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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
BELLY Greetings and welcome to our second issue. Shortly after we
You cant hide it any longer. sent our first issue out to subscribers we left our home in California
and drove across the country, stopping at Winfield, Owensboro, and
That bulge behind your bridge is visiting folks at festivals and music stores throughout places like
starting to show. Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. One of the
String tension pulling on your most frequent comments we heard was, This is a great magazine, but
can you continue to produce this much material in every issue? Well,
guitar top will warp it you hold the answer to that question in your hands. You will notice
sooner or later. that here in our second issue we have included material from all of the
columnists that appeared in the first issue, plus much more.
The JLD-Bridge system will help One thing that you will notice is that we have added several new
win the battle of the bulge. features to this issue. In addition to our cover story (David Grier),
our guitar builder piece (Gallagher Guitars), our CD highlight (Robin
Installed through the soundhole Kessinger) and our event article (Winfield 96), we have also added
in minutes with zero a new feature column which highlights rhythm guitar players (Tim
modification to your baby, Stafford), a columnist profile (Adam Granger), and a Local Heroes
column (Susan Snyder). Additionally, we have added a new column
our patented design will on Celtic guitar written by John McGann.
flatten your top forever. One thing that I discovered during our cross country trip was
that there are a lot of really great flatpickers out there. Because we
The JLD-Bridge System also only publish 6 times a year, I realized that we could not sufficiently
dramatically enhances volume, highlight all of the players that deserve to be featured in this magazine
if the only player we highlighted was the one on our cover. By adding
sustain and projection. the three new columns, I think we can do a better job letting our
readers know who the great players are and what kind of ideas they
Play flat! Sound sharp! have that will improve your playing. I am especially proud to add the
Factory installed on every Masters of Rhythm Guitar column as I feel that rhythm playing is a
vital, and sometimes overlooked, part of the art of flatpicking guitar. In
the next issue this column will feature Kenny Smith of the Lonesome
River Band. In future issues I hope to highlight other great rhythm
players such as Del McCoury, Jim McReynolds, Charlie Waller, Larry
Sparks, and Jimmy Martin.
I want to send out a special thanks to all of you who took the time
to write, email, and phone to give us feedback on the first issue. We
appreciate the comments and suggestions and we will try our best to
incorporate all of the great ideas. Keep them coming!
JLD-Guitar Research & Development Editor and Publisher
2432 S. Lake Letta Drive,
Avon Park, FL 33825
(941) 452-5239 spot@spotgrafix.com

U.S. PATENT-#5,260,505

2 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Flatpicking FEATURES

David Grier 4
Gallagher Guitar Company 19
Masters of Rhythm Guitar: Tim Stafford 28
Magazine 25th National Flatpicking Championships
Columnist Profile: Adam Granger
Local Heroes: Susan Snyder 51
Volume 1, Number 2
Published bi-monthly by: In the Studio 11
High View Publications Craig Vance
P.O. Box 51967 Beginners Page: You Are My Sunshine 12
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Dan Huckabee
Phone: (408) 622-0789 Flatpick Rhythm Guitar 14
Fax: (408) 622-0787 Joe Carr
Orders: (800) 413-8296 Flatpicking & Folk/Acoustic Rock 17
E-mail: highview@flatpick.com John Tindel
Web Site: http://www.flatpick.com
ISSN: 1089-9855
Steve Kaufmans Right Hand: Devils Dream 22
Steve Kaufman
Dan Miller - Publisher and Editor Nashville Flat Top: Black Mountain Rag 24
Mariann Miller - Sales and Advertising Brad Davis
Dave McCarty - Contributing Editor Break Time: Intros 27
Subscription Rate ($US):
Chris Jones
US $22.00 Post-Modern Flatpicking: Panhandle Rag 33
Canada/Mexico $27.00 Scott Nygaard
Other Foreign $32.00 The O-Zone: Playing Up the Neck - Part II 35
Orrin Starr
All contents Copyright 1997 by
High View Publications unless other-
Beginning Cross Picking: Home Sweet Home 37
wise indicated Dix Bruce
Reproduction of material appearing in Music Theory 43
the Flatpicking Guitar Magazine is for- Dave Bricker
bidden without written permission Flatpicking Fiddle Tunes: Jigs 46
Adam Granger
Printed in the USA
Beginning Clarence White Style 48
Steve Pottier
The Vintage Voice 64
Buddy Summer
Irish Traditional Dance Music 67
John McGann
The Tuning of the Monster 69
David Moultrup

New Release Highlight: Robin Kessinger 55
Reviews 58
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
David Grier

How much practice does it take to become three time Davids pre-school education came from hanging around
IBMA Guitar Player of the Year? Ask 1992, 1993 and backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, attending bluegrass
1995 winner David Grier and his answer will be, I never concerts and festivals, and riding down the road with the
practice, I just play. Practice sounds too much like Blue Grass Boys on Bill Monroes bus. It was during
work. Playing sounds like youre having fun. this time, when he was five or six years old, that David
Although considered a young flatpicker when compared started playing the guitar. When asked what drew him to
to legends such as Tony Rice, Doc Watson, Norman the guitar versus a banjo or any of the other instruments
Blake, and Dan Crary, Grier has now been playing and he was exposed to at that age, Grier says that it was his
having fun on the guitar for the past thirty years and has Dad who pointed him in the direction of the guitar. He
earned himself the same degree of respect and admiration says, Dad thought that the guitar was a more versatile
that has been bestowed upon the afore mentioned giants. instrument than the banjo and that I could do more with
Three time National flatpick champion Steve Kaufman it. If I chose, I could do blues, jazz, classical, country,
says, David Grier is the best player out there today bluegrass, rock and roll, or whatever. With a banjo you
because he is so versatile. I call his style the jeet- are pretty limited.
kuen-do of flatpicking. It is the style of no style. He When asked what he remembers about those days
can tastefully adapt his style to fit any situation or any backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, Grier says that on one
musical context. Butch Baldassari, mandolin player occasion the Osborne Brothers where on stage performing
and Griers former bandmate in The Grass is Greener, and he was standing in the wings. He noticed that Sonny
says, I heard someone recently compare David Griers Osborne was playing a banjo just like his Dad. The
playing to that of a guy who is a grand master chess young Grier yelled out, Sonny! Osborne looked over
player who is about 20 moves ahead at all times when he and David said, Sonny, come here! Osborne ignored
is playing the game. I think Griers playing is like that. I the boy and continued with the show. David persisted,
dont think he consciously thinks twenty or thirty moves Sonny, come here! Finally, Osborne, perhaps thinking
ahead, but his mind works that way. His mind is so far that there was some emergency, left the stage to see what
ahead and so advanced of everything that is happening. David was so excited about. Sonny approached the boy
His variations and improvisations are endless. and said, What is it David? David said Follow me!
You could say that David Grier was born into Bluegrass. and proceeded to move back towards the dressing rooms.
The son of renowned banjo player Lamar Grier, David Sonny followed David to Lamar Griers dressing room.
was born in Washington, D.C. in 1961. When he was When they reached their destination David pointed at
just four years old his father got a job playing banjo his Dads banjo and said, Look! My Dad plays a banjo
with Bill Monroe and the family moved to Nashville. just like yours!

