Bluegrass Rhythm Survival Guide

An easy guide for Bluegrass guitar from National Flatpicking Champion Tyler Grant

Whether your goal is to attend a Bluegrass jam session and hold your own, or play along in the comfort of your home, the Bluegrass RhythmSurvival Guide will help you succeed in a fast and fun way.

This course is divided into two professionally-crafted sections. First you will explore the skills and techniques that every Bluegrass player must know, including an exploration of the most popular rhythm patterns and chord progressions, a primer on increasing playing speed, and a guide to the stylistic flair used by the all-time Bluegrass greats.

With that solid foundation in place, Tyler moves on to review six world-class performance studies. Everything you’ve previously learned, from rhythm patterns to bass runs, will be put into practice by making use of real songs and high-quality JamTracks. Not only will you reinforce all of the valuable skills from section one, but you’ll get your first taste of playing along with a band. Learn more or start the course with membership

Course Details
24 Lessons
4 Hour+ Runtime
Tabs (gpx, pdf)
Playalong Tracks
HD+ Video
90 day guarantee
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Stream online, plus all other courses with membership.

The JamPlay Learning System

Like every JamPlay course, Bluegrass Rhythm Survival Guide features world-class instruction and a dynamic learning system to help you succeed quickly.

It's not just videos, and not just downloads. You'll get:

  • Interactive tabs, notation, and fretboard
  • JamTracks for play along practice
  • Ask-a-teacher functionality
  • Speed up, slow down and loop the video
  • Bookmark exact moments in the lesson
  • Note-taking feature
  • 4k video with multiple camera angles
  • Track progress with the progress report
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This is a full, 4+ hour course featuring 24 step-by-step lessons with full supplemental content.

4k & 1080p

Course filmed with 6 cameras and stream in awesome 4k video quality and downloadable in 1080p.

Interactive Tabs

Tabs powered by Soundslice, the powerful interactive tab software, working natively in your browser.


Download and play along with custom JamTracks to lock in the concepts. Own them for life.

Practice Help

Know what to practice after each lesson with guided suggestions, tabs, jamtracks and more.

Tabs & GPX

Download all tabs and notation in PDF and Guitar Pro formats. Download and own them for life!

Strumming Technniques

Learn the skills necessary for strumming and playing rhythm

  • Master the boom strum
  • Learn the top rhythm patterns
  • Unlock greater speed and accuracy

Chords and Color

Learn the chords you need and discover how to make them sing

  • Discover the top chord progressions
  • Use the bass note for added flair
  • Learn the top runs and endings

Song Examples and Studies

Play along with six real song examples

  • Play along with the band
  • Practice crucial rhythm skills
  • Learn how the legends played

Meet Tyler Grant

Tyler Grant is a National Flatpicking Champion and internationally recognized guitar virtuoso, songwriter, vocalist, producer, and leader of the band Grant Farm'. Tyler has appeared at most major US festivals and performed thousands of concerts and guitar workshops worldwide. He has produced four solo albums and four releases by Grant Farm for his own Grant Central Records.

Tyler graduated from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 2000 with a Bachelor's degree in Guitar Performance. From 2005 through 2010 Tyler made hundreds of appearances across the country as a member of the Drew Emmitt Band and the Emmitt-Nershi Band, featuring the frontmen from two of the world's most popular Jam Bands: Leftover Salmon and the String Cheese Incident.

He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he writes music, enjoys the outdoors, teaches, records for Grant Central Records, and maintains family life amidst his busy touring and performing schedule.

Learn to play Bluegrass rhythm guitar

Learn this style with our world-class lesson videos, tabs, JamTracks and guided practice sessions

Explore the theory, techniques and stylistic adornments necessary to be a Bluegrass rhythm guitar player.

This course is for players interested in diving into the Bluegrass genre for the first time. Whether you're a beginning player who knows a few chords and strumming patterns, or you're an intermediate player that has a good grasp of your instrument but has never explored bluegrass, you'll find all the core concepts required to conquer that next bluegrass jam. Dive into must-know strumming patterns, moving bass techniques and classic Bluegrass runs focused on getting you up to speed quickly!

This course offers 24 lessons covering 4+ hours of material in step-by-step, digestible presentation.

Lessons in this Course

Series Introduction

In this video, Tyler talks a little bit about what to expect from this series.

3:18 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


The Boom Strum

The "boom strum" is a foundational concept in bluegrass. In this lesson, Tyler will introduce you to this technique and show you an exercise to get the hang of it.

8:25 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Doubling the Bass Notes

Usually the boom strum alternates bass notes, but sometimes we double the bass note so the bass can step up to the next note on the chord change. Tyler gives you an example of this here.

