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March 2015

“Britches Full of Stitches”

Arranged by Mickey Abraham

Download PDF | Download mp3

Hello and welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month I present to your a polka from the Irish fiddling tradition entitled “Britches Full of Stitches.” In addition to it’s catchy name the tune itself is really neat and quite memorable.
I learned “Britches Full of Stitches” from my friend and incredible Irish fiddler, Lynnsey Weissenberger. She teaches the Irish Music Ensemble at Florida State University. It is very powerful to hear the entire class jam out to this polka. I always enjoy learning to flatpick tunes on the guitar that I have never heard other guitar players play. I am yet to come across a guitar version of this tune. I say it’s time to change that. Grab your guitar and get busy learning this melody.
I am confident you will find this lesson arrangement simple, melodic, and fun. The 2/4 meter is unusual for tradition flatpickng tunes but is quite typical for polkas. Try not to let the 2/4 meter throw you off. You can picture the music in 4/4 if it helps. The difference, however, is in the back-up. I do not play a typical bluegrass strum when accompanying this tune. I suppose one could play a root/five bluegrass style rhythm but, when I play Irish music I try to do more of a rock and roll strum. This seems to fit. Additionally, modern Irish guitar players enjoy putting cool chord substitutions into traditional tunes. For this lesson I have inserted an ascending diatonic sequence over the simple melody. What could be done with just G, C, D becomes G, Am, Bm, C and D.
Click on the included lesson mp3 to hear the melody and chord subs in action.
I hope you enjoy learning “Britches full of Stitches” on your guitar. Chances are your picking friends have never heard it. It’s always great to have new tunes to bring up at your jam session -- especially easy ones! As always, if you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net


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