4 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Learning to Play the Guitar not teach David how to play the guitar or many different ways I can play it. I cant
Because Grier does not read standard show him what to play, he would sit and tell you how many times Ive been sitting
music notation or tablature and has never pick with David whenever he came to the around the house noodling and Ill come
really had any formal instruction, yet is house to visit with Davids father. David across something new. He continues by
so versatile and creative and plays with says, I thought that was pretty cool. Here adding, If you just memorized some solo
such fluidity and effortlessness, many have I was just a kid trying to learn how to play and play it the same way every time because
labeled him a natural player, as if to say and Roland had the patience to sit and pick you think those are the coolest licks, that
he was born with this talent. But this with me for hours. The one thing that makes sense until you make a mistake. If
talent did not just fall into Davids lap. He Roland did suggest of David was that he you go off the pattern you memorized, you
has definitely put his time in behind his not play in B flat so often. David recalls, are behind and have to catch up. If you
guitar and his father, Lamar, was a guiding When I was young it was much easier for dont have anything memorized, it is easier
influence in developing Davids talent. me to play when I put the capo on the third to keep up even when you make a mistake.
When David was five or six, his father fret because the frets are closer together up I never have an arrangement figured out
showed him his first few chords and then the neck. I just got used to always playing before going on stage. I know the song
let David run with it. He allowed David that way. melody, but thats it.
the freedom to explore the instrument on Because his father encouraged him to Davids early guitar influences were
his own terms and create his own breaks to explore playing his own breaks to songs players like Tony Rice, Doc Watson, and
songs, but also gave him pointers along the from an early age, David never developed family friend Clarence White. When he
way. Lamar Grier told Flatpicking Guitar a habit of copying other players. He does was about 16 or 17 years old he also began
that all of Davids drive, enthusiasm, and credit many players as having influenced playing the telecaster and says that when
motivation for playing the guitar was his him and says that he spent time listening to he started playing electric guitar he was
own. The elder Grier says that he neither tapes and records to try and hear what others influenced by players such as Don Rich,
encouraged nor discouraged Davids play- were doing, but he has never restricted who had played with Buck Owens; Roy
ing. He would answer questions when himself to playing other players licks Nichols, who played with Merle Haggard;
David had them, but otherwise left David and breaks or memorizing a break to a Albert Lee, who at that time was playing
alone to discover the guitar on his own. song. David says, Copying a lick from with either Emmy Lou Harris or Eric
While it is true that Grier has never another player is a good way of learning, Clapton; Eric Clapton himself; Ry Cooder;
really had a formal flatpicking guitar lesson but eventually you make it your own by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straights; Keith
per se, David says that his father taught exploring variations of that lick. You Richards of the Rolling Stones; Hendricks;
him how to listen to the music and develop exhaust all possibilities. You might reach a Clarence Whites electric guitar work;
important fundamentals such as tone, plateau for a while, but then later something and Amos Garrett. He states that besides
timing, and taste. They would sit together new will pop out that is all your own. I broadening his musical exposure, the most
and listen to tapes of live shows and his like to fool around with a tune and see how valuable thing about playing electric guitar
father would say, Listen to the way this
guy starts his solo, or he would point out
Photo: Carl Fleischauer

things that Clarence White was doing, Did

you hear that? Lets listen to that again.
David says his father would even point out
things that Django Rienhardt was doing, but
he adds, I didnt like it because at the time
I just couldnt understand it.
When David was playing his guitar at
home, his father would sometimes keep an
ear bent in Davids direction and lend him
advice. David says, I cant tell you how
many times I heard my Dad say, Thats not
the melody. It might be something, but it
is not the melody. Id be playing and say,
Dad, what do you think of this? He would
say, What is that? Id say, That was Salt
Creek. Hed say, It might be something,
but thats not Salt Creek. Then David
would be left alone to discover how to get
it right. His father would rarely show him
exactly what notes to play unless there was
a particular lick that was giving him a lot
of trouble.
Someone else who David credits for
helping him develop his guitar playing A twelve year old David Grier, with his Dad, Lamar, and
talent is Roland White. While Roland did Clarence White, navigates around a resting festival attendee
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
In the following interview, David Grier
comments about his playing style, discusses
how he composes his own tunes, and lends
advice to aspiring flatpickers.

How would you define your style of

My style is a cross between the fiddle and
banjo played on the guitar. I have the rolls
of the banjo expressed in my crosspicking
and the variation of the old time fiddle
players who could take a tune and play
it forever.

You have become quite well known for

your crosspicking abilities. How did that
When I was young I sat and played a lot
of guitar by myself. Crosspicking became
a way to fill things out when I was playing
Grier performs with the Grass is Greener at Winfield, 1996
alone. I also use a drone string a lot.
was learning how to play up-the-neck. and Mike Compton and he also performs The reason I do that is to leave something
Although Grier had occasionally been as a solo act at many venues. He has ringing so it doesnt sound so staccato. If
on stage with his Dad when the elder Grier recorded two highly acclaimed solo albums, you leave one string ringing it will fill in
was playing in local bands, he was never Freewheeling and Lone Soldier, as well as a the dead spaces so things will flow together
really in a band himself until he was old project with mandolin player Mike Comp- smoother and it wont sound so choppy.
enough to leave home and got a job playing ton. In addition to the above mentioned I use crosspicking the same way. You let
electric guitar in a country rock band. But performing and recording, Grier also does something ring while you are trying to get
he obviously hadnt given up on the acoustic session work in his spare time. His guitar the other note. You can also do that by
guitar or bluegrass because in 1980 he took work can be heard on over 75 recordings, strumming chords while you are picking.
a trip out to Winfield and placed 2nd in including the Grammy Winning Great Sometimes I strum through the chords while
the National Flatpicking Championships. Dobro Sessions. playing the melody. This breaks it up so
Davids excellent showing at Winfield Having won the IBMA Guitar Player that I dont have just a bunch of single line
helped to convince him that he could prob- of the Year award three of the last five stuff. That is boring. You play differently
ably make a living playing the guitar and so years, it is obvious that bluegrass fans have when you are playing with a band. You
around 1984 he packed up and moved back responded with great enthusiasm to Griers have other band members fulfilling those
to Nashville (after Lamar Grier finished work. However, Grier is also a musicians roles, so you are able to one-string it. But
his two year stint with Bill Monroe, he had musician. Richard Greene, who played it doesnt sound good when you are by
moved the family back to Laurel, Maryland, with Bill Monroe in the mid-sixties and yourself. When you are playing by yourself,
and that is where David had lived most of was in the band Muleskinner with Clarence you have to figure out how to break it up so
his life). Upon arrival in Nashville, David White, says, David Grier is the worlds that it is not boring.
began playing out as much as possible in best player of fiddle tunes and fiddle music
order to show the Nashville music com- on guitar. Clarence White started it off So then the techniques you use in your
munity what he could do. During his early and David Grier finished the job. Tony solos when you are playing with a band,
years in Nashville he played with Gene Trischka, who has played in a duo setting or in a duo, or by yourself, will vary with
Wooten, Roland Whites New Kentucky with David, and has played with David in the setting.
Colonels, and the Doug Dillard Band, to both Psychograss and The Grass is Greener Yes. You know, I used to dislike the fact
name a few. He was also doing some states, Davids ability to think on his feet that I wasnt in a band and that the band
session work and soon began building a is amazing. He is an absolutely inventive didnt get to grow and things didnt get to
reputation for himself in the music city. guitar player and the next great guitar gel and get real tight. The more I look
Today Grier is in great demand. He player in the evolutionary cycle. There at it, I see that what Im doing now gives me
currently plays in the band, Pychograss, was Doc, Clarence, Tony, and now David. a chance to play differently in each setting
with Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Todd Mandolinist Butch Baldassari says, I have and so I never get bored. Im always learn-
Phillips, and Tony Trischka, and has recently heard a lot of other guitar players say, and I ing new things and it remains interesting
left The Grass is Greener, with Richard agree with them, that Grier is on a level all to me. I try to play a new way each time
Greene, Butch Baldasarri, Tony Trischka, of his own with very few people even close so I dont get bored with it and then the
and Buell Neidlinger. He occasionally by. His playing is really advanced and very audience will not get bored with it. If Im
plays duet gigs with such notables as Butch complete, from top to bottom. bored, it will be expressed to the audience.
Baldassari, Tony Furtado, Tony Trischka, If I remain interested in what Im playing,

