On Top of Old Smokey Review (Guitar Lesson)


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Matt Brown

On Top of Old Smokey Review

Matt Brown reviews "On Top of Old Smokey". This time around, the melody is played in second position.

Taught by Matt Brown in Reading Music and Rhythm seriesLength: 7:56Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:06) Introduction In past lessons, all materials were presented in first position. In this lesson and the next several lessons, Matt will shift gears to second position. To get you acquainted with this new position, Matt transfers scales and melodies from previous lessons to second position. He begins this review process with the key of C major.

In the following scene, Matt reviews the melody to "On Top of Old Smokey" in second position. Since you already know how this tune should sound, it will be easy to point out mistakes when the melody is transferred to the new position. Before you proceed to the second position version of the melody, review the first position version that was taught in lesson 6. Also, work through all of the scale exercises listed below.

Scale Practice

Before you attempt to play any melodies in second position, you must learn where each note is located. Begin this process by learning the natural notes (C major scale) in this position. To learn the scale in the most efficient manner, say each note name out loud as you play it.

Note: Tablature and standard notation to this scale is included under the "Supplemental Content" tab. Proper left hand fingerings are also included. Do not deviate from the fingerings Matt has indicated!

Once you have memorized the C major scale in second position, practice the scale along with a metronome. Also, apply rhythm exercises taught in past lessons to this scale. Working through these exercises will increase your overall knowledge of the pattern.

Fingering Rules

In second position, certain fingering rules must be followed at all times. The first finger plays all notes at the 2nd fret. The middle finger plays 3rd fret notes. The third finger plays all notes at the fourth fret. Finally, all notes at the 5th fret are played by the pinky.

Occasionally, you will need to perform finger stretches to reach notes that are outside of the position. For example, the first finger must stretch back to fret the note F at the 1st fret of the sixth and first strings. The pinky may also perform a stretch to reach notes at the sixth fret. (No 6th fret notes are included in the C major scale.) When performing any finger stretch, do not move the position of the hand. The stretch must be made by the finger.

Root Notes

Remember to start and end on the lowest root note when playing any scale. The lowest C note is located at the 3rd fret of the fifth string. Begin with this note and ascend to the highest note in the pattern (A on the first string). Then, descend back down to the lowest note available (F on the sixth string). Finally, ascend back up to the root note that you started with.
Chapter 2: (02:44) 2nd Position Finger Rolls

A finger roll must be performed whenever two consecutive notes are played at the same fret but on different strings. The way in which you fret the initial note must change when this technique is applied. When rolling to a lower string, fret the first note more with the fleshy pad of the finger so that the tip can easily roll to the next note. When rolling to a higher string, the opposite approach must be taken. Fret the first note with the very tip of the finger. Then, slightly flatten out the tip joint so that the pad of the finger frets the second note. When performing a roll, the melody must remain smooth and connected. However, both notes should not ring over top of one another.

Note: For additional information about this technique, please refer to lesson five from Dennis Hodges' Lead Concepts and Techniques series.

Watch and Learn

Watch and listen carefully at 02:00 as Matt demonstrates the melody in second position. Notice how plays clearly in time with a smooth, legato sound. Listen to how he highlights the phrases. Do not skip the rests! They are there for a reason!

Practice Time

Before proceeding to the next scene, practice the melody along with a metronome at a variety of tempos. Start at a very slow tempo such as 60 beats per minute. Gradually increase the speed of the metronome by about five beats at a time. Once you can play the melody in a wide range of tempos, return to the lesson video and play along with Matt in the following scene. Matt plays the song at several tempos that are significantly faster than those demonstrated in the original lesson for "On Top of Old Smokey."
Chapter 3: (04:04) Performance Performance 1 (125 bpm)

Play the melody along with Matt when you feel comfortable with this tempo. If you happen to make a mistake, simply keep going. Do not rewind the video and start again. Starting and stopping at the same time is one of the most rudimentary components of a successful duet. In a live performance, you don't have the option of stopping and starting over each time you make a mistake.

Performance 2 (136 bpm)

This is the bottom end of the acceptable tempo range for this song. If you find it too difficult, knock the metronome back down to 127. Then, gradually work your way back up in two beat increments.

Performance 3 (155 bpm)

This is the tempo at which the song is typically performed.

Preview of Next Lesson

In lesson 14, Matt will explain how to play the F major scale in second position. The melody to "Angels We Have Heard on High" will be transferred to second position to provide you with some reading practice in this key.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


kierkier replied on October 21st, 2011

So, I've worked up to the point where I can play this song at 130 beats per minute and have no problem keeping up and playing the proper rhythm but when I slow the tempo way down to like 60 beats I completely lose the rhythm and feel slightly lost. Should I spend some time just trying to get comfortable playing slow or is it just that songs like this are not meant to be played that slow?

kierkier replied on October 21st, 2011

Oops! I meant to post this in the Shoo Fly Second position comment section. But I've noticed this problem with other songs if I try to play 60 beats or lower.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on October 22nd, 2011

Ok...I gotcha...Well, you wouldn't ever want to perform Shoo Fly at a slow tempo like 60 bpm, but you should be able to play it for practice purposes at that tempo. The strange thing about tempo is that it is much more difficult to play slowly in time than it is to play at quick tempos. You'll get it down in time with practice. Remember to practice and work on your weaknesses rather than what you are already good at. Another thing you can do when playing at really slow tempos is tap your foot in an eighth note rhythm while playing along with the metronome set to a quarter note rhythm. Subdividing the beat into smaller groupings really helps when playing slowly. Hope this helps!

charlie636charlie636 replied on October 19th, 2011

Matt, I'm also really enjoying this lesson set. I can see now practicing the positions with real songs is the best way to learn them. On another subject; In some of my studies I've run across some chords like these: G/D, F/C, D/A I havent a clue how to play them and I can't find Tab. for them anywhere. Could you explain? Thank You.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on October 19th, 2011

Hey Charlie! Chords with a slash indicate that a note other than the root is played as the lowest note. For example, G/D means that you have a G major chord with a D note played as the lowest (in terms of pitch) note. So, Eb/C would mean that you're suppose to play an Eb major chord with a C note as the bass. Keep in mind that with a slash chord the note to the right of the slash may or may not be a note that is usually found in the chord.

charlie636charlie636 replied on October 20th, 2011

Thank you Matt and thanks for the great lessons.

panama400panama400 replied on March 8th, 2011

I like the fact that if I keep this up, I will beable to read music and use the whole fret board. I seen some post from people that say they have not learned much in a year. If they would put in the boring work of learning theory I think they would be way beter off.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on March 11th, 2011

Absolutely. I couldn't agree with you more.

panama400panama400 replied on March 6th, 2011

Matt: This lesson set is worth price of admision alone. I looked ahead and wonder if this lesson set goes beyond the open and first positions? One more thing is it would be cool if this was available on my i-phone (perfect time to sneak in some theory is when away from my guitar). Thanks

mattbrownmattbrown replied on March 8th, 2011

Thanks!! That is quite the compliment...I'm really that you're finding them useful. I realize that these folk / children's songs aren't the most fun to play, but you have develop basic musicianship skills somehow...This lesson set will eventually work reading skills up to 12th position...Right now, I think I've only touched upon 3rd position.

panama400panama400 replied on March 7th, 2011

It's on my I phone now! Sweet!

ronin808ronin808 replied on April 2nd, 2009

I can't wait keep em coming

ronin808ronin808 replied on April 2nd, 2009

cool!! a new lesson! thanks matt!!

mattbrownmattbrown replied on April 2nd, 2009

No problemo! I think there's about five or six more of these on the way.

Reading Music and Rhythm

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Matt brings all of his years of education right to you with this fantastic series on how to read music. You will start with the very basics and work up to some very advanced concepts.



Lesson 1

Intro to Reading Music

This introductory lesson will walk you through the basics of reading music and reading rhythm.

Length: 15:07 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Reading Music

Learn how to identify notes, the key signature, and the staff. Implement your reading skills by playing a few simple tunes.

Length: 43:32 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Lesson 3

Rhythm and Time Signatures

Learn the basics of notation and time signatures. Practice these concepts with a few timing exercises.

Length: 22:01 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

3/4 Time Signatures

Now that you've learned a bit about 4/4 time, it's on to 3/4 time.

Length: 22:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Reading Music Practice

Now that you know the basics of reading music, it's time to put that knowledge to work with some exercises.

Length: 25:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

On Top of Old Smokey

Get some more practice reading music and rhythms during your rock fest rendition of "On Top of Old Smokey".

Length: 15:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

He's Got the Whole World

Matt Brown reviews the G major scale and teaches "He's Got the Whole World".

Length: 13:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Amazing Grace

Matt Brown explains how to read music in the key of F major. He uses the song "Amazing Grace" as an example.

Length: 15:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Shoo, Fly

Matt Brown teaches the song "Shoo, Fly" as another excellent rhythm and reading example. This song is in the key of G.

Length: 14:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Scales and Key Signatures

Matt Brown returns with the 10th installment in his Reading and Rhythm series. In this lesson, Matt discusses key signatures.

Length: 14:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Minor Key and Aura Lee

In this lesson Matt Brown covers the first minor key song in this series, "Aura Lee".

Length: 12:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Scarborough Fair

In this lesson, Matt introduces the A Dorian mode. He applies it to the song "Scarborough Fair".

Length: 16:29 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Second Position

In lesson 13, Matt Brown discusses and demonstrates second position.

Length: 29:52 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Rhythm

Lesson 14 is all about rhythm. Matt Brown discusses its importance and provides several exercises.

Length: 20:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

On Top of Old Smokey Review

Matt Brown reviews "On Top of Old Smokey". This time around, the melody is played in second position.

Length: 7:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Reviewing Angels We Have Heard On High

For lesson 14, Matt Brown reviews "Angels We Have Heard On High". The melody is now played in second position.

Length: 12:02 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Shoo, Fly Review

Matt Brown reviews the song "Shoo, Fly" in second position.

Length: 8:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Rhythm Strumming

This lesson covers right hand rhythm technique. Matt introduces syncopated strumming patterns.

Length: 25:38 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Down by the Riverside

Matt teaches the melody to "Down by the Riverside". This tune is used as preparation for learning accompaniment techniques.

Length: 15:02 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Accompaniment

Matt uses the song "Down by the Riverside" to teach accompaniment techniques for rhythm backing.

Length: 12:31 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Fur Elise Pt. 1

Matt teaches the classic tune "Fur Elise" in a two part series. For Part 1, Matt demonstrates the melody section.

Length: 24:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Fur Elise Pt. 2

In lesson 22, Matt teaches the accompaniment sections to Beethoven's "Fur Elise".

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

The Entertainer Pt. 1

Lesson 23 starts a 2 part series on the classic tune "The Entertainer".

Length: 16:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

The Entertainer Pt. 2

Lesson 24 completes the two part series on "The Entertainer". You will learn the accompaniment in this lesson.

Length: 14:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Sea to Sea Pt. 1

Matt starts another 2 part lesson, this time on the tune "Sea to Sea" by William G. Leavitt.

Length: 20:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Sea to Sea Pt. 2

Lesson 26 completes Matt's 2 part series on "Sea to Sea".

Length: 10:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Stars and Stripes Forever Pt. 1

Matt introduces the B flat major scale and teaches the song "Stars and Stripes Forever".

Length: 21:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Stars and Stripes Forever Pt. 2

Matt completes his two part series on "Stars and Stripes Forever" by teaching the accompaniment.

Length: 7:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

D Major in First and Second Position

Matt Brown teaches the D Major scale in both first and second positions.

Length: 17:55 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Danny Boy Pt. 1

Matt Brown demonstrates "Danny Boy" in both first and second positions.

Length: 16:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Danny Boy Pt. 2

Matt Brown teaches the accompaniment to the "Danny Boy" melody.

Length: 12:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

Silent Night Pt. 1

Matt teaches the Christmas classic "Silent Night."

Length: 18:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

Silent Night Pt. 2

Matt teaches the accompaniment to the "Silent Night" melody.

Length: 4:55 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 34

Funiculi Funicula Pt. 1

Matt Brown teaches "Funiculi Funicula" as an exercise in reading and playing in 6/8 time.

Length: 14:39 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Funiculi Funicula Pt. 2

Matt Brown teaches the accompaniment to "Funiculi Funicula".

Length: 16:40 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Strumming Triplets

In lesson 36, Matt provides exercises to help you strum triplet patterns.

Length: 23:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Strumming Sixteenth Note Rhythms

In lesson 37, Matt Brown demonstrates how to strum sixteenth note rhythms.

Length: 17:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

Song of the Volga Boatmen

Matt Brown demonstrates the melody and tips for playing the Russian folk tune "Song of the Volga Boatmen".

Length: 11:33 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 39

Song of the Volga Boatmen Pt. 2

In lesson 39, Matt teaches the accompaniment to "Song of the Volga Boatmen".

Length: 8:35 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Dance of the Ukraine

Matt Brown teaches and demonstrates "Dance of the Ukraine."

Length: 15:37 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 41

Dance of the Ukraine Pt. 2

Matt demonstrates the accompaniment to the "Dance of the Ukraine" melody.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 42

Etude by Ferdinando Carulli

Matt Brown teaches an etude for classical guitar by Ferdinando Carulli.

Length: 21:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 43

Morning Pt. 1

Matt Brown teaches the melody section to "Morning" by Edvard Grieg.

Length: 18:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 44

Morning Pt. 2

Matt teaches the accompaniment for Edvard Grieg's "Morning."

Length: 8:08 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 45

Bach's Minuet Pt. 1

Matt Brown teaches Bach's classic Minuet.

Length: 14:55 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 46

Bach's Minuet Pt. 2

In lesson 46, Matt Brown covers the accompaniment section to Bach's Minuet.

Length: 5:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 47

Little Prelude in C Pt. 1

Matt Brown teaches Bach's "Little Prelude in C."

Length: 16:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 48

Little Prelude in C Pt. 2

Matt Brown teaches the accompaniment to "Little Prelude in C" by Bach.

Length: 7:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 49

Clementi's Sonatina

Matt Brown teaches the 2nd guitar part to Muzio Clementi's famous "Sonatina."

Length: 23:46 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 50

Bach's Invention #1

Matt Brown teaches Invention #1 composed by J.S. Bach.

Length: 21:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 51

Third Position

Matt takes a look at playing in third position. This lesson will set up future reading lessons that require the third position.

Length: 7:16 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Lesson 52

Third Position Practice

Matt Brown has you working through Jean Philippe Rameau's Minuet for third position playing in lesson 52. He provides a play along and accompaniment to help your sight reading and playing.

Length: 15:11 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only

About Matt Brown View Full Biography Matt Brown began playing the guitar at the age of 11. "It was a rule in my family to learn and play an instrument for at least two years. I had been introduced to a lot of great music at the time by friends and their older siblings. I was really into bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins, so the decision to pick up the guitar came pretty easily."

Matt's musical training has always followed a very structured path. He began studying the guitar with Dayton, Ohio guitar great Danny Voris. I began learning scales, chords, and basic songs like any other guitarist. After breaking his left wrist after playing for only a year, Matt began to study music theory in great detail. I wanted to keep going with my lessons, but I obviously couldn't play at all. Danny basically gave me the equivalent of a freshman year music theory course in the span of two months. These months proved to have a huge impact on Brown's approach to the instrument.

Brown continued his music education at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He completed a degree in Classical Guitar Performance in 2002. While at Capital, he also studied jazz guitar and recording techniques in great detail. "I've never had any desire to perform jazz music. Its lack of relevance to modern culture has always turned me off. However, nothing will improve your chops more than studying this music."

Matt Brown currently resides in Dayton, Ohio. He teaches lessons locally as well as at Capital University's Community Music School. Matt's recent projects include writing and recording with his new, as of yet nameless band as well as the formation of a cover band called The Dirty Cunnies.

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