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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

Free Monthly Email Newsletter — April 2016

Beaumont Rag

Arranged by Mickey Abraham


Hello and welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month’s tune is one that must be in every flatpicker’s arsenal of tunes, the “Beaumont Rag.” For this lesson I have included three passes through the tune. First is a striped down melody rendition followed by two composed solos. I had a lot of fun working out new licks to play over this classic tune and I’m certain you will find this lesson version to be intriguing and playable.

One interesting aspect of “Beaumont Rag” is how both sections begin on the V chord. This gives the opening lick of the tune musical momentum. At the end of each section is what bluegrass players call “the rag turnaround.” This set of rolling chords is extremely characteristic of rags and can be found all over American music. The rag turnaround is as follows: IV, #IVdim, I, VI, II, V, I. In the key of C this would be: F, F#dim, C, A7, D7, G7, and C. This set of cords makes for a wonderful tag or in some cases are the chords for an entire tune.

If you already play “Beaumont Rag” I encourage you do take a look at the composed solos. You may find a few ideas that are worth stealing. Feel free to take my ideas and use them in other tunes that you know. I tried to fill up this arrangement with interesting language. Make sure to click on the included lesson mp3 to hear these ideas in action.

I hope you enjoy working through my arrangement of “Beaumont Rag.” As always should you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net