I Know You Rider Looper Jam (with singing, guitar, and surprise bongo improvisation)

Hello again =]

Playing with a looper pedal is my favorite way to practice, it’s tons of fun and helped me learn about layering through experimentation. This song has a simple repeating structure, so I thought it would be fun to try singing over the loop in addition to playing guitar over it.

I’ve been practicing singing for a little while and I’m starting to feel like it sounds good enough to share but of course I’m nervous as well! There’s also some lead guitar practice after the verses.

I also got a set of bongos a week or so ago and have been practicing drum rudiments and drum fundamentals, so I randomly decided to play a little bongo improv at the end :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s kind of a long video, though practice sessions like this can last quite a while longer if I’m really in the mood. =]

Anyway, here it is!


Timothy, I skipped a few times and eventually found the singing and the lead jam, which was enjoyable. I suggest for future you trim the video or put in some links with timestamps to make it easier to find the good stuff.

In the spirit of the original artists! I think that’s the first time I’ve seen anyone on here do a Grateful Dead number, and I really enjoyed it - all of it!

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Well done! And thank you for the inspiration - I made a loop of the chords and spent my morning improvising over this song.

I’ve worked on this song several times and I’m finally getting close to be able to play the rhythm comfortably at full 1990s Grateful Dead speed. But I don’t think I had ever tried soloing on this song until today.

I find this song really hard to sing - both the timing and vocal melody have been really tough for me. You’ve done a great job with the vocals.

To improve your solo, see if you can transcribe the vocal melody, then play that over the chords. Once you have it down, try moving it to different places on the fretboard. Use this as the foundation for the solo and add variation from there. Good luck!

Ah yeah that’s a good idea, and I’m pretty sure youtube makes it pretty easy. I know the setup of the loop is kind of boring and even confusing, but I think some people find it interesting. Timestamps would be good though.

Yes indeed! I saw an interview where Jerry was asked why they play such long sets, and he said sometimes that’s how long it takes them to get it together hehe. I feel the same way, there’s some good bits in my playing but sometimes it takes a while for it to come together.

Thank you!
It’s a fairly easy one to play I think, I would even recommend it for beginners.


A lot of bars of D, I just alternate between sus2 and sus4 to keep it interesting. The Old Faithful strumming pattern sounds good too.
I learned it with Fmaj7 instead of F, since I was unable to do barre chords at the time, and now that I can do barre chords I still think Fmaj7 sounds better, with the open C chords especially.

It’s a bit strange since the chords don’t seem to be in the same key, so it’s difficult to know what scales to play with. I’m not super knowledgeable about theory, but through experimentation I found that the A minor pentatonic seems to sound good over it so that’s what I generally stick with when I jam on this one.

Thanks, I found it challenging as well, I tried it a few different ways and still find it hard to be consistent.

This would be a good exercise but I think transcribing the vocal melody will be challenging. I haven’t made transcribing a major part of my practice so far. I will try this and keep it in mind in the future.

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

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The main chord progression (DCG) is in the key of D. The turn around (FCG) is in the key of C. Like many Grateful Dead songs, they use Mixolydian mode to accentuate the upbeat nature of the song. So technically, you would play D Mixolydian over the main progression and C Mixolydian over the turn around.

D Mixolydian uses the same notes as the G Major scale and C Mixolydian uses the same notes as the F Major scale. So, if you know your major scale patterns, you can use those.

Here are a couple of diagrams of sections of these scales where I have been starting to play the solo. Give it a try and see what you think. Once you have a phrase that you like over the D section, just slide down two frets and play the same thing over the C section. Then you can add further variation and use your major scale patterns to move to other parts of the fretboard.

I rewatched your video and I can tell that you have a good sense of rhythm and a great feel for the song. The Am pentatonic scale works in this song because it uses the five notes that are in both the D Mixo and C Mixo scales. But, you lose some of the tension and release that is generated from the shift between keys. If you spend a little bit of time with these patterns, you’ll capture the feel of the song.

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This is very informative! If you’re this knowledgeable about the Grateful Dead I may be compelled to tap your knowledge in the future. I’ve read about modes in the past but I can only say I have a fundamental understanding and not much practical.

When I read this (and the last part of your post) my first thought was to do one of the G major scales I know and see if I can find the A minor pentatonic, and sure enough it’s there, along with some extra notes I sometimes play with this song:

It’s literally just two extra notes that I play sometimes, because I did it by accident once and it sounded good. But to be fair I have been playing with this song for as long as I’ve been playing guitar so I’ve tried a lot of random things. I didn’t expand my theory though, it was just an intuitive thing, I never even learned the same notes relative to other parts of the scale. And of course I only play that part of the D mixolydian over both the D and C parts, but just a little knowledge goes a long way to expand that intuition!

