Home > Lessons > Lessons > 2013 Lessons > July '13 Cazadero
July 2013 Free Flatpicking Lesson
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

by Paul Shelasky

Arranged for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine
by Mickey Abraham


      Hello and welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our email newsletter. This month’s tune is the masterpiece “Cazadero” written by fiddler Paul Shelasky back in 1975. In 2006, the great Chris Thile made this tune popular when he recorded it on the first Punch Brothers album How to Grow a Woman From the Ground. I first heard “Cazadero” on John Reischman’s 1993 Rounder recording, North of the Border.  Thile’s rendition is much faster than Reischman’s, which is much faster than the original -- yet the tune’s inherent beauty, integrity, and brilliance are present in all three. 
Now it’s time for you to learn this amazing tune on the guitar! “Cazadero” is basically a fiddle tune with four parts. The form is AABBCCDD. I feel one aspect that makes this tune sound so impressive is that when most tunes return to their respective A sections, “Cazadero” busts into it’s C section, which catches the ear at the right time.  When I asked Paul how the tune came to exist in four parts he explained that it just came out that way and the that the third part was his personal favorite. I too enjoy the third part the most, as this is when the tune begins to reveal itself as an epic masterpiece.
Not everyone has written a fiddle tune that peaks the ears of mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile. For this reason I was very interested to find out how Paul came to learn of “Cazadero’s” inclusion on the 2006 Punch Brothers recording. It was Punch Brothers’ guitarist, Chris Eldridge, who approached Paul at a festival and told him they had already recorded the tune. Eldridge went on to the play the recorded version on his laptop computer. I can just imagine Paul’s inner satisfaction upon hearing some of the world’s greatest musicians interpret his original tune!
Most of the chord playing throughout the A and B sections are very traditional. It is the C and D sections where you may encounter some cool new chords. you will need a Bm (I use a Bm7), a D/F# (which is a D chord with an F# note in the bass), and a Bb diminished (not as hard as it sounds) in addition to the typical D, G, A, and Em Shapes.
     Paul wrote this tune on the fiddle in the great key of E.  The Key of E, while very friendly to blues and rock guitar, is not a flatpicker’s best friend. To solve this we just place our trusty capo at the second fret and play the tune out of a D position.

    I hope you enjoy working on “Cazadero” and adding to your list of great flatpicking tunes. I’d like to thank Paul Shelasky for being such a pleasure to talk with and for allowing us to use “Cazadero” in our newsletter. Make sure to click on the included lesson mp3 to hear the melody and chords together. As always, if you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net .