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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

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July 2017

Sailor’s Hornpipe

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’s tune is a classic in the truest sense of the word. Not only is “Sailor’s Hornpipe” a well-known tune in the world of old-time fiddling but it’s also the theme song to the famous “Popeye” cartoon.

Although the melody to “Sailor’s Hornpipe” is recognizable and easy to hum it’s actually a tricky little melody to pick on the guitar. Back when I first leaned it I remember thinking how awkward some of the fingerings were for a tune that sounds so simple.

First, in measure 2, there is an octave jump from the C note on the B string down to the C note on the A string. Not many tunes do this. Next, in measure 8, you will encounter the third fret of the low E string followed by the third fret of the A string. Whether you quickly move your ring finger or smoosh down your ring finger to play these two notes it’s still not my ideal motion. Finally, in the B section in measures 11-13, you will encounter three string cross-picking. Cross-picking patterns combined with single string passages tend to be more challenging than staying locked into one right hand technique. It’s really amazing how many cool techniques show up when flatpicking “Sailor’s Hornpipe” on the guitar.

I’m confident you will find this arrangement challenging and rewarding. Make sure to click on the included lesson mp3 to hear the chords and melody in action. As always, should you have questions or comments on the e-lesson just drop me aline at michabraham@comcast.net


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