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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

Free Monthly Lesson - August 2019


Cold Frosty Morning

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 I offer a simple yet intriguing rendition of the classic fiddle tune “Cold Frosty Morning.” I always enjoy a good minor fiddle tune and “Cold Frosty Morning” is just that. Most of this lesson arrangement is very straight forward but there are a few creative ideas thrown in to help build your flatpicking language.

The first lick of interest is the opening lick itself. In measure 2 I’m using what I call the “Adam Steffey” lick. Steffey uses this type of idea in his mandolin playing all the time. The idea can be thought of as an enclosure. You play a scale degree (half or whole step) below your target chord tone (the root in this case) on beat one. Then, you play the chord tone (the root in this case) on the “and” of beat one. This is followed by a note a whole step higher than your target chord tone (played twice) and then you return to the root (our target chord tone). To me, the ear hears this 5 note lick as one note — the root itself. It’s one way of turning a single note note into a run of eighth notes. I encourage you to try to use the “Adam Steffey” lick in other tunes where you can hear this type of language working.

Next, in the B section at measure 13 I included one “floating” passage. For this lick I keep the third fret of the B string and the fifth fret of the G fretted (like a little chord). The open high E string is included in the shape and it creates a beautiful little three note chord. These types of ideas help create sustain and originality in your flatpicking.

Lastly, at measure 14 I arranged a cool little chromatic run that fits the chords and melody to “Cold Frosty Morning” The chord sequence at measures 14-16 (Am, C, D, E) is one of the more original aspects of the tune and has a very cool and intense sound. My melody line hits all the roots of these chords on the downbeats but also includes chromatic connectors. Adding chromatic runs like this is part of the flatpicking tradition and helps give your arrangements personality and color.

Make sure to click on the included lesson mp3 to hear the chords and melody in action.I hope you enjoy working out this arrangement of “Cold Frosty Morning” As always should you have any questions or comments on this lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net

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