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Hey, everyone,

I've been playing bluegrass guitar for a few years now. Thought I was a pretty decent rhythm player until I started trying to play along with a live version of the Stanley Brothers' "I Hear That Choo-Choo Comin'." It features Keith Whitley(!!) and is smokin' fast. Does anyone have any suggestions for a rhythm technique to use on a song this fast? Is the standard boom-chuck feasible at this speed? Or is Keith doing something special?

A link to the Youtube clip is right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4adxe5N6Ato

Keith's rhythm looks so dang effortless! Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated.



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Hey Frank,

I know my sight is slowing down in my old age, but it looks to me like they are playing chic-a-boom.
Thanks, Dave. Appreciate the response. I wasn't sure if Keith was even using some cross picking on his rhythm, too. I'll keep at it.

Yesm Keith is playing a boom-chick-boom rhythm and It´s not that fast actually. Listen to the bass! I don´t know how fast you can play normally but I can keep up with that tempo pretty good and I´m now guitar whiz at all. The fiddles and banjos have tendency of making songs sound faster than they really are.
Thanks, Stefan. I'll keep at it!
The key is to relax and let your right hand act like a drummer playing high hat, sorta.:-) Dan Tyminski does a great right hand thing as well. Also, when everyone is playing in the pocket and on the right rhythm patterns, it sound more complex than it is, it's just all working together - what a concept...:-)
He's probably hitting a lot fewer strings than you think. Trying to plow through 4 or 5 strings on the offbeat really slows you down, so on these fast ones a lot of rhythm players just alternate between the bass note and a quick brush of the B and E strings. If it gets REALLY fast, just the bass notes is OK, too.

Thanks for the response, Erik! That would definitely explain how to get that light touch. Appreciate it!


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