6 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

the audience will like it better. Some of your songs have pretty creative Guitar Company. Before I got this guitar I
titles. How do you come up with the played a 1955 Martin D-18 that was given
You have been playing with some great names for your songs, like Big Dirt to me by my father. If the Nashville guitar
musicians in Psychograss and The Grass Clod for instance? is in the shop, Ill still play the D-18.
is Greener. Do you learn new things I usually wait until the song is finished
from listening to what those guys are before I give it a name. For that particular What do you like about Nashville Guitar
doing? song, I was touring in North Carolina with Company guitar?
The musicians I like to get stuff from are Tony Furtado and I showed him this tune. Marty Lanham had shown me one of his
the ones that think along the same lines as I We were playing it, but it didnt have a guitars years ago. It was a nice guitar, but
do. Someone like Stuart Duncan, to me, is name so I said, Ill just name it Big Dirt I wasnt interested in playing it because I
a perfect musician. In his playing you hear Clod. Everyone kind of laughed and it liked my D-18. He asked me what I was
things like jazz and blues, but it all comes always got a big chuckle, so I thought it looking for in a guitar and I told him that if
out Bluegrass and sounds great. You hear should stick. There are some goofy titles. I played a new guitar it would have to have
all of these different influences that are not a neck like my D-18 because I was used
direct cops of licks, but have that feeling. When did you start writing your own to that neck and it was very comfortable.
I like to do the same thing. I like blending material? I was also looking for something that was
different styles of music to make my own Right from the beginning when I first bassy like my D-18, but not boomy like
style - that is what Clarence did. Matt started to play. a D-28. Marty built a new guitar to my
Glaser told me, You know, you play all of specifications, but I didnt really think
this different stuff, but it comes out pure When you are getting ready to record a anything would replace my D-18. Well,
Bluegrass, which is cool. new CD, do you write songs specifically one day I get this call from Mike Compton
for that project or do you have a back log and he says, David, Marty has built this
Do you do that intentionally? of tunes that youve written. guitar for you, but if you dont want it, Im
Yes, I sure do. I like to listen to all sorts Both. I have written a lot of songs, going to buy it. I figured if Mike liked it
of music and get ideas, but I am a bluegrass but some I wouldnt want to record. Jason so much it must be a good guitar so I tried
player. If I tried to play straight blues or Carter, the fiddle player for Del McCoury, it out and it was just what I was looking for.
jazz, it wouldnt sound like blues or jazz, it just cut three of my songs on his new album, It is bassier and louder than my D-18, has
would sound like a bluegrass player trying two of them had never been recorded. It a good high end, and a lot of sustain. So I
to play blues or jazz because Id throw a will be out later this fall. play this all the time now.
G-run or something in the middle of it.
Does it give you a sense of accomplish- Previous to getting the Nashville guitar,
What is your process when you are writ- ment when other artists cover your how long had you been playing the
ing an original tune? tunes. D-18?
Like Keith Richards said, There are two Yes, because you never know if they are When I was old enough to carry it down
ways you can write a song. You can work any good or not. the hall without knocking into the wall
all day at your office and sit there with your was when I began playing the D-18. I was
pad of paper and your pen and try to write probably about 12 years old. The D-18 is a
a song, or you can sit there and play your Can you talk about the guitars you 1955 model that my father traded for a tape
guitar. The secret there is that you have play? player. Whoever had it before Dad had
to know when youve stumbled across Right now Im playing a guitar that was had someone replace the bridge. If you
something. Which is really cool, because made by Marty Lanham of the Nashville
that is the way I do it.
Sometimes Ill be sitting around the
house playing and Ill play some stuff and
I wont know a song that goes like that so
Ill write one. Thats the way I do it. The
first part of my song Wheeling just came
out when I was warming up in my dressing
room before a show. But I couldnt figure
out a second part. I sat for a couple of
weeks and tried to come up with something
that would work with it. One night I was
sitting on the couch watching TV, playing
the guitar, talking on the phone, and then
my roommate came in and started talking
to me. I had four things going on and
before I knew it the second part came out
and it fit perfect. That is how Wheeling
came about. Grier performing with Psychograss at the Strawberry Festival
in California, May 1996.
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
look close you can see two circles where strings and pick because he likes a woody
Learn the tunes and someone had bolted the bridge to the top. It tone and does not like his guitar to sound too
solos of your choice, has been that way ever since I had it. Last bright. I might have continued this interview
and asked David more details about his
in any format. week I finally had that taken out. I was
picks, strings, right hand technique, and
afraid to before, but it worked out OK and
now it rings more without that weight to pick direction, however, having attended a
The Original Custom number of his workshops, I know that his
keep it from vibrating. Over here there is a
Transcription Service big scratch (points to the lower part of the answer to these detailed questions would
top), I did that one time when I was young be something to the effect that it does
All styles and instruments: flat- and my Dad made me mad. I took my pick not matter what he uses or what he does
picking, fingerstyle, chord solos, and made this scratch, not knowing that because everybody needs to find their own
melody, improvisation; other someday the guitar would be mine. way of doing it, that which feels natural and
instruments (horns, woodwinds, comfortable to them.
piano, etc.) transcribed for guitar, What recommendation do you have for David is not one to elaborate on the exact
mandolin, etc. I can also create individuals who are trying to learn how way he holds the pick or attacks the strings
custom arrangements. to flatpick? because it is likely to change from one solo
Private lessons via U.S. mail. The only way you are really going to to the next depending on the sound he is
Berklee graduate, professional improve is by putting the guitar in your trying to create or the tone he is pulling
recording and performing artist. hands and working with it. My guitar is out of the guitar in that moment. Griers
never in the case, its always in the house on playing is innovative, creative, and versatile.
Tab and/or standard notation.
the couch or somewhere. Sometimes Ill He allows himself freedom in everything
Details and tips on the Web:
have two or three lying around. If I have to he does by not getting locked into any
http://world.std.com/~jmcgann particular technique or style. To learn from
take out the trash, but walk by and see my
guitar lying there, Ill sit and play the guitar David Grier means to listen to what he does
John McGann for 15 or 20 minutes. If you have a chance and try to absorb how he does it without
P.O. Box 688-FM to take out the trash or play the guitar, getting caught up in the details.
Jamaica Plain, Ma.. 02130-0006 what are you going to do? You play the
guitar. For those who may be interested in learn-
(617) 325-6853 ing how to play some of Davids original
When I sit down to play, I just play tunes. I
dont have warm-ups, tunes, please refer to his Texas Music and
I dont play scales. I Video instructional video Flatpicking
dont want to sit and with David Grier, his new Homespun
practice scales, I just instructional tape Bluegrass Guitar -
want to play. I never Building Powerful Solos (see review on
played scales. You page 61), or his tab book for his Lone
just play and have fun. Soldier CD (see review on page 62 and ad
I never looked at it as on page 45).
practice. It sounds
to much like work. I On the following page, we have provided
just play. Playing a tab for one of Davids tunes A Blue
sounds like youre Midnight Star. The tab represents the first
having fun. Of course, break as recorded on Davids first solo
when I was learning, project, Freewheeling, Rounder 0250. We
I had the advantage of thank John McGann for the transcription.
being young and not
having a job. Id come
home from school and
play until dinner, then
play until time for

David Grier
uses DAddario J-14
strings and a very
heavy Golden Gate
style pick (tri-corner
with very rounded
corners). He chooses
this combination of

8 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

A Blue Midnight Star
written by David Grier (Fine FlatpickinMusic ASCAP) Transcribed by John McGann

(As played by David Grier on his CD Freewheeling, Rounder 0250)

First Break 3

1 Em9 Em

&4 #
# #

Part A1
0 0
0 0 H
0 0 0 0 0
4 4 0 2 2 0 0 2 0
2 0 2 2 0 2
3 2 0 0 0

5 D A7 Em

& # j j j
P 2
0 0 2 0
0 0 0 2 0
2 0
0 2
2 j 2
0 2 0
0 2
3 2 0
j j j
9 D Em Em

Part A2

P 0
0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 0 0 2 0
0 2 1 0 2 2 0 2
3 0 0 0

13 D

A7 Em

& # j j
3 2
2 0
0 0 2 2 2 2
2 0 0 2 2
2 3 2 0
j j 0

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
16 B7 Em Em

# #
# Part B1

0 0 0 1
0 2
0 0 2 0 1 0 2 2 2 2
2 0 1 2 3 2 0 2
3 2 0 0 0

20 G A Em

( )


0 0 0 0 2 4 4 4 2 0 0
2 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 2 2
0 1 2 0 0
(0) 0

24 Em B7 Em Em

& #

Part B2

0 0 H P 0
2 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 2 2 2
0 2 2 0 2 1 0 2
3 0 0 0

28 G D


3 3
0 0 0 0 0 2 4 4 2 0
2 0 2 0 SL 0 0 2 0
1 2

31 Am D Em

1 1 1
2 0 0 0 P
0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 2 0 2 1 0
3 0

10 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

instrumental break that youve recorded,
get right back in there and make another

In the
pass at that break using another available
track. Then you can choose between the
two, and sometimes, use parts of both

