March 2010 Free Flatpicking Lesson
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine
Arranged for FGM by Mickey Abraham
Hello to all FGM e-news
readers. Welcome, once again, to the free lesson portion of our
newsletter. It is my continued goal as your e-lesson instructor to
offer a little something for everyone. Last month, I went out on a
limb with a cool flatpicking arrangement of a David Grisman classic
called “Dawgwood.” This month, I have returned to the flatpicking
roots with a tried and true fiddle tune entitled “Leather Britches.”
I first learned “Leather
Britches” from Tallahassee bluegrass legend, Gordon Scott, while
teaching guitar at his music store. I have since come across countless
versions of this fantastic tune, and I feel the version presented
here is a combination of all the versions that I have been exposed to
through the years. To this day, when we are at a jam session, Gordon
always calls this tune first.
For this lesson, I have
included two passes for the tune. First, I have arranged the melody
and then I took an improvised break. I tried to incorporate Tony Rice
style phrasing in the solo without actually copying any Tony phrases
note-for-note. To me, this is more musical than learning a “solo”
from beginning to end. I encourage you to do the same with my break.
You can learn the whole thing if you’d like, but, if you like just
one or two of the ideas, just take ‘em, and use it somewhere else in
Most of the ideas I use
will work well in any bluegrass fiddle tune in G! To me, one thing
that makes a great flatpicker, is being able to use your favorite and
most creative licks in as many tunes as possible.
- In measure 17, I am using the open G string as more of time
keeper than part of the melody. Keep the third fret of the B string
fretted while picking out the open G -- the sound will be fiddle-like
and yet also achieve that “floating” sound that most of us flatpickers
love to hear.
- In the third beat Measure 22, try using your middle finger
on the high E third fret and creeping your Index to the third fret of
the B string. This may help make this phrase smooth. Another option
is to use your middle finger for both notes!
- When tackling the solo, remember that this is not meant to
learn from beginning to end like a melody. Feel free to do so, but,
to me, this is more of an insight into how some of these bluegrass
licks are applied to a G melody. Those of you who are familiar with
this style playing will even recognize some of these ideas from other
times and places!
As always, please email any
questions, comments, or concerns you may have on this FGM e-lesson or
any great ideas for future e-lessons to firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoy learning the melody to
“Leather Britches,” and, I encourage you to take as many of the ideas
from the second break as you want. Please email me any question you
may have on this e-lesson, past e-lessons, or any ideas you’d like to
see here in the future. Have fun exploring this awesome tune.