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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

Free Monthly Email Newsletter — June 2016

Garfield's Blackberry Blossom

Arranged by Mickey Abraham


Hello and welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month I am excited to present two versions of the unique old-time fiddle tune “Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom.” The first pass is influenced by guitarist Jake Stargel and the second pass is influenced by the mandolin playing of the great Adam Steffey.

Although I had heard “Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom” on records like The Nashville Bluegrass Band’s “Twenty Year Blues” and Adam Steffey’s “New Primitive” I did not pay attention to it until my friend Holly Riley told me that we have to play it. She knows I pride myself on knowing offbeat fiddle tunes and was surprised it was not one of my go-to tunes to play and teach. Well, it is now!

“Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom” has a peculiar sound because the melody focuses on the #4 (b5) of the major scale. Most flatpicking tunes in G position will include the first fret of the b string (C natural). In this case, you will find yourself targeting the second fret of the b string (C#). When played against your typical bluegrass G chord this creates the unusual yet pleasing sound of “Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom.” Make sure to click on the included lesson mp3 to hear the melody and chords in action.

I hope you enjoy working on “Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom” and adding to your list of fiddle tunes. I’d like to thank fiddler Holly Riley for calling this incredible tune to my attention. Should you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net