July 2010 Free Flatpicking Lesson
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine
"Under the Double Eagle"
Arranged by Mickey Abraham
Hello and welcome once again to FGM’s free lesson portion of our
monthly newsletter. This month I have arranged a classic flatpicking
standard that seems to have dropped out of the top ten list. “Under
the Double Eagle” is a great song that is worth bringing back to the
flatpicking mainstream. This song has always enjoyed a cult
following, and to many, it is the ultimate guitar show piece. Even if
you already play this tune, you might still find some new and
interesting flatpicking ideas in this arrangement.
Most folks who play this
tune on the guitar use a Carter style chord melody technique. I like
to do this too, but I find that chord melody strums are often hard to
interpret in music notation. For this reason, I chose to separate
the two parts into a more standard duet approach. For those that have
had trouble with other arrangements of this tune in the past, I think
you will find my melody very playable!
This free lesson includes
two breaks for the song. First, is what I believe to be the best
“easy” version of “Under the Double Eagle” that you will ever see.
This is followed by a more intermediate/advanced improvised break over
the chord changes.
The form of this song is
interesting. The “A” section is in the key of C and only utilizes
two chords -- C (chord I) and G (chord V). Then, for the “B” section,
the song appears to go to the IV of C -- We are, in fact going to F,
but when we get there, we are now in the key of F! The whole “B”
section goes through changes in the key of F using the I (F), the IV
(Bb), and the V (C). The section is tagged with a “Beaumont Rag”
style turnaround in F starting on the IV (Bb, Bdim, F, D, Gm, C7, F).
When the big rag turnaround is over, we play three chromatic major
chords (F, F#, and G), which brings us to the V chord of C, bringing
us smoothly back to the “A” section in style! Listen to the lesson
mp3 to hear how this transition works.
When learning the
solo, I suggest only taking what you like and trying to combine those
ideas into ideas that you may already know. First, I’d like to point
out the little C major 7th arpeggio in the second A part. This phrase
comes right after a descending chromatic run and, to me, adds some
tasty flavor to the solo. This may be the kind of idea that you can
“steal” from this lesson and insert it into another song at another
time. Next, take a look at the cool two string “cross picking” in the
B section solo. This syncopated pattern implies the melody with
style -- the open G string works great against a C chord and makes the
climbing run fun to play and interesting to hear.
I hope you enjoy
working on my arrangement of this awesome tune. Remember to practice
slow and with rock solid timing. Try to stay relaxed and free of
tension when you play guitar. If you have any questions or comments
on this e-lesson, past e-lessons, or any great ideas for future
lessons that you would like to see here, just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org