4) Whenever possible, leave a little space
between segments of the break. This makes
for easier punch-ins, and often a part of a
solo will be a one-of-a-kind hot lick that
by Craig Vance you will definitely want to keep on tape.
Keep in mind that punching in parts can
also eat up lots of time, so do this as
In this article, Id like to share with NINE POUND HAMMER sparingly as possible.
you some important and helpful tips on
preparing to record in a studio. There are KEY OF A (CAPO 2nd FRET IN G) Live Recording
several areas to consider that can be crucial
for saving time and money. We musicians BANJO INTRO Recording live in the studio helps to give
can benefit from the saving of both, since VERSE the recording the live feel and energy
they are some scarce commodities. CHORUS of a live performance. Total separation
FIDDLE SOLO from the other instruments is essential
Selecting a Studio Suitable for You or VERSE to prevent microphone leakage on other
Your Band CHORUS tracks. Separate rooms normally work the
Trying to figure out where to do a decent GUITAR SOLO best. One person will count to the kickoff
recording that fits the cost for a beginning VERSE of the tune, and with each player having
band with a flickering budget, can be CHORUS their tune outline sheet, there should be
frightening. I tend to think of the whole DOBRO SOLO no confusion as to what is happening, and
thing as I would if I were looking for a CHORUS with a stop before When the who gets the next lead. Having that total
place to take my Buick to get it worked wheel wont roll separation also allows each musician to
on. You want a person whos not out to LESTER FLATT G RUNS FOR correct their parts without disturbing the
rip you off, but you also want someone OUTRO. other recorded tracks. For instance, if the
whos capable of opening the hood without mandolin buzzed on three notes, that person
a crowbar. The best way to find someone Something similar to that. Some layouts could go back in and replace their track,
like that would be to ask somebody who will be more complicated than others, leaving the other tracks fully in tact.
has done business with a person of that but just having a sheet for each member Just because the term LIVE RECORD-
nature, and has come away satisfied (and eliminates time-consuming confusion. ING is used, does not necessarily render
not in debtors prison). Since each musician has their own the piece etched in stone.
Pick out a club where a local musician method of chord diagraming (and possibly Be prepared to spend more hours in
has played, and who has also spent a few transposing against a guitar with a CAPO), the studio than you thought. Getting the
good hours in a nearby studio. Offer to buy its best to leave that to each member to desired levels for your headphone mix, and
the person a cup of coffee for a few minutes chart out. the monitor mix for the engineer, all take
of their time, and jot down any information Its ALWAYS a good idea to have your several minutes. You will be surprised how
they can give you; names, numbers, facts live recordings taped by either the sound fast the clock spins when youre in there.
& figures, etc. If you get nowhere that way, man or a fan. You can benefit tremendously It is a major learning experience...and with
call a local radio station that plays your by reviewing these tapes and working out each new venture into a studio you will be
favorites, and tell them exactly what youre the bad bugs before going into the studio. that much wiser, and more confident about
looking for. (Get to know the DJ for future No one wants to sit in the studio and watch your scope of possibilities.
use in publicizing your soon-to-be recorded another trying to figure out their part. Here Another important aspect to keep in mind
material. If your local college campus has are a few other time savers: would be that YOU are not the machine...the
a radio station, that would be a great place machine can only perform one function,
to begin your search, and generally theyre 1) Use one tuner to tune each instrument, whereas you can master many. After the
happy to be of help). since tuners can vary somewhat according material is on tape, the engineers can put
to age and use, and proper calibration. THEIR machines to use to obtain the best
Time Saving Tips 2) If you have changed strings on the quality sound possible.
instrument youre intending to use in the Keep it in Tune!
Before a studio session it is essential studio that day, play it for at least a half
to have a format of the material with the hour before recording. This will help to
vital charts and all applicable information prevent several retunings in the studio.
at hand. Example: 3) If you have certain doubts about an

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Gcdgcdgcdgcd Page
by Dan Huckabee

This issue we are going to learn to play guitar). Next we need to be able to play the starting to take shape. Thats when youll
an easy solo for You Are My Sunshine. chords, which are C, F, and G. The chord experience that chemical reaction that tells
This arrangement is made up of the simple names are written above the melody, so you, Hey, this is Cool!
melody line, with chords fitted in where that you can try to hold the chord down, Although your heroes may play fancier
pauses normally would be. The chord/ as you move through the melody notes. stuff, you may be surprised to know that
melody technique is generally referred to as This means your fingers will be ready they make a blueprint first, just like this
Carter Family Style, and its most famous (in advance) to strum the chords as they simple version of You Are My Sunshine.
example is Wildwood Flower. come up. The adventure to this lesson, is They pick out the simple melody, then
The easiest way to learn anything is a to discover which of the melody notes are they strum the chords, then they put it all
little bit at a time, so try the melody (alone) simply notes in the chord youre holding together, all before they start fitting in those
several times, before putting it together down, and which require you to remove blistering impressive hot licks. In other
with the chords. (In other words, leave part of the chord that youre holding down. words, you gotta get the simple melody and
out the multi-layered notes). By doing (The notes that arent part of the chord chords down first (as a foundation), before
this, youve separated the problem into are called Passing Tones). With a little you start throwing in the hot stuff. So
its component parts. (Divide and conquer practice, youll see the jigsaw puzzle hey, youre not learning a sissy version,
is really true when it comes to learning youre just laying the foundation for your
Monster Solo.
Hold on, Im not letting you off the hook
that easy this month. I want you to take a
plain old song, pick out the melody, find
the chords, and design a Carter Family
Classic complete with melody and strums
mixed together. If you dont succeed the
first time, check out my 10 song book and
cassette called Easy Guitar Solos. Its
got me playing each song slow, fast, and
teaching it phrase by phrase on the tape.
It contains You Are My Sunshine and 9
others. See ya next issue.

We have
Flatpicking Guitar Mag-
T-shirts, Ball Caps, and
Case Stickers Available.

to order

12 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

You Are My Sunshine Arrangement by Dan Huckabee


& 44
# #
0 0 0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 1 1
0 0 0 0 0 0
0 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2
3 3 3


1 1 1 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0
0 2 3 3 2 2


1 1 1 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0
0 2 3 3 2 2 2
3 3


G7 C


0 0 0 1 0 0
1 1 1 0 1 1 1
0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 0 2 3 0 0 2 2 2 2
3 3 3

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Flatpick Rhythm Guitar

0 1 2
0 2 0
by Joe Carr
Two Early Giants of Flatpick Guitar: Riley Puckett and Jimmy Rodgers
Flatpick style acoustic guitar was estab- Recorded Sources: Pucketts original Rodgers recorded a total of twelve Blues
lished early this century with the record- recordings were made on 78s. There were Yodels. Most of these are known by other
ing of country music in the 1920s. As some compilations on lp, but most of these names such as Muleskinner Blues (#8).
phonograph records became more popular, are out of print. Check the big mail order, The following is a transcription of Rodgers
recorded artists influenced musicians far old timey music suppliers (Elderly, County guitar introduction. The licks that walk to
beyond their radio broadcast and touring Sales) for CD reissues. each chord are now staples of flatpicked
areas. rhythm. Pay special attention to the timing
Jimmie Rodgers - of measures 6-8.
Riley Puckett The Singing Brakeman
Sources: Check out Rounders excellent
Riley Puckett was an early influential Jimmie Rodgers has been called the first series of Jimmie Rodgers recordings.
guitarist from Georgia. Accidentally blinded true singing star in country music. Nearly
at the age of three months, Puckett began every major country singer of the 1930s and Next Issue: We will study the great rhythm
a musical career soon after he graduated 40s began their career imitating Rodgers style of IBMA Hall of Famer and bluegrass
from school. His recording career began unique style and his blue yodel. He was born legend, Jimmy Martin.
in 1924 and he was an original member of near Meidian, Mississippi in
the well known Georgia string band - Gid 1897 and during his brief but
Tanner and the Skillet Lickers during the meteoric career (1927-1933)
late 1920s and early 1930s. he sold millions of records
The Skillet Lickers consisted of two fid- including such classics as
dles, banjo and guitar. Pucketts bass/strum Blue Yodel (T for Texas),
style provided much of the drive and all Miss the Mississippi and
of the bottom for the band. The bands You, Waiting for a Train,
many live, radio and recorded performances and Peach Picking Time in
insured that Pucketts style was heard and Georgia.
copied by many players in the 1930s and Rodgers accompanied himself
40s. in live performance and on
Molly Put the Kettle On was recorded many of his recordings on
in 1931 and is in the key of C. After a solo guitar. His strong rhythm and
guitar intro, Puckett builds interest with interesting lead style worked
bass runs on this simple two chord song. well in a solo setting. His influ-
Measures 5-8 feature alternating bass/strum ence on succeeding genera-
type rhythm. In measure 10, a passing note tions of country guitarists can
(Eb) is followed by a strum of only two not be overstated. More than
strings or so. Strum these open strings any other performer, Rodgers
while you are moving your fingers to the is responsible for establishing
G7 chord. Measures 23-16 contains a useful the image of a country singer
rhythm lick and measures 17-20 are a accompanying himself with a
variation of that phrase. To get the most guitar. Rodgers died of tuber-
from this transcription, transpose the licks culosis in 1933 at the age of
to other common keys ~G, A, D) 36. He left a legacy and a
Puckett laid the groundwork for modern legion of imitators including
flatpicking and bluegrass rhythm styles. Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow and
Edd Mayfield (featured in last issue) was Gene Autry. Jimmy Rodgers
one of the many players he influenced.

