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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

Free Monthly Newsletter Lesson — May 2015

Carcassi Study No. 14

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 I have decided to do something a bit different. I’ve decided to step outside the traditional flatpicking realm and into the realm of classical guitar composer Matteo Carcassi. Carcassi is most known for his etudes or “studies” used by guitarist all over the world. As flatpicking guitarists we must sometimes look outside our comfort zone for inspiration. Learning Carcassi etudes will make you feel cool, sound cool, and improve your overall picking technique.
While learning Carcassi study No.14 on classical guitar I was immediately drawn to the melody line which, to me, resembled a long meandering fiddle tune. For this lesson, I extracted the single-line melody. Many of the “licks” resemble D fiddle tunes like St. Anne’s Reel. There are even some fiddle tune-esque chromatic passages. I find this study translates exceptionally well to the flatpick style. In the original study there is a bass part that is to be played at the same time. But, as flatpickers, we typically play one note at a time (non including chords or double stops).
I’m confident you will find working on this piece fun and rewarding. Make sure to alternate your picking. There are a few spots that will really hone in on your right hand technique. Measure 10 for example involves picking the third fret of the B string with a down stroke followed by the second fret of the A string up. This is quite challenging. This string skipping technique shows up again at measures 12 and 24. It is the call and response nature of these sections that creates the big string skips. The lines are switching between musical voices. I must say, it sounds really neat when played smoothly.
This is certainly not a tune to break out at the next jam session, but it is a wonderful flatpicking excursion. Remember to click on the included lesson mp3 to hear all the parts in action. As always, if you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net