: easy fiddle tune for working on pick direction on off-beat 8th notes D
Will the Circle Be Unbroken?: another melody with strumming, more sophisticated
Arkansas Traveler: fiddle tune out of C with some longer 8th note runs
The Bluebirds Are Singing For Me: solo for vocal piece, longer 8th note passages C
Wildwood Flower: classic melody based solo out of C
Red Haired Boy: fiddle tune with more notes
Sweetheart You've Done Me Wrong: a bit of cross-picking out of C
Liberty: notey fiddle tune C
Before I Met You: solo for a Flatt & Scruggs waltz
Swallowtail Jig: 6/8 jig, not really bluegrass, but worth knowing how to play
June Apple: fiddle tune played out of A (no capo)
I'll Fly Away: common song, getting a bit more advanced now
Forked Deer: cool popular fiddle tune out of C
Gonna Settle Down: Flatt & Scruggs song, upping our game G
Whiskey Before Breakfast: standard fiddle tune out of C
Whiskey Before Breakfast (rhythm) some alternative ideas for rhythm playing
Cherokee Shuffle: popular fiddle tune G
Cherokee Shuffle (rhythm): getting away from alternate bass playing G
Foggy Mountain Top: a more sophisticated approach to playing melody G
St Anne's Reel: standard fiddle tune with lots of arpeggios C
Bill Cheatum: standard fiddle tune with some more complex ideas G
Bill Cheatum (rhythm) more BG rhythm guitar ideas G
Molly and Tenbrooks: Bill Monroe song, melody with more bluesy ideas G
Squirrel Hunters: trendy fiddle tune D
Dark Hollow: common song out of C
Dark Hollow (rhythm): more BG rhythm ideas for C
Salt Creek: notey fiddle tune G
Clinch Mountain Backstep: Ralph Stanley modal banjo tune with extra beat G
Short Life of Trouble: fast waltz G
Short Life of Trouble (rhythm) more BG waltz ideas G
Billy in the Lowground: common fiddle tune out of C
Down the Road: solo for Flatt & Scruggs song
Cripple Creek: a tune everyone should know G
I'm Blue I'm Lonesome: some more cross-picking C
Lonesome Road Blues: up tempo vocal or banjo song G
Angeline the Baker: fiddle tune out of D
Worried Man Blues: upping the game for vocal style solo
Ragtime Annie: common fiddle tune C
I'm Waiting to Hear You Call Me Darling Flatt & Scruggs song D
Big Mon: classic Monroe fiddle tune G
Blackberry Blossom: one of the more difficult fiddle tunes G
Pretty Polly: modal song with more advanced solo G
Turkey In the Straw: common fiddle tune everyone has heard G
I Wonder Where You Are Tonight: Flatt and Scruggs getting more complex now D
Foggy Mountain Special: Scruggs banjo tune, a bit of a swingy approach
I'll Never Shed Another Tear: Flatt and Scruggs song, lots of notey runs
I'll Never Shed Another Tear (rhythm) more ideas for BG rhythm
It Takes One to Know One: Jimmy Martin waltz with downpicking
It Takes One to Know One (rhythm) some of Jimmy’s ideas here
Little Maggie: modal song, lots of bluesy scale runs
Cumberland Gap: one Scruggs made popular on banjo
Paddy on the Turnpike: common fiddle tune, based on playing of Clay Jones
Man of Constant Sorrow, tons of blues ideas D
Kentucky Mandolin: Monroe mandolin tune played out of Em
Salty Dog: less melody, more scales, circle of 5ths chord progression G
Carter's Blues: from the playing of Larry Sparks, using mostly downpicks
Fire on the Mountain: common fiddle tune with some syncopation A
In the Pines: common old waltz, sophisticated soling D
In the Pines (rhythm) more ideas for BG rhythm on a waltz D
Head Over Heels in Love With You: Flatt & Scruggs song, getting more advanced
East Virginia Blues: common song, some cross-picking but a bit of everything here
Gold Rush: classic Monroe fiddle tune
Toy Heart: Monroe song, lots of melody but also some longer 8th note runs with syncopations
Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow: fairly advanced solo
Highway of Regret: Stanley Brother song with lots of blues notes
Beaumont Rag: transcription from Jeff White, off an Alison Krauss album
Rebecca: common mandolin tune by Herchel Sizemore
Blue Ridge Cabin Home, Tony Rice solo (no melody here!)
Blue Ridge Cabin Home (rhythm)
Think of What You've Done: Stanley Brother song, transcription of Bryan Sutton from Ricky Skaggs album
Tag Endings: for ending fiddle tunes
End Licks (vocals): how to take a song home at the very end

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