14 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Riley Puckett - Guitar
Molly Put The Kettle On Transcribed by Joe Carr
Intro C


& 44

0 2 0 0 2 0 0
3 2 0 0 2 0 3 2 0 0 2
3 3 2 0 3 2 3 3

5 C G7 C


2 3
2 2 3

3 3

9 C G7 C

& # n

2 1
0 0 2 3

3 3

13 C G7 C


0 2
2 0 0 2
2 0

17 C G C


0 2 0 2
2 0

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Blue Yodel No. 8 - Muleskinner Blues Jimmy Rodgers
Transcribed by Joe Carr



&4 j

0 0 0 1 0 0
2 0
0 2 3 3 3 0 2 3 3 2 1
3 3 3 3
j D7 G7 C

G7 C


j j .. j

5 5 3 1 1 0 1 0
2 2 2 2 0 1 0 1
2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0
2 2 2 0
j 3
0 1 2
0 0
j 3
0 2 3
0 2

j j j


423/ 983-5533

16 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Flatpicking &

There may come a time in our musical Now Im sure weve all played a million
meanderings when we imagine that a flat- sus chords; what you may not have toyed
picked-style solo would be just dandy in a with is the idea of extending that tension by
folk or acoustic rock setting. Rather than apreggiating the chord that is implied by the
trying to dispense a specific series of notes raised 4th tone. Take the afore mentioned same volume, not thinking enough about
or runs it might prove more helpful to talk Dsus chord for example; the raised 4th dynamics? Always look for a place where
about a couple of filters that can be used would be a G note. Arpeggiate the notes of you can bring dynamics into create tension
when thinking about note selection. In my a G major chord over a D pedal tone then and release. Let your playing ebb and
first column I talked about some of the let is resolve into a Dmajor arpeggio (see flow in volume like the natural cycles and
general parameters of solid soloing. Now example A below). rhythms of life, instead of staying at a
lets delve into some specific things you Work up and down the neck in this static level, a slave to technique or speed.
can experiment with when your solo is in fashion using all the different positions that A fast passage played quietly can draw
the under construction phase. Granted, you know for G and D. You can substitute the listener in, make them lean in and pay
sometimes its great to just let the notes an A chord as the tonic and work D arpeg- attention.
fly where they will. When the spirit of gios resolving back to A. Or C arpeggios Utilize these two concepts both separately
the great solo gods shines upon us, an resolving to G. Once you get used to and together, with either already existing
improvised, inspired lead break can elevate hearing how this change sounds, you can solos or those in the process of creation.
us to places where mere mortals seldom start working it into solos whenever you Tension and release and dynamics can be
tread. On the other hand, the solo gods have want. powerful tools in the shaping of the kind of
to be in a lot of places at once, especially My solo in the RST song La Strata solos youve always wanted to play. Good
on weekends, so a rehearsed solo with the illustrates this concept in action (example luck, and until next issue, good pickin!.
basic elements pre-planned and in place can B on the next page). I always look forward
be a very comforting backup indeed. to this fun, fast little solo, especially the About the Author: John Tindel plays guitar
and piano in the Santa Cruz, California-based
With that in mind, lets start with the hammer-on descending line down the
trio RST. He plays Martin guitars, or any other
concept of Tension & Release. This basic strings with the 7th fret harmonics at the
ones he can get his hands on. He also enjoys
yet important principle can be found in end. The first phrase is played with the first subjecting the unsuspecting world to his views
many diverse styles of music through out finger bridging the E and B strings on the on guitar playing and Life in general. Come
the world and can and should be used to 10th fret, reaching up to the 14th fret with visit down by the old Web Site for more on
good effect as part of the savvy soloists the pinky finger. To hear the solo, call John or RST.
arsenal. our RST hotline at (408) 685-3736 for a
Every time you hit a Dsus chord (see recorded snippet of the song, or get the
chord chart shown at right), youre tapping CD How Do We Get There? (Box 1793 D Dsus4
into the power of tension and release. Aptos, CA 95011 or lennox@cruzio.com).
The feeling of tension is created by the As you play this solo, listen for the places
dissonance of the 4th tone buzzing against where the sus chord tension and release
the 1 and 5 tones. The release is achieved concept is utilized, there are a few.
when the original 1-3-5 triad is restored Concept Two: Dynamics. How many
in all its pristine glory (if your B-string times have you looked down and realized
isnt out, that is!). that youve been playing everything the

Example A:

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Example B: Solo from La Strada

# # 4

& 4

14 10 12 10 14 10 12 10 12 10 10 10 10
10 10 10 10 12 10
11 12 12 11


D 3 3


3 3
P harmonics
9 7 5 3 3 3 2 0 P
3 2 0 P 7
11 9 9 7 7 6 6 4 4 2 0 7
4 2 0 7

18 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Gallagher Guitars By JOHN CALLOW

Okay, raise your hands. How many of He was used to making fine furniture and
you are flatpickers because of Doc Watson? those guitars offended his sensibilities.
Bunch of you, I bet. And how many of you
know about Gallagher guitars because Doc So when and how did the first Gallagher
plays one? Its all right to fess up, because guitar happen?
some of the greatest flatpickers at work He came back over here in the spring of
today will answer the same ways. Yet in 1965 and built No. 1, the first G-50. The
many respects Don Gallagher, the & Son G is for Gallagher and 50 because my
of J.W. Gallagher & Son, Wartrace, Tenn., dad was 50 when we built it. The interesting
is a mystery man and his guitars a well kept thing, though, is we were approaching it
secret. After 30-plus years of turning out from a woodworking standpoint. We had
some of the finest instruments in the world, no more idea about Martins or Gibsons
the secrets are about to be told. The first or anything. For example in the first year
secret is that Don Gallagher is very much or so, we made about a half-dozen D-17s
alive and well and still turning out great with the Shelby body and the G-50 neck.
guitars. He is, characteristically, modest yet The D was for Don and the 17 because
proud of his instruments. were building I was 17 when we made the first ones. We
potential, he says. But the realization stopped making the D-17 when we found
is whose hands it falls into. Theres no out Martin had a model D-18.
substitute for playing. Despite carrying a
low profile for many years, Don Gallagher But a Martin catalog figured in a feature
and his instruments are finally winning the which is distinctive to Gallagher.
recognition they have deserved virtually I wasnt really happy with the pick guard
from the first guitar in 1965. on the original G-50. In fact when I took
he came over here and talked to my father it off to college, I took the pickguard off
How did you and your dad get started about setting up a production line. That of it. But we were sitting at the table
making guitars? was in the spring of 1963. one morning and I had a Martin catalog. I
My father started making furniture in sketched an alternative shape on a picture
1939. In the 50s he worked at the Arnold So his first guitars werent Gallaghers? in the book and my dad liked it. Were still
Engineering and Development Center at No, they were Shelbys. After he got the using the shape and weve still got that
Tullahoma, Tenn., making scale models for line set up, my first job was to apply the catalog in the archives.
the wind tunnel down there. Early in the lacquer finish and teach the guys on the
60s we were building a building outback line how to do it. Weve got a Shelby I How do those early Gallaghers compare
behind the shop here in Wartrace for a dry made while I was working over there in with what youre producing now?
kiln he was still making furniture on the the summer before my junior year in high From 1965 to 1970 there were quite a few
side and we were poring concrete for a school on display here in the shop. changes, particularly in bracing patterns.
slab roof. A scaffold broke and my father Those guitars are distinctively different.
broke his ankle and had to quit his job at Theres something vaguely familiar From then to now there has been a constant
the AEDC. He got into guitars because about that guitar. progression.
of the folk music boom of the early 60s Youre talking about the headstock. The first
and the demand for guitars it created. The Shelby headstocks had the French curve at What was Doc Watsons first Gallagher,
Slingerland Drum Company had a plant in the top thats become our trademark. My the one he called Ole Hoss and played
Shelbyville (about 10 miles from Wartrace) grandmother had a paisley dress and she on the Will the Circle Be Unbroken
where they manufactured drum sticks and came in here one day wearing it. There album?
drum heads. The company had some extra was a design in that dress that inspired That guitar is a G-50 we finished in the
capacity in the plant so decided they wanted the headstock. We were playing around spring of 1968. It was the first guitar we
to use it to make guitars. The plant manager with different ideas. We were looking for started in 1968 and it has the serial number
was an expert in machine operations, but something distinctive, easily recognizable, 68001. I was making the bodies then. We
didnt have any experience in woodwork- yet conservative and tasteful. The Shelbys took it over to a fiddlers convention at
ing. He knew my father from the car club were a plywood guitar aiming at a student Union Grove, N.C. around Easter. Daddy
and knew he was into woodworking, so market. That ran against my fathers grain. said we werent going to sell it. Id cracked
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
the side and Daddy fixed it. Doc and Merle waste of a mighty fine guitar. mentioned earlier the one my father
were playing under a tree. Dad introduced broke his ankle building? thats where
himself to Merle. We stopped at their home Lets go back to some of those differ- we store our wood and age it. Some of the
on the way out of town and Dad took out the ences. What about sound? wood in there is more than 10-years-old.
guitar to show Doc. We had several guitars, Back in 65 to 70 we were playing around We buy from several mills, one in Germany,
including a rosewood G-70, but Doc said he a lot with bracing. We made a lot of changes one in Oregon and one down in Louisiana.
liked the sound of the mahogany guitar. He in the tops, but weve made changes to the I try to stay backlogged for several years.
made a comment that it had a real ivory nut. tops in the last years. Another difference I also try to take advantage of good buying
He could tell by how smooth it sounded. is in the back. Its slightly arched which situations. For instance I bought rosewood
Dad mentioned the crack to Doc. Shucks, means the sound projects better back toward in the 80s when Gibson closed the Kal-
son, he said. I cant see it anyhow. Dad the top. Thats something weve become amazoo plant. Good wood at reasonable
told Doc he could use it with no strings more sensitive to in recent years. I love prices help us keep our prices reasonable.
attached except the ones on the guitar. He angles and Im always looking at how
just asked Doc to return it if he ever decided angles affect the sound. Within the last year You talked about the woodworking
not to play it anymore. I have become more sensitive to the angle aspect earlier.
of the strings breaking over the saddle. Building a guitar is still basically a wood-
So how did the Gallagher Doc Watson After the body is together, fitting the neck is working project. All the fancy inlays are
model happen? crucial. Thats the beginning of the action. nice, but in our progression woodworking
In 1974 Doc contacted us to build a new The neck angle and the angle of the strings comes first, then the sound. The last thing
guitar. Merle brought a Les Paul Gibson, on the saddle can have a profound affect in the progression is embellishments.
an electric, over for us to look at. Doc liked on sound. Years ago I noticed a little bow
the neck 1 3/4 inches wide instead of the 1 back in the neck to pull the strings off the Has the sound changed over 30-plus
11/16 inches on the G-50. You can feel the sound board sounded better. Now we set years? In terms of sound, the guitars have
difference, much more than you can see it. the neck angle and the height of the bridge evolved because of what people came to
We made him a new guitar. We stayed with so when we put the saddle in there will us wanting. The sound has been adjusted
Honduras mahogany and dressed it up a be a sharp angle. What were trying to do through the input of people like Doc and
little. (In the mid-70s we started changing to utilize the pull of the strings for maximum other musicians and our own ear. Even with
African mahogany. Its a little harder wood effect. those changes, though, our guitars have a
with better projection and real character distinctive characteristic sound and thats
in the grain.) When we finished the new What about wood? I have one of those not an accident. Historically the guitar was
guitar, he sent the old G-50 to the shop. early Gallaghers and it took 10 years a rhythm instrument with a booming bass
Diane Johnson, who was with the Country to get the sound some of these guitars to back up a fiddle. In the mid-60s the
Music Hall of Fame then saw the guitar coming out of the shop today already steel string acoustic was just beginning to
and said it was something they needed for have. The wood in a 1968 Gallagher might come into its own which brought a different
their collection. My father said it was fine have been six months old. One of the demand balance across the ranges.
with him if it was all right with Doc. Doc advantages of surviving 30 years is building From the beginning our guitar was built to
said he guessed it was okay, but it was a an inventory of wood. That building I accommodate what has become flatpicking.
One reason our mahogany guitar has always
been so popular is because of its clear note
definition. Rosewood has a bassier sound.
I wonder what some of these guitars are
going to sound like in 20 years. I know
the new ones are better now than the 1968
model was in 1968.