I have a lot of familiarity with Grateful Dead songs, they have been the majority of what I listen to for a while, in fact most of the time I listen to little outside of the Grateful Dead and classical… kind of a weird combination but it works for me :stuck_out_tongue:
It my opinion rhythm is the most important first thing, it’s the thread that runs through, then dynamics is the second thing that really makes it music. Once you’re there it’s music, everything else is expression!

Looking back at that video from a year ago I’m kind of surprised how well I played, and I feel like I haven’t expanded my knowledge/theory in that area much since then. I still know pretty much the same scales and things, just maybe a little faster. I made big steps in thrythm guitar during that time though, both barre chords and confident 16th note strumming are newish in my technique. Even a week of bongo practice with a metronome has tightened up my rhythm a little hehe


I got into the Dead in 1989 and they were probably the only thing I listened to for nearly a decade. But, they have also given me a much greater appreciation for all types of music from bluegrass and folk to jazz and blues to classical and even ballet. Any music with a flowing melody and where the instruments talk to each other can be really enjoyable for me.

I’ve been playing guitar for about four years and most of the songs that I’ve know best are from the Dead.

I’m working through grade 4 now, so I’m really just getting comfortable with playing full songs with barre chords and expanding my rhythm playing with dynamics, strumming, and left hand muting. I’ve also finally started to put together some solo improvisation with the major scale.

The only reason that I know anything about Mixolydian (or modes in general) is that I had seen enough videos talking about how Jerry usually soloed in mixolydian. Once I realized that the notes and patterns followed the major scale, it was pretty easy to start to incorporate it into my playing.

A couple of years ago, when I first started using a looper, I used the pentatonic scale to play over chord progressions from some of my favorite Dead songs, but I felt like I played the same thing no matter what song I was playing and it never quite sounded like the song I heard in my head.

Just in the past few weeks, I’ve been making the connection between the major scale, mixolydian mode and the songs I love the most. Combine that with the fact that I can now pretty relliably lay down a loop of most of my favorite Dead jam songs (Scarlett Begonias, Fire on the Mountain, Jack Straw, and now, I Know You Rider), I’ve been having more fun than ever with improvisation and soloing. And, I’m starting to think that I might actually make some real progress in this part of my playing.

For pure fun right now, though, I am playing rhythm along to YouTube videos of shows that I was at. My first show ever was Pittsburgh in July of 1990. They released a full video of that show and to be able to play along with Touch of Gray, Estimated Prophet, and Knockin on Heaven’s Door is simply amazing. Hard to put into words how much joy that band has given me over the past 35 years.

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I find this very relatable! Well it was much more recent for me, I was only born in 1990, but my appreciation of music has expanded meaningfully since I discovered the Dead as well.

I guess it’s been about five years for me if my sense of time is correct hehe… I don’t practice properly anymore though. I see some improvement and skill development but I’m sure I’ve built plenty of bad habits in the meantime as well. I’m feeling some motivation to make a practice/progress thread here and put some structure back into it. I’m afraid consistency will still be a bit hard with my life schedule, but I still find time to play most days.

This is great =] I find music theory fascinating in how you can accumulate knowledge over time that remains scattered and impractical in your mind until a few pieces start to make connections then big picture connections start to appear, and applying it really brings it together. It reminds me a lot of math in that way (though that may not sound as fun to some people!)


That’s wild 1990? I saw Jerry at an impromptu festial type thing in 91 in Tahoe at Squaw Valley at the upper mountain, admittedly I was not into folk music (punk and snowboard/surf/skate music for me) at the time but it was a super amazing show. It was not promoted you just had to know. I lived up there so, I just found out. We didn’t even pay we were part of the masses that hike up the back side of the mountain from Alpine mountain and over the summit to watch, it was so crazy. People were so cool back then. Of course it was tahoe in the 90s. Everything is different unfortunatly now of course. Jimmy Cliff was amazing and I did also get to see Booker T and the MGs. This was also one of the last shows the famous Bill Graham did before he was killed in the helicopter accident.

My wife who I met shortly after is very much a deadhead so I have since learned to appreciated the Dead.

Great job on your video. Nice and pleasent. I love chill, perfect morning for it. It’s nice to see some dead on the JG. Cool use of the percussion too. We are going to get under the trees and have a drum circle action going up in here.