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.
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
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
Bm C G D
// // ////
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.