Would your dad recognize todays prod-

uct? Id have to explain a lot. Theres the
guitar. Then there are the nuances. Thats
where the real changes have come. The
shop itself is virtually the same as when he
died in 1979. He set a goal in 1965 to do it
for 10 years. In 1975 when we were within
the 800s in serial numbers, he pretty much
was no longer active on a day-to-day basis.
He really retired when we did No. 1,000
sometime in 1976. Something he would
recognize is the way we build the guitars.
The structure weve always had is a small
shop concept, three or four people work-
J.W. Gallagher circa 1969
20 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
ing on the instruments with one person
overseeing the operation. Most of the
guitars in the 1960s I made the bodies,
Robert Reed made the necks and my dad
did the finish work and supervised.

You built #1000 in 1976. Where does

output stand 20 years later?
Were getting close to #2400. Weve worked
on a low profile with minimal advertising.
Our focus has been to make guitars on
a limited basis geared to the individual.
Weve relied on one guitar selling another.
On one hand were not as well known as
some of the other manufacturers, but in
certain circles, were very well known. We
get inquiries from all over the world and
ship guitars all over the world. One day
last week, we sent out four guitars, one to
Japan, one to Germany, one to Ohio and
another to Oklahoma.
Don Gallagher holds a guitar which was built by three generations of
What about plans for the future? Gallaghers, J.W., Don, and Dons son, Wesley
Wartrace is really a laid back place, but even
so, we have some really neat things coming party in Wartrace which Doc headlined.
up. Last summer we did the prototype for We had an open house at the shop and
a new guitar body were calling the Grand then during the concert, we took a birthday
Auditorium. Im really excited about it picture with Doc and myself and all the
because Ive incorporated some of those Gallagher owners together. It was great.
neck angle theories we talked about earlier. Were doing the birthday party again in
We showed it at the Chet Atkins Apprecia- May of 1997 but it will be a two day affair
tion Society and it really got people this time. Doc will headline Saturday and
excited. The prototype was built using Claire Lynch and the Front Porch String
some walnut I found up in the attic that Band are headlining Friday. Claire plays
dad squirreled away probably 40 years ago. a Gallagher. All the guitar players on
Steve Kaufman and I have been working the show, from Steve Kaufman and Chris
together for the last year to develop what Jones, to the people wholl get a chance
we hope will be the Steve Kaufman to perform during our open mike segment
signature model. Were still working out the will be playing Gallaghers. The last thing
details on this one, but Im hoping to have Ill mention is our newsletter. We got the
a prototype to take to the winter NAMM first one in the mail just before we went
show in January. The reasons were doing to Winfield in September and we expect to
the NAMM show is part of a new marketing have a second one ready by the end of the
strategy we adopted last spring. Were year. Were trying to get it out to everyone
adding a very select number of dealers. who plays a Gallagher, whether you bought
Well still be working direct on custom it new or used, from us or from a shop. If
orders, but we all know a lot of guitars youre a Gallagher owner or enthusiast and
find new homes because someone likes the didnt get the first one, drop us a line in
sound when they play it in a music store. Wartrace with your address.
Were targeting areas where we havent
had a strong direct presence. J. W. Gallagher & Son
7 Main Street
Does this mean the famous Gallagher P.O. Box 128
attention to individuals is history? Wartrace, TN 37183
Not at all. We just want to enlarge the (615) 389-6455
family. Ive had a lot of people who play our Are you reading someone elses copy
guitars tell me theres kind of a brotherhood of Flatpicking Guitar?
of Gallagher players. I hope so. Last year Call 800-413-8296 to subscribe.
for the 30th anniversary we had a birthday Well send you one of your own.

