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Free Monthly Newsletter Lesson - August 2014

"Little Rock Getaway"

Arranged for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine by Mickey Abraham

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Hello and welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month’s tune is the flatpicking gem “Little Rock Getaway.” This tune has always fascinated me due to it’s incredible chord progression and well thought out melody. “Little Rock Getaway” is often used as a show piece or contest selection. Many of the notated versions tend to be quite difficult and are filled with flashy licks and phrases. This lesson is the opposite of that. My goal here was to present what is often a tricky tune in a way that is easy to learn and 100% playable.
     It should go without saying that just because the arrangement is easy does not mean that it’s not cool. I took time choosing each note of this arrangement. I really wanted it to be interesting and accessible.
     One of the things that makes “Little Rock Getaway” so intriguing is it’s unique chord progression. Although it is very busy I feel most of the chords are essential to the sound of the tune. In many cases, chords can be simplified and still express a tune’s melody. In this case, the C, E7, Am, C7, F, A7, Dm, and D#dim are all essential. I have heard minor variations on the turnaround patterns. There is some room for chord interpretation when it comes to the turnarounds in “Little Rock Getaway.” For example, where I have played C, A7, Dm, and G in measures 9-10, one may choose to just play one measure of C and one measure of G. This simpler chord pattern will function the same. Choosing chord progressions for turnarounds is often a personal preference but almost always include a version of a I, VI, II, V.
     Most melody versions of this tune incorporate a lot of cross-picking through the chords. While this is a great way to play it, I always find cross-picking to be hard. I do like the cross-picking renditions but it’s not a necessity. There is a single-line melody that exists through the cross-picking. Once you learn my version I feel you will have more success tackling some of the more advanced arrangements that exists out there. This tune can get pretty crazy.
     Although I keep saying that this version is easy it does have really musical licks in there. Make sure to click on the lesson mp3 to hear the melody and chords in action. I hope you enjoy working on “Little Rock Getaway” and adding it to your list of eclectic flatpicking tunes. As always, if you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line atmichabraham@comcast.net