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Free Monthly Newsletter Lesson - May 2008

“Big Scioty”
by Mickey Abraham

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The “Big Scioty” is a traditional fiddle tune that I fell in love with the first time I heard it.  Although the form is the standard AABB structure, both the melody and the chords seem to take the listener on a winding journey that appears more complicated than some typical jam session fiddle tunes.  Once you get this tune under your fingers I know you will be teaching it to all your picking buddies!      

When I play the melody my left hand is mostly in second position (index finger playing the second fret), but when I have to play the C note on the B string (first fret), I grab that note with my index finger. I shift my hand while letting the open string ring.   Don’t stay in first position after playing that note for the remainder of the section should be played out of second position.  In measure six, where you slide form the third fret to the fifth, I am sliding with my middle finger.  After the slide there is an open E string which allows me to quickly shift back to second position.  Get it?

II use strict alternate picking when flatpicking fiddle tunes and this tunes is no exception.  The pickup measure is a triplet which I play using one down pick-stroke, the next two notes are hammer-ons.  Be careful when sliding, pulling off, and hammering on that you are keeping your strokes correct.  You may have to use two downs or two ups in a row to keep your pick direction correct.  I think of it like this: 1+2+3+4+ can be translated to DUDUDUDU.  If I am sliding from one note to another I do not need to pick that note because the slide is sounding the note instead.  The slide will then take the place of whatever pick stroke would normally be next.  

I will cover all these topics in upcoming issues of FGM.  I hope you enjoy playing the “Big Scioty” as much as much as I do.  I love to hear from my students and readers so don’t be afraid to drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net .