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Right Hand
In the last issue of Flatpicking Guitar, The Grip
we provided an introduction to Steve I hold my pick with my thumb and index
Kaufmans instructional method and prom- finger forming a cross shape on either side (see photo above). I am not pushing it flat
ised that there would be more to come. of the pick (see photo below). against the string, I have it tilted at this
In this article we provide you with some 20 degree angle so this, in effect, makes
excerpts transcribed from a seminar Steve it a stiffer pick. The down swing and the
gave in Santa Cruz, California, last July. upswing are basically on the same angle.
We have selected some of Steves words You will shave off the bottom of the left
which specifically pertain to the use of the edge and the top of the right edge. If you
right hand in flatpicking. Following the are crashing at the same place in a song, it
excerpts, Steve presents a tab of Devils is usually due to a mechanical error in the
Dream and explains how you can utilize right hand. It is either getting stuck on an
this tab in an exercise to work on your right upswing because it is not driving through
hand technique. with enough force, or youve hit two downs
or two ups in a row where they should be
The Pick The Attack straight down-ups. When I practice, I play
I use a medium gauge (73 mm) pick When Im playing, I use a real wide very slowly with a very wide over-swing.
made out of delrin (TM) material. It gives swing and sink about a half inch of pick I start about two inches from the target and
me a lot of flexibility in the tone that I want into those strings (see photo below). If move through and past the target about two
to get. The pick makes a big difference in I dont have some momentum to drive inches. Of course, as you speed up, this
the tone. A medium pick is bright. People through that string, Im going to get stuck. distance gets smaller and smaller.
make the mistake of thinking that a heavy For those of you who get stuck on your up-
pick is louder, but there is no difference in swings, that could be a big part of it. You The Hand Position
volume. But what happens is that by using have to build the right hand up so that you I let my little finger glide on the top and
a heavy pick you loose your highs. This can hit the strings with momentum. that is the only part of my hand that touches
is the treble all the way across all of the I come from way out about an inch and a the top. I dont rest on the bridge or the
strings. Not just in the treble strings. When half or two inches from my target and drive bridge pins. My little finger does not stay
your highs get cut off you loose a little bit through the target, as if it wasnt there, by in one place, it is going to glide along the
of the brightness that a medium pick will letting the weight of my hand drop down. top. If it stays in one place it is what we
give you. You will get a woodier tone Then I come back about the same amount would call an anchor and you dont want
with a thick pick, but to me the medium on the upswing. That means that I really to anchor if you playing with my style of
pick is clearer. It all depends on what didnt use any muscle, which means I am attack. If you anchor the little finger in one
you like. not going to get tired. This wide swing spot and you move your wrist around a lot,
I am a jammer from way back and so works at a slow speed and the faster you that means that you are actually pivoting
what I need to do is to be heard in a jam play the narrower the swing arc will be around the point of that anchor and you
session, or else be ignored. To me it is but you will keep the momentum and play dont want that to happen. What you want to
more fun to be heard than ignored. The with drive. try and do is have that little finger touching
medium pick is going to give you more of The other thing I do in my attack, is the top, but have it glide along the top as
a bite or a cut. roll my pick forward at an angle so that I your wrist moves.
The reason I use the medium gauge get about a twenty degree forward angle.
picks made out of the delrin (TM) material That is going to really make that medium The Pick Direction
versus a plastic Fender type medium gauge gauge pick have the feel of a heavy pick My instructional rule is that for eighth
is that with the momentum I use in my right notes, the pick direction always alternates.
hand, Id break one of those plastic picks If you had a string of eighth notes, the first
in about three or four songs. They dont one is down, the next one is up, the next
last me. When I play, I sink the pick into one is down, etc. Or you can say that in 4/4
the strings about a half inch and I drive time, the numbered notes are your downs
through the string with a lot of momentum. and your ands are your ups. If you always
If I use a really heavy pick, it would get do it that way, then your quarter notes are
stuck at the string and I wouldnt be able to always going to be played with a down
drive through it at a high rate of speed. The stroke. They are down beats, so it is natural
heavy picks make me work too hard. to make them down swings with the pick.

22 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

You have more power on the down swing. is going to hit. inches from the targeted string and swing
It makes things real simple. If you always through the string and past about 2 inches.
follow this rule, you will never have to Devils Dream You can only do this if you are playing
sit down and try to work out your pick The reason I like to use this tune in my slowly. Practice this technique with any
direction. To me, the right hand is workshops and clinics is because of its song that you have memorized but at about
the metronome. If you follow the simple repetition. If the melody of a song is easy 60-70 beats per minute. Be sure to hit all
down-up rule you can keep your right hand to recognize, you will be able to hum notes solid and as if you really mean to
clicking along like a metronome, and it it quicker. Therefor be able to play the hit them.
works out very well that way. You will be melody faster and concentrate more on the Note: This version of Devils Dream is
able to play through the most complicated, technique rather than the melody (which adapted from the book Mel Bays Complete
syncopated passages if you stop to work we will get back to after the technique Flatpicking Guitar Book by Steve Kaufman.
on your count 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + . You wrist is solid). Mel Bay Publications, Inc.#4 Industrial
is going to go down up all the time. Your Practice playing this tune with a very Dr., Pacific, MO 63069-0066. Used by
mind just chooses which notes your hand wide picking hand swing. Start about 2 Permission.

Adapted from Mel Bays Complete Flatpicking Devils Dream Arranged by Steve Kaufman
Guitar Book by Steve Kaufman

### 4
1 Part A A


& 4 :

0 2 4 5 4 5 0 5 4 5 0 5 4 5 0 2 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 5 4 2 0
3 2 3 3 3
: 4 4 4

# # D
# A E7 A

& :

5 4 5 0 5 4 5 0 5 4 5 0 2 0 2 0 0 0
3 2 3 3 2 3 2 0 3 2 0
2 :

Part B

# # # A
10 Bm E7


0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 5 4 2 0
2 2 2 3 2 3 3 3
: 2 2 2 4 4 4

1. 2.

14 A A A E7 A

D E7

& :

0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 0
2 2 2 3 2 3 3 2 3 2 0 3 2 0 0 3 2 0
2 2 2 2 : 2

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
by Brad Davis

What would flatpicking be if, the greats, My ultimate goal as a young flatpicker was titled "Black Mountain Rag". Hopefully
had just copied everyone else? I have to successfully mimic my heros and then most of you know this song well enough
some pickers ask me how many techniques later develope my very own technique that to have played the original melody. My
should a picker use to form a style? I would set me apart from all the other version of this song is written with d-d-
respond by saying, "most well rounded players. The double-down-up technique ups, although both d-up-d and d-d-up
flatpickers know how to crosspick and has given me that original identifiable techniques are combined together, this
(traditional) flatpick." I would not be the edge. The pattern alone creates a very version will show you that using more than
player I am today if it weren't for the distinct sound, not to mention the notes one technique can be very effective.
techniques of Clarence White, Norman and scales that evolve from this new NOTE - Below each measure the finger
Blake, Tony Rice and Dan Crary just to technique. In the examples below you'll positioning is the white type in the black
name a few. find d-d-up licks in two different keys, box. The O's represent no finger. Thanks
and a traditional bluegrass instrumental for the input fellow flatpickers.

Double-down-up licks
(Ex.1- key of G) P

1 3 1 3 1
2 3 3 1 2 1 2 1
3 3 3 3 0 0 3 0 3 2 0 0
4 5 3 5 5 3 0
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
3 1 3 3 1 3 1 3 2 1 3 2 1 3 0 3 1 3 0 1 5 x 2 1 0 3 0 0

(Ex.2 - key of C)
1 0 3 1 0 1 0
2 0 3 1 3 3 3 1 1
3 0 2 0 2 4
4 0 2 0 1 2 3
5 0 2 3 2 3 3
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
0 2 3 2 3 0 2 3 0 1 2 0 2 3 0 2 0 3 1 3 0 3 1 0 3 1 0 3 1 4 1


Black Mountain Rag
Key of (G)-line 1 FINGER POSITIONS
(G) Part one
1 3
2 3 3 3 0 5 3 5 3 0 0 5 3 5 3 0
3 0 0 0 0 2 4 4 4 4
4 4 5 5 4 5 5
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
3 3 0 1 3 3 3 0 1 3 0 1 3 0 3 2 1 3 1 0 2 0 3 2 1 3 1 0

24 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Black Mountain Rag Con't.
(G)-line 2 P P (G)
1 0 2
2 3 5 3 0 3 0 0 5 3 5 3 0 0 5 3
3 4 4 2 0 0 0 2 4 4 4 4
4 2 0
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
1 3 1 0 2 1 0 3 2 0 3 0 0 0 1 3 0 3 2 1 3 1 0 2 0 3 2 1 0 1
(G)-line 3 P P (G)-Part two
1 3 0 2 0
2 3 3 0 0 3 3 5 3 0
3 4 2 0 0 0 2 4 0 4 2 0
4 2 0 0
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
2 0 2 1 0 2 0 3 2 0 3 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 2 0 1 3 1 0 3 1 0
(G)-line 4 P H (G)
2 0 3 3 5 3 0
3 5 4 0 4 0 4 2 0 0 0 2 4 0 4 2 0
4 7 5 2 0
5 2 3
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
2 1 4 0 1 2 0 3 1 0 1 0 0 1/2 0 1 3 0 2 0 1 3 1 0 3 1 0
(G)-line 5 (G)-Part three
3 5 4 0 4 0 5 0 2 0
4 7 5 3 3
5 0 2 0 3 2 0 2 0 0 2
6 0 2 3 2 3 3 3 3
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
2 1 4 0 1 2 0 3 1 0 1 2 0 0 1 2 1 2 0 1 2 0 2 1 0 2 1 0 2 0 1

(C)-line 6 (G)
2 3 1 0 3 1 0 1 0
3 0 2 5 2 2 0 0 4 2 0
4 0 2 0 1 2 5 4
5 3 2 3 3
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
2 1 2 0 1 2 0 1 2 0 1 4 4 3 1 0 3 1 0 2 1 0 2 0 3 0 3 1 0

(D)-line 7 P (G)
2 7 10 8 7 0
3 2 0 0 4 0 9 7 9 9
4 4 4 2 0 4 2 0 0 0 4 5 4 5 5
5 4 2 0
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
3 1 0 3 1 3 0 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 1 2 0 2 1 0 3 1 3 1 4 2 1 3 0

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Black Mountain Rag Con't.
(C)-line 8 (G) P

