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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #16092  by Ghostbends
 Thu May 10, 2007 7:58 am
If you were to start playing guitar to Grateful Dead music, to lean Garcia’s playing style, what songs would you use?
Would you use live material? studio?
Are there any 1,2, or 3 chord jams that you would use?
What songs would be the best place to start an introduction to Grateful Dead music theory?

 #16097  by amyjared
 Thu May 10, 2007 8:49 am
I can't speak for everyone, but I started with a few of the biggies:

Friend of the Devil
Uncle John's Band
Sugar Magnolia

These three had some good licks, progressions, etc and kept me interested. I learned them from the studio albums, because they are played different live. Once I learned them, I wanted to learn more of the licks that Garcia played, so I worked on songs like Birdsong, which has a lick that you can learn in two different keys, since it was played in two different ones. I found this site early on and started learning as much as I could. I also bought Legendary Licks DVD, which I highly recommend, to help me learn some songs. As for jams and theory, I'm not the best person to answer that, but I always liked to find a song like Cold Rain and Snow that is a couple of chords and you can jam over it. Hope this helps!

 #16107  by Rev_Roach
 Thu May 10, 2007 10:24 am
Fire on the Mountain sure is easy. 2 chords (B and A), easy to jam. Good for playing with other people with little or no prep too.

On the 2 chord subject, try Cold Rain and Snow (E and D) too.

 #16110  by hobbsy
 Thu May 10, 2007 11:54 am
Rider's pretty easy... D-C-G for the verse and F-C for the chorus. I think he jams the D major pentatonic scale over this one... I could be wrong. And what mode is it Jerry played most often?

 #16111  by Erictw83
 Thu May 10, 2007 12:16 pm
My favorite of late has been jamming to Deal a la late 80s style (Alpine Valley 7/19/89, or Truckin up to Buffalo DVD for example). Its simple but super fun to play. Progression A-G-D, with A mixolydian overtop with lots of ascending and descending triplets.

 #16112  by Chief5959
 Thu May 10, 2007 12:34 pm
I would agree to start with the live stuff and also every so often on a tune you are jamming with try pan the output to the left or the right and you may find more space to play with or it may allow you to hear certain instruments better.

 #16113  by BlobWeird
 Thu May 10, 2007 12:50 pm
hmm I dont agree with Eric. Deal is definitely not one of the easier songs to learn by the Dead for beginners. The ones mentioned by the others are good (cold rain and snow, fire on the mountain). Also are you playin electric or acoustic? Women are smarter, Aiko Aiko, St Stephen, China Rider, Morning Dew for starters are easy songs with very few chords to learn. One thing that I used to do that really helped is to put a song on I didnt know and just try to play along and figure it out by ear. Even if it takes you a while it will really help your ear to pick up the notes. Always lookin at the chords on here to play isnt exactly the best idea. It doesnt give your ear much of a workout if you always look and never try to figure it out. As for whoever asked what Garcia's favorite mode would be id definitely have to go with Mixolydian mode. Oh and there really is no Grateful Dead music theory. Music theory is music theory and can be applied to any music.

 #16129  by quonce
 Thu May 10, 2007 3:19 pm
A few easy that I like to pick to:

Deal
Run for the Roses
Bertha
Uncle John's Band
Ripple
I Know You Rider
Friend of the Devil
Scarlet
Fire

 #16135  by BigJilm
 Thu May 10, 2007 5:38 pm
when i started playing dead tunes, i believe the first thing i learned was the cryptical envelopment riff. Then i learned st. stephen. I think from there i learned Uncle John's band, the basic terrapin jam, and Box of Rain. After that i moved on to some harder stuff...

 #16162  by tigerstrat
 Fri May 11, 2007 2:00 pm
BlobWeird wrote: As for whoever asked what Garcia's favorite mode would be id definitely have to go with Mixolydian mode.
I'd be just as tempted to say Dorian.

 #16172  by navajo
 Fri May 11, 2007 8:47 pm
building on what everyone else posted, you should start listening to live dead w/ a closer ear. actually pay attention to the jams and riffs, don't just let them roll over your face.

try to imagine how they played some of the riffs, try to pick around your guitar to see if you can mimic the general jam. start building up good rhythm and just have phun.

 #16180  by lostsailor8782
 Sat May 12, 2007 3:13 am
ummmm what Dead to play ... well the American Beauty stuff is a nice place to start for some acoustic strumming guitar .... but to actually play the stuff RIGHT >.. better work on your guitar playing ... there are hundreds of Dead cover bands all over America, you know why DSO is the cream of the crop ... because Rob Eaton can actually play, he is an unbelievable player and can capture Bobby, every other one has somme guy beating out cords cause he can't play "LEAD" ....what do you play lead or rythym ..... the hell with all that learn to play the guitar ... lead rythym it;s all the same, you can either play or not, and when not just poracdtice practice practice, I have been playing the guitar since 1979 and I still practice... ALOT .. oh and Jerry is all about the mixolydian mode just a major scale with a flattened 7th

 #16183  by nicolasalk
 Sat May 12, 2007 6:38 am
for me definetively, a great song to improvise over it, and to see chords progressions is:

Bird Song

 #16186  by Rev_Roach
 Sat May 12, 2007 7:01 am
Just remembered Franklin's Tower. That definitely be a good one. Casey Jones is pretty easy too, and a good one for the repetoire since it is recognizable even by non-deadheads. Wharf Rat isnt too bad, plus itd be good for practicing your pinky work with those Asus2 and 4. Touch of Grey is pretty simple, except maybe the bridge. And Bertha! Timing could be a little tricky but the chords sure arent.

Some of the songs posted here kind of surprised me. Deal is a fast song full of chromatics, doesnt sound easy for a beginner to me. Bird Song is pretty bland without that signature riff, and handling that and the chords (when playing alone) isnt that easy.