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Free Flatpicking Lesson

February 2016

"Alabama Jubilee"

Arranged by Mickey Abraham


Hello and welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson. Thank you all for your birthday wishes last month! It’s so great to hear from all you folks who enjoy my arrangements.

This month I offer two versions of the popular flatpicking standard “Alabama Jubilee.” My first pass is a bare bones take on the tune’s wonderful melody while the second pass is an arranged solo through the chord changes. All my favorite pickers enjoy picking on this tune and I’m sure once you learn it you will feel the same way.

Most players associate this piece with flashy contest arrangements and hot licks. One thing I love to do is take flatpicking songs that are traditionally considered “hard” and make them simple. One good example of this is my August 2014 lesson on the infamous “Little Rock Getaway.” If you’d like to take a look at the simplest version of “Little Rock Getaway” one will find click here http://www.flatpick.com/category_s/2237.htm

While working through the melody to “Alabama Jubilee” please note that I play this with all down pick strokes. Once you hear and feel the melody you will have a much easier time learning to improvise over a song like this. If you have tried to learn this song from complicated tabs or contest arrangements I think you’ll find this rendition to be playable and fun.

I really enjoy composing solos to “Alabama Jubilee.” The chord progression lends itself perfectly to grooving over each chord -- I mean, each chord lasts for four full measures! If you are a player who solos with one scale over chord changes you will find this approach does not work for “Alabama Jubilee.” This style chord progression calls for a more jazzy approach in that you must outline each chord individually.

While arranging the solo for this lesson I tried to stay in open position while outlining the chords. To me this creates that classic flatpicking language that makes this style so cool. Jazz and rock players tend to move up the guitar neck while flatpickers tend to get a lot more out of the open positions.

I hope you enjoy working on “Alabama Jubilee” and adding to your constantly growing list of flatpicking tunes. As always if you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net