Old-time Backup Guitar


Norm Williams or John Ehlis

(novice and up)


In old time music the guitar is primarily a backup instrument with its main purpose being to maintain the rhythm/beat of the tune and provide the platform for the fiddle & banjo, etc. The question is: As a guitar player, how do I add interest to the tune/song without getting in the way?

This session will offer some practical insight of some basic concepts guitarists can bring to the music.  Most important is keeping the beat/rhythm of the tune using an alternating bass strum and then adding interest to the tune by adding bass notes or runs, using alternate chord voicings, and even by choosing how the notes of a chord are picked and/or strummed.  We’ll work at understanding how to stay in the background supporting the music, whether it’s a fiddle tune or a song.