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June 2012 Free Flatpicking Lesson
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

"Goodbye Liza Jane"

Arranged for FGM by Mickey Abraham

        Hello and welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month’s tune is the amazing “Goodbye Liza Jane.”  I am very intrigued by the simple chord structure and melody of this tune and I’m certain that once you get it under your fingers, you will have a hard time ever stopping playing it!
        For this e-lesson I have included two complete version of “Goodbye Liza Jane”.  If you have never been exposed to the tune before you will want to begin with my first version.  If you already play the tune or are familiar with the melody, you may want to skip ahead to the second variation, as it takes on a more modern flatpicking approach.

The Chords:
        Every now and then a three-chord tune comes along that has the apparent movement of so much more.  This is the case with “Goodbye Liza Jane.”  As you explore the chords to this tune I’m sure you will find the progression pleasing and full of direction.  If you think in terms of the I, IV, V relationships, G is chord I, C will be your IV chord, and D is the V.  So many traditional flatpicking tunes are based on these three chords.  
       Some guitarists enjoy using an Am and Bm while playing the A section to “Goodbye Liza Jane.”  These would be chords II and III if you are familiar with all seven chords in the key of G.  The following example is the A section depicting these chords:

Ex. 1 (A section w/ minor substitutions)


//   //     //     //    ////    ////
G  Am  Bm  C   G     D
//   //    //      //    //   //  //// 
G  Am  Bm  C   G  D G   

    The previous example is the way the song was first introduced to me.  Although I usually love throwing in slick sounding minor chords, I have over time, really begun to appreciate the three chord version of “Goodbye Liza Jane.”  If you are into chord theory, or if you just listen to the tune, you will note how both these chord progressions fit the melody extremely well.  

The Melody:
    I must say that even my first version has more notes than the original melody of the tune.  If one were to listen to the original words, you will hear the simplicity in the melody.  If one were to flatpick the vocal melody on the guitar it would probably sound slightly sparse.  Part of the tradition in flatpicking is to have a cool way of expressing melodies on the guitar.  I feel my first version is simple to learn but at the same time sounds like a flatpicking tune as opposed to just the vocal line on the guitar.  
    The second pass is very much inspired by the playing of the great Grant Gordy.  His album version is very tasty and full of interesting harmonies, melodic cross-picking, and well placed open strings.  This version should peak your interest in so many ways.  Not only is it more challenging technique wise, but the end result is just killer!  Take a listen to the  lesson mp3 to hear these variations.

    I am certain you will enjoy working on “Goodbye Liza Jane” and insist that your picking buddies learn it.  As always if you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson or any great ideas for tunes you would like to see featured hear, just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net

"Goodbye Liza Jane"

Liza Jane

Liza Jane