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Free Monthly Newsletter Lesson - October 2013

"Billy in the Lowground"
Arranged for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine by Mickey Abraham

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        Hello and welcome back to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month I offer the melody to “Billy in the Lowground” along with two really cool and challenging variations through the chord changes. “Billy in the Lowground” is one of those fiddle tunes that everyone plays and is on everyone’s list of top twenty-five flatpicking fiddle tunes. There is something for everyone in this lengthy arrangement so grab your guitar and get to work!   
       If you have never played “Billy in the Lowground” before I feel you will find my arrangement to be very playable and accessible. I am especially fond of my “B” section. I have often encountered arrangements of this tune that have awkward and ambiguous “B” sections. I’m not sure how or when I stumbled upon this rendition, but Im glad I started hearing it this way. You should notice how I’m using the same simple lick over both the C and the F chord with only one note changing between the two phrases. To me it sounds like an old-time fiddle sort of thing.  
        If you already play “Billy in the Lowground” or are looking for cool licks that fit over songs in the key of C you will find a feast in the following variations. When arranging these variations I tried to stray from flatpicking cliches. Also, I purposely kept the lines based around eighth notes in open position. This way, the lines sound fresh but also retain that traditional flatpicking sound.       Make sure to click on the e-lesson mp3 to hear all these ideas in action.
        I hope you enjoy working through my arrangements of “Billy in the Lowground” and adding it to your list of flatpicking tunes. If you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net