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The Ten Commandments of Playing Bluegrass Music

I: Ye who makes the pie plate sing, the hubcap moan, ye of many metal fingerpicks and a bar of steel, keep thine eye squarely on the fret markers and thine ear at strict attention. Thou art blessed with the opportunity to create great joy, but poor pitch on a Dobro is unclean, as is missing the turnaround. Both are offenses so grievous as to be damnable for seven generations.

II. Practitioner of the tiny eight-string, know that if thy solos are good, all the better, but that is not why thou art in the band. Focus on timing, for sloppy chopping is unclean and an abomination before the maker, and his wrath shall be loosed, yea unto the seventh generation.

III. Rattle not your tableware, nor strike it first against thy leg, then thy rib cage, all the while assuming the countenance of the stooge, for it is unclean and an abomination before me. Such apish behavior is damnable for seven generations.

IV. Nor shall ye rake thine thimble-tipped fingers across the tool of the washerwoman for this is an abomination before me, and is damnable, yea unto the seventh generation of thy seed.

V. Neither shall ye slaughter the goat and stretch its hide across wooden barrels, then beat upon it with wooden timbers on the two and the four. This is the task of the mandolin, and to usurp it is unclean, and damnable unto the seventh generation.

VI. When thou drag equine hair across filaments of intestine, thou art slave to pitch, as is thy bastard cousin, the stringed doghouse. Thine scale is small, and the possibility for peril immense. The difficulty is understood by the maker, still, poor pitch on a fiddle is damnable for seven generations, yea verily.

VII. Banjo player-thou art damned. The five-string tambourine makes a hellish racket that few have been able to tame. May the power of the maker be with thee in thy quest, but five gets you ten that thou art damned.

VIII. Oh ye of the aforementioned big stringed doghouse. The rest of the guys and gals are probably just glad you showed up. Try to keep the slapping to a minimum, for it is damnable.

IX. Ye who stand in the center and emit pitched words, know that thou art not a God. Thou art a chooch with a guitar whose vocal folds are of such consistency as to be pleasant to the listener, or perhaps some other alpha characteristics has made thee a defacto leader of misfits. To imagine thyself to be anything more is unclean and an abomination before me, and is damnable, yea unto the seventh generation of thy seed.

X. All who perpetuate the bluegrass idiom, whether ye drag the bow, grasp the plectrum, thump the doghouse or tickle the five-string tambourine, assume not the countenance of the constipated man, nor display false overbite. Playing bluegrass music is pleasurable, and to feign painful artistic reverie is unclean, and damnable for seven generations, yea verily, so say I.

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