December 2009 Free Flatpicking Lesson
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine
"East Tennessee Blues"
In this month’s newsletter we are giving our regular newsletter
contributor, Mickey Abraham, a break and providing you with some
material from Volumes 5 and 6 of the
course. For those of you who already have those volumes of the course,
don’t worry, we’ve thrown in something a little extra that doesn’t
appear in the course.
Arranged by Dan Miller and Tim May
In this month’s newsletter
lesson we are providing beginner, intermediate, and advanced
arrangements of the fiddle tune “East Tennessee Blues.” The beginning
arrangement, by Dan Miller, does not appear in the
course. So, for those of you who are studying the course (as well as
those of you who are not) this beginner’s arrangement will provide a
good opportunity for you to learn a simple arrangement of the tune
before trying to tackle the intermediate and advanced versions.
In arranging the beginners
version, I listened to a recording of Bill Monroe playing the tune. I
did not transcribe Monroe’s arrangement, I simply listened to what he
was doing, hummed along to get a general feel for the basic melody,
then I came up with my arrangement. In Volume 3 of the
Flatpicking Essentials course I teach how to arrange simple versions of fiddle tunes using this method.
The “intermediate” level arrangement is taken from Flatpicking Essentials Volume 5.
In this volume the idea was for Tim May to improvise tunes in the
style of various famous flatpickers. Again, the tunes in this book are
not exact transcriptions. Tim improvised the arrangements and during
each section of the tune he played in the style of a different
flatpicker. For instance, in his improvisation of “East Tennessee
Blues” for Volume 5 he played the opening A section in the style of Doc
Watson, then he played the B section in the style of Pat Flynn, then
he played another A section in the style of Mark O’Connor. Other
flatpickers’ styles who are presented and studied in this volume
include Tony Rice, Norman Blake, Clarence White, and Dan Crary.
The “advanced” arrangement of “East Tennessee Blues” that appears in this lesson comes from Flatpicking Essentials,
Volume 6. In this volume Tim May improvised about 18 different fiddle
tunes and bluegrass songs, playing each two times through. For each
song he focused on various and different advanced flatpicking
techniques. For this particular song he presented the use of
syncopation, the use of the “flat 9” arpeggio, and the use of quarter
We hope you enjoy these arrangements of “East Tennessee Blues.”