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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

Free Lesson — July 2018

“Buck’s Polka”

Arranged by Mickey Abraham

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Hello and welcome once again to Fatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month’s tune is a little number called “Buck’s Polka.” I guarantee you will have a great time learning this tune and you will enjoy playing it forever.

“Buck’s Polka” is very special tune to me. Here is the story. I used to teach at a bluegrass store in Tallahassee called Gordon’s String Music. Gordon taught me a great deal about picking bluegrass and introduced me to so many great players. Back then I was into “shred” guitar more than I am these days. Gordon and I enjoyed sharing music with each other. One day I showed up to work with a Dixie Dreggs album called “Night of the Living Dreggs” that featured a track called “The Bash.” I wanted to play the great Steve Morse for Gordon. I figured his tune “The Bash” would be a good Dreggs introduction to Gordon because it has a country/bluegrass sound.

Gordon at first said “that’s the Wabash Cannonball.” Then the song went to the next part and Gordon said “That’s Buck’s Polka.” It was evident to Gordon that Steve Morse and The Dixie Dreggs had done a mashup of classic country melodies for their tune.

Gordon then proceeded to pick up his mandolin and play “Buck’s Polka.” This lesson version is note for note what Gordon improvised as his version of the tune for that day. It wasn’t even a tune he played regularly or had practiced. He just was able to make the brain to finger connection and play a simple rendition of the classic melody.

I immediately found the melody and chord progression addictive. Nearly twenty years later and I have taught this tune to every student I’ve ever had. “Buck’s Polka” is a tune that is very easy to play and yet sounds very impressive. It’s also fairly simple to play quickly. “Buck’s Polka” is a wonderful tune for beginner pickers to dig into the alternate picking style. Most of the melody takes place on one string which makes it easy to learn and memorize. I’m sure you’ll agree that the tune just feels good in your fingers.

I hope you enjoy learning “Buck’s Polka” and adding to your always growing list of great flatpicking tunes. As always should you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net