Welcome to FGM’s free e-lesson portion of our monthly newsletter.
Each month, when you click here, you will find great new flatpicking
material to explore. Thanks for all the positive feedback on my past
e-lessons. Keep your emails coming -- what tunes have you enjoyed the
most? What tunes or concepts would you like to see featured here in the
This month, I would like to
introduce you to a quirky Irish flavored tune entitled “The Brazin
Mask.” Unlike many of my past lessons which have included melodic
variations and soloing ideas, here I encourage you to stick to the
melody -- you see, picking this tune cleanly is a real good right hand
work out and I feel it is worth it to work out the techniques needed to
play this melody. I use this tune as a right hand etude to practice
crossing stings. You will find that you really need to keep your right
hand focused and relaxed to achieve a nice groove with this
The chords I have chosen to use
are very simply and straightforward -- just G and D. I have heard this
tune done with complex modern Irish rhythm styles that incorporate lots
of chords but, for this lesson, I have chosen to interpret the backup
like an old-time dance tune. It has the typical AABB structure with
each section containing eight measures.
I find this melody to be just
beautifully quirky enough to be awesome. The first time I heard it I
knew this tune was different from the rest. In the A section, you will
notice how the open g string is being used after every other note. This
“rocking’ back and forth to the open g string, to me, is what helps
gives the tune an Irish flavor.
I particularly enjoy the tune’s
creative use of half steps and chromatic passages. It is these one fret
intervals that give the melody it’s unique flavor and, in a way,
almost comes off sounding humorous or bombastic.
When flatpicking the triplets at
the end of the B section I am picking DUD - UDU. You can think of it as
a group a six notes. Try to accent the first beat of each group of
three! I encourage you to listen to the mp3 to hear the hornpipe
flavored triplet. I love the way Irish players use triplets to ornament
a tune -- it never seems to be for the “techniques” sake, but rather to
express a melodic musical idea.
Remember to practice slow and
clean. This tune has so much going for it. Try introducing it to your
friends and see what they think. Drop me a line at
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments, or concerns with this e-lesson. Good luck and have fun with “The Brazin Mask!”