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October 2011 Free Flatpicking Lesson
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

"The American Rifle Team Hornpipe"

Arranged for FGM by Mickey Abraham


    Hello and welcome once again to this month’s free flatpicking lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. Lately I have been getting lots of positive feedback on the “lesson” portion of the newsletter.  Thank you!  If you enjoy my approach to sharing tunes, I’m  sure you are already receiving either the hard copy or the digital version of FGM.  If you don’t receive the magazine, I as your on-line instructor, urge you to subscribe.  Every issue is jam packed with flatpicking interviews, tunes, lessons, reviews, and so much more.  And, you can sleep at night knowing that you are doing your part in helping promote the art of flatpicking guitar!
       And now for this months tune: I present to you the obscure yet melodic “American Rifle Team Hornpipe.” The What?! Yes, you read the correctly, “The American Rifle Team Hornpipe.”  I went to see Kenny and Amanda Smith perform duets here in Tallahassee (which was absolutely amazing) and I got a chance to pick with Kenny after the show.  It goes without saying that Kenny is a legend in the flatpicking world and is, without a doubt, one of the smoothest in the biz.  He and Amanda are also two of the nicest folks you will ever meet, period!
        I asked Kenny if he had any cool tunes that I could use for this months e-lesson.  He went through about ten ideas before coming up with this one.  When this melody came out of his fingers I knew it was the one. I recorded Kenny playing the tune on my iPhone’s camera and went home to transcribe and learn it.  Kenny explained that he learned this tune off a tape he got from Tut Taylor and Norman Blake. I feel very lucky to be able to have learned the tune from Kenny but also to have the ability to teach it here and send it out to the flatpicking masses.  This way, a wonderful tune like the “American Rifle Team Hornpipe” can enjoy some popularity.
As far as the arrangement goes, it is actually the simplest thing I have ever heard Kenny play.  It does have a few strategically placed “floaty” parts, but is not full of Kenny’s typically insane cross-picking patterns.  For those of you who follow all my past lessons, you will note how this fits in with my overall lesson mantra and makes this tune a perfect fit for this e-lesson.  The “B” section does consists of cross-picking, but is extremely playable for us mortals (unlike a lot of Kenny’s stuff).
        I use strict alternate picking for this tune, even through the open strings and cross-picking sections.  The open strings may seam to come at awkward places at times, but you will soon see how the open strings help you move from one part of the fretboard to another smoothly.  When tackling the “B” section make sure you use little chord shapes, this will make those descending arpeggios easier to play.
       I hope you enjoy working on the “American Rifle Team Hornpipe.” In the end, even after its crazy name and cool-factor due to learning it from Kenny, it it an awesome tune!  If you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson or any ideas that you’d like to see here in the future just drop my an email at michabraham@comcast.net

"The American Rifle Team Hornpipe"

American Rifle Team