Hello and welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month’s tune, “Stony Point,” was recommended by Elizabeth Fravel in Tallahassee, Florida.
“Stony Point” is a cool old fiddle tune that Tony Rice recorded on his famous album, “Manzanita.” This tune is the only other instrumental selection on the album except for the flatpicking standard “Blackberry Blossom.” What is interesting to me is that both “Stony Point” and “Blackberry Blossom” go from G to Em when switching from the A part to the B part. I feel Tony chose this lesser known fiddle tune as a nice sonic compliment to the over-played “Blackberry Blossom.”
For those of you that follow all my monthly lessons you will note that I usually stray from featuring “Tony” licks in these lessons -- we all know there are already enough Tony Rice clones out there. Although this version is heavily influenced by Tony’s recording off “Manzanita” I feel “Stony Point” represents another lesser studied aspect of Tony’s playing -- his melody playing! This is a great example of the way Tony Rice interprets the melodic content of a fiddle tune. Many aspiring flatpickers learn a bunch of licks and phrases but don’t spend enough time learning melodies. I feel one of the reasons that Tony Rice is able to string together such melodic licks in his bluegrass improvisations is because he has, in fact, learned the melodies to fiddle tunes. After your fingers and ears learn a bunch of melodies, you can’t help but to sound more melodic in your improvising.
Remember to click on the included lesson mp3 to hear the chords and melody in action. I hope you enjoy working on this cool flatpicking tune and picking it with your friends. As always, if you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org .