9:50 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Chord Progressions

Continuing to explore boom strum bass lines, in this lesson you will learn some common chord progressions in the key of G major. Each of them has its own bass progression, and together they will show you how to boom strum your way through all sorts of songs.

15:20 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Bass Note Variations

Walk up and walk down bass lines are another really great way to enhance your bluegrass playing. In this lesson we will explore some bass lines that will expand your bluegrass horizons even further.

6:14 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Rhythm Patterns

From the full shebang right on down through some boom strum variations, Tyler gives you some great rhythm variations aimed at giving you a full range of ideas to draw from in your playing.

16:37 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


G Runs

In bluegrass, a "run" is a form of musical punctuation that typically comes in at the end of a verse, chorus or a guitar break / lead. Tyler shows you how to sneak G runs into your rhythm playing to create accents and conversations in your playing.

16:47 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


D Runs

In keeping with the theme, let's look at runs for the key of D, appropriately called "D runs."

14:21 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


C Runs

G, D, and C are the most common chord shapes in bluegrass music. So maybe you can guess that we will be looking at "C runs" next. This set of runs is a little different, in that we have no open string to use for our root note.

12:40 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty

View this Lesson

Bass Melody

We have spent a bit of time exploring boom strum, and the various runs in different keys, and now it is time to explore thinking of the bass lines as a melody, and to get creative with how it develops through the changes.

9:00 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Waltz Time

So far we have been working with songs that are in 4/4 time, but there are a lot of bluegrass songs in a waltz time of 3/4. In this lesson, Tyler gives you an exercise to explore playing a boom strum in waltz time.

6:03 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Hitting the Downbeat

When we are starting a song with a band, often we are trying to start with a strum on the downbeat, so we need to know how to get back into our boom strum rhythm from a strong down beat strum. In this lesson, Tyler will show you how to practice this skill.

6:45 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty



Lets take a look at syncopation and how it's used in Bluegrass. Tyler demonstrates it's use as a fill in between a vocal line or between melody sections. He demonstrates various rhythms and also talks about filling in for the bassist.

15:13 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Modern Bluegrass Rhythm

In the 60's, guitarist Del McCoury created the modern Bluegrass rhythm sound. It focuses less on bass notes and is generally busier than the rhythm guitar played in earlier Bluegrass music.

6:55 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty

View this Lesson

Using a Capo

A staple of Bluegrass guitar playing is the capo. In this lesson Tyler talks about its use in Bluegrass and why it's a fundamental tool for the genre.

6:54 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Economizing for Fast Tempo

Bluegrass music is often played at fast tempos. During the course of a song or set of songs and tunes, you may find that fatigue start's to set in or that you just can't keep up. This lesson is all about ways to economize fast playing to avoid fatigue and keep the rhythm from falling behind.

16:14 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty



Ending a song or tune has stylistic considerations in Bluegrass music where it's not typical to see fade outs and you may need to close a tune after a free form jam. Tyler talks about endings in this lesson and provides several examples.

5:57 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Dynamics and Other Musical Points

When you're chugging along on a fast bluegrass rhythm it's easy to introduce a lot of "sameness" in your playing. One way to keep the rhythm from getting monotonous is to introduce dynamics and other tricks to spice up your playing.

7:11 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Billy in the Lowground - Old Time Boom Strum

Now it's time to take the concepts and technques learned in the previous section and apply them to actual music. Tyler starts by giving us an overview of what the performance section will contain, then jumps right in to a Boom Strum rhythm workout using the song Billy in the Lowground.

11:36 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Swing Low Sweet Chariot - Bass Melody

Using the song Sweet Low Sweet Chariot, you'll be tapping into the bass melody style along with a standard boom strum.

12:08 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


The Prisoner's Song - Syncopation

Tyler is going to use this song to teach you some syncopated ideas as they apply to bluegrass rhythm techniques. Here you can see how it can be used to accentuate certain parts of a song.

11:59 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Paddy on the Turnpike - Downbeat

Here is another example of the techniques we have learned being put to use. In this song, we will start the rhythm pattern with a strong down beat.

6:43 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Bmaj 1-b7-4-1 - Modern Bluegrass Rhythm

The moden bluegrass style has more strumming and less bass note movement. We will use this progression to become familiar with this more progressive sounding rhythm pattern.

6:02 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Old Joe Clark - Fast Tempo

Sometimes for a fast song, we will choose to economize our playing. In this last lesson, Tyler will show you a few patterns that can be worked into faster rhythm playing for bluegrass music.

21:45 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty