This is a variation of something I first heard the late great Jethro Burns play. If Jethro were still around he would remind us he was only late to gigs, and rarely on time for anything else. His humor and stage presence could almost hold a candle to his amazing playing. Although holding a candle while playing sure does make it hard.
On a more serious note, Jethro Burns’ brilliant sense of time shined through in his playing as well as in his infectious sense of humor. Telling jokes that get genuine gut-busting laughter is closely related to playing and evoking other emotions through one’s musical instrument. Both are dependent on fractions of a second. A great joke is timed perfectly as is a great solo.
Today seemed as good a day as any to pay homage to my favorite mandolin player and 6th favorite stand up comedian. With the help of Mel Bay and Ken Eidson, Jethro shared tons of knowledge about his revolutionary approach to mandolin. Jesse McReynolds might have spent more time cross-picking his mandolin, but this time I am emulating Jethro. I find the lick sounds good on jazzier numbers, for example I play it in the stop time of the standard “After You’ve Gone,” in…you guessed it, C major.
I find this lick sounds best over C, Cmaj7, C6, Am, Am7, G7, and even F and Dm7. Each application will have a different tonal flavor. This is a loose copy of Jethro’s, make your own copy of mine in the video, and you got yourself an original run you came up with all by yourself.
Tab and notation will be posted in the future. Ask questions if you got em. Enjoy. To quote Jethro’s friend and guitar legend Chet Atkins, “It’s easy you see, if you practice.”