Free Flatpicking Lesson
Arranged for Flatpicking Guitar
Magazine by Mickey Abraham
and welcome back to the free lesson portion of Flatpicking Guitar
Magazine’s e-mail newsletter. I have once again chosen to go outside
the bluegrass realm for this month’s melody. For those of you that
receive my e-lessons each month you know that I like to mix things up
every now and then. I’d like to think that you look forward to the
variety of tunes I offer that sometimes deviate from the usual
flatpicking standards. This month’s tune is a beautiful Irish session
standard entitled The Snowy Path.
One interesting aspect to The Snowy Path is its unique 9/8 time
signature. If you have never been exposed to tunes in 9/8, this rhythm
may feel strange at first. When playing the chords to this tune, one
can interpret it like a bluegrass waltz. Try hitting the bass note of
the chord on beat one followed by two strums on beats two and three.
This is one way of expressing the 9/8 feel in a simple way.
Rhythm Example: (even though
the tune is written in 9/8 I feel the back-up in more of a 3/4 time)
strum strum pick strum strum
pick strum strum
pick strum strum etc..etc...
When picking the melody to The Snowy Path you may have to
liberties with your pick direction. Seeing that this tune is in 9/8, an
odd time signature, your pick may end up falling on a down stroke on
the last note in a measure. This means you will have to play the first
down beat of the following measure with an upstroke (highly unusual in
bluegrass flatpicking) or repeat two downstrokes to comfortably begin
the next measure with a down pick stroke (I am doing a combination of
I do not play this tune at fast tempos
and it sounds best when played on the medium to slow side. This works
out great for our pick direction dilemma. Due to the slow and stately
tempo of the piece, you should have plenty of time to lyrically alter
your pick direction in a way that is comfortable to
Make sure to
click on the included lesson mp3 to hear the chords and melody in
action. I hope you enjoy learning this beautiful melody and adding it
to your growing list of tunes. As always, feel free to email
directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have any questions or comments on The Snowy Path or if you have
any great ideas for tunes you’d like to see see here in the future.