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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

Free Lesson - June 2018

Old Joe Clark

Arranged 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 we return to true flatpicking 101 with the classic fiddle tune “Old Joe Clark.”

“Old Joe Clark” is often the first tune I teach my private students. This lesson includes two versions of the tune. The first time through is designed to be very simple while the second pass is a bit harder. These two versions are a great way to hear how a fiddle tune can be interpreted with mostly downstroke quarter notes and then spiced up with some alternate picking.

I’m unsure where I first learned “Old Joe Clark.” My version is a combination of all the versions I have been exposed to over the years from bluegrass jam sessions and fiddle contests.

“Old Joe Clark” is one of the most popular tunes for a reason! The chords and melody are easy and the form is the same as countless other fiddle tunes. Once you get this tune in your head and fingers you will have no problem learning other similar tunes.

“Old Joe Clark” is often played out of G position with a capo on the second fret. This puts the guitars into the key of A where fiddles and mandolins play it. It is very common to play fiddle tunes in the key of A out of capo II G position on guitar. I do enjoy playing “Old Joe Clark” in open A position but the use of the capo for these style tunes is so popular it seemed right to use the G position. The G position helps drive the melody like a bluegrass tune.

Make sure to click on the included lesson mp3 to hear the chords and melody in action. As always should you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net