May 2009 Free Flatpicking Lesson
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine
Hello to all my FGM e-lesson readers. I’d like to thank all
those who take the time to email me your thoughts and positive
feedback. I enjoy hearing what you have to say and the more that you
write in, the more interactive I feel with the lessons.
I come to you this month
with a classic fiddle tune arranged for flatpicking guitar. When
selecting tunes for FGM’s e-newsletter a have to take into account a
lot of things. First, I must realize that there is a varied skill level
that exists amongst the readers. Next, I find that different
flatpicking guitarists are often drawn towards liking different types
of tunes, arrangements, or styles of flatpicking. Sometimes I’m not
sure what arrangements of what tunes will satisfy all the eager
flatpicking students out there. In fact, the flatpicking genre seems to
be getting more popular and more diverse all the time.
For this reason, I have
offered two versions of the same tune this month. Not just the typical
easy/advanced two versions—but rather one in a traditional flatpicking
key of G and the next in open E, a rather unorthodox flatpicking
“Sally Ann” is a melody
that I have heard a lot going to music festivals around Florida and
throughout the country, but it seems it’s always done on fiddle or
banjo…or even sung. For some reason, it has never made it into the
world of flatpicking. Together we can change this! Learn the tune, pass
it on, and we will slowly make “Sally Ann” the new “Sally Goodin”!
I suggest going through my G
version first. This arrangement will feel familiar as it will relate
the melody to other fiddle tunes you already know in G position. Once
you get it under your fingers you’ll want to pick this tune with your
banjo buddy who has no doubt learned Earl Scrugg’s break! If the
double-stop slides seem too advanced for you, just leave off the higher
of the two notes—this will express the melody of the tune just fine.
When you are practicing, keep trying to get the double-stop hammer-ons,
but don’t let this stop you from jamming the tune right away.
I enjoy playing this song
in G, but I often enjoy experimenting around with other keys to
flatpick in. Sometimes by doing this you may uncover a new way of
interpreting an old song. My open E version of “Sally Ann” will drive
your banjo buddies nuts trying to play back up, but it may give you
some new ideas to explore when practicing your guitar alone.
The key of E on the guitar
utilizes great open strings and also includes some great chordal
possibilities. The classic G to Em (I-VI) change becomes E to C#m
(I-VI). Likewise the time tested G to Am (I-II) change becomes E to F#m
(I-II). To me, chords like C#m and F#m have a special timbre and tonal
quality on the guitar. Try playing “Sally Ann” in E and see (I mean
hear) if your ear enjoys the tones your guitar produces when
flatpicking in E.
I hope you enjoy playing “Sally
Ann” in G and exploring it in E. If you have any questions, comments,
or suggestions for future e-lesson tunes drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.