2 6 0 5 4 3 4 3
3 7 5 5 2 5 0 2 3 2 0 2 0 0 4
4 5 3 3 0 3 0 0 4
5 3 3 0
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
1 2 0 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 1 4 4 0 1 2 1 0 2 1 0 2 0 3 3 0 3 0 0 3 0 3

(G)-line 9 P H The End

2 To order the companion audio cassette send check or
3 2 0 0
4 0
money order for $5.00 to(outside U.S. add $2.00):
2 0
5 1 2 bdm Publishing - P.O.Box 890
6 3 Madison, Tn 37116
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
1 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 3

About the author: Brad Davis has many years of experience as an acclaimed bluegrass and country guitarist. With several albums to his credit, Brad's most
widely heard guitar work is on Marty Stuart's gold record "This Ones Gonna Hurt You" and on Marty's most recent album "Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best."
Brad Debuted his patented "Brad Bender," the string bender for acoustic guitars, and the unique style it offers, on countless national television shows with the
Sweethearts of the Rodeo - bluegrass band. In addition to currently touring with Marty Stuart, Brad also spent several years on the road with the Forester Sisters.
Songwriting, record production, and the production of instructional material for the guitar are also wedged into his tight schedule. Brad's up and coming projects
include an instrumental album of twelve original flatpicking tunes titled "Climbin' Cole Hill," and an album titled "No Gold On The Highway" with his new
acoustic band "wHITE wATER" both of these projects on Raisin' Cain Records. He is also working on a sixty page flatpicking instructional book titled " The
Acoustic Speed Picking Blue Book featuring his "Double-Down-Up" speed picking technique.

26 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Break Time
by Chris Jones Example 1

# 4 j

& 4
When preparing to play a break to a song, whether improvising one
on the spot (with band members staring at you, waiting to be dazzled), or S
putting one together for future use, you need a place to start. 0 0 0 2 4
In my previous column, I touched on the idea of centering breaks on
the melody of the song as opposed to stringing licks together. In order j 0 0 0 2

to do this, it follows that you need to be able to hear what the melody
is, get an idea of the melodic direction of the song, then find that for Example 2
yourself on the guitar. Well get into this topic in depth in future issues,
# 4

but for now were going to focus on how the melody of a given song
starts, and how to use that knowledge to kick off a break.
Every song has a first strong note and unless its a really strange
& 4
song its going to be on the one, three or five of the chord thats being
played. For example, in Your Love Is Like A Flower (see tablature), S
the songs first emphasized note is a B note against a G chord ( if youre
playing it in the key of G, or in G position with your capo in the fret 0
2 0 2
2 4
position of your choice). If youre familiar with the lyrics, its the note
of the word long from It was LONG long ago.... The B note in this
case would be the third (with G being one and D being five). This means
that when you kick off the break, you are going to want your intro notes Example 3

# 4

to lead you to that B note. This is by no means a rule of bluegrass guitar
playing, but if you kick off Your Love Is Like A Flower and your intro
notes take you to the first note of Rocky Top, you should have a good & 4
creative reason (besides being mad at the banjo player).
It is then up to you to determine how to get to that note. One way is
to simply lead up to it the way the song itself does ( i.e. play the notes
of It was..., a D and a G). However, most experienced flatpickers
will want to come up with something a little more exciting than this.
3 1
3 4 0

Another idea is to base your lead in to the B note on the D and G that I
just referred to (this is what I did in example # 1). Or, you can use some
other intro lick that works for you. If you really want to be unique, you No Mother or Dad
can leave out the intro notes entirely and just come in on the strong B
note. This works well in blues, but in bluegrass, people usually just think # 4 j

you forgot it was your turn to play. & 4

Below are three examples of kick-offs to Your Love Is Like A
Flower, with one kick-off to another bluegrass standard, No Mother Or

Dad, which has a one of the chord (G in this case) as its first strong H
or emphasized note. Each example ends with the first emphasized note;
after that you're on your own. I hope this will give you some ideas for
0 0 2
0 0 0
getting a break started out in the right direction.
j 2 3

About the Author: Bluegrass Veteran, Chris Jones, currently fronts an exciting new band Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, featuring great new
material, some of bluegrasss finest instrumentalists and tight harmony vocals led by Chriss traditional, country flavored lead singing. Chris is known
most recently for his work with The Lynn Morris Band and with Weary Hearts with whom he recorded the critically acclaimed By Heart album for Flying
Fish Records. In addition, Chris has toured and recorded with groups as diverse as Chicagos Special Consensus and Warner Brothers Country hitmakers
The McCarters. He has also performed on the Grand Ole Opry with Laurie Lewis, Lynn Morris and the Whitstein Brothers.
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Masters of Rhythm Guitar

Photo: Trisha Tubbs

Blue Highways

Tim Stafford
Welcome to Flatpicking Guitars new to the band, and then they looked at Tim
feature column on rhythm guitar. In each and said, Now what are you going to
issue we intend to highlight flatpick rhythm play? Tim said, I guess Ill play guitar.
guitar playing by presenting an interview Although he had never played guitar before,
which focuses on the rhythm techniques of Tim states, I knew that three of the strings
some of todays living legends. This is not on the guitar were like the banjo, so I just
to say that many of the artists highlighted went from there.
here are not hot lead players, nor is it to say Tim never had anyone teach him how
that the players highlighted elsewhere in to hold chords or play leads on either the
the magazine are not great rhythm players. banjo or guitar. He has totally taught Tim Stafford of Blue Highway
The artists we will highlight in this column himself by ear from the very beginning. was a beginner I tended to look at rhythm
are those who are currently playing in He says, The first person that ever showed playing as something I was doing in-
bands which predominantly feature vocal me a chord was David Grier and that was between breaks. A lot of flatpickers make
music and thus these players will talk about just a few years ago at Owensboro. He this mistake. If you look at it in a bluegrass
how their guitar is utilized in the band showed me one of these funny chords that context, you are probably going to be
setting to help embellish and highlight he makes, and he was the first person that playing rhythm 75 to 90 percent of the
the singers and other instrumentalists in ever did that. Tim continues by saying, time. You have to do things that are going
the band. In this, the first appearance of Im still needing a teacher real bad if to make the band sound good. It suddenly
this column, we are proud to present Tim anybodys interested. clicked into my mind that I could do some
Stafford, one of the finest rhythm players Although none of the bluegrass record- things as a rhythm guitar player that could
in bluegrass music. Through his work with ings that he had been exposed to at that totally change the sound of the band. It
bands such as, The Boys in the Band, Dusty point in his life featured lead guitar playing, was at that point that I began to enjoy
Miller, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Tim says that he has played lead guitar concentrating on the rhythm playing more
and most recently, Blue Highway, Tim has from the very beginning. He states, I than on a contest style flashy kind of
gained a reputation as being one of todays thought that I had discovered this new way flatpicking. As a guitar player in a band,
top bluegrass guitarists. of playing guitar. I did not realize that there you have a real big job and need to think
was such a thing as lead flatpick playing. about what you are doing every second of
Tim Stafford began his musical career Later, I heard a Bluegrass Alliance record the song, not just when you are playing
playing the banjo when he was in high with Dan Crary on it and that just blew lead.
school. Tim explains that his first real me away. Up to that point, Tims lead Tim stayed with The Boys in the Band
exposure to bluegrass music occurred as a guitar playing had been based on material from 1980 through 1984 and then moved
freshman in high school when he walked that he had transferred over from his banjo to Ohio to attend graduate school. In 1986,
into his concert choir class and heard some playing. Chromatic style banjo was the he returned to Tennessee and rejoined the
guys playing mandolin and guitar. He craze back in those days and so in order to group for a couple more years. When
says, I thought it was the greatest music I teach himself lead guitar, he simply tried to he left The Boys in the Band, he had the
had ever heard. I wanted to pick with these transfer the sound of his chromatic banjo opportunity to play in a band called Dusty
guys at school and so I needed to learn runs onto the guitar. After hearing Crary Miller, which stayed together for two years.
how to play something that they didnt play, Tim said he entered a Dan Crary Tim said that Alison Krauss was a fan of
have, which was a banjo. I talked my Dad phase and tried to learn a lot of the songs that band, but had first heard him play with
into getting me a cheap banjo and I tried off of Crarys albums, Ladys Fancy being The Boys in the Band at the SPBGMA
to teach myself how to play by listening his favorite. contest in Nashville. She had called him
to records. Similarly, Tims transition to Shortly after Tim discovered Dan Crary, a few weeks later and asked if he would
the guitar came about due to the needs of a he began playing with a group called The be interested in joining Union Station. He
band. Tim explains that about three years Boys in the Band and once again began couldnt do it at the time, but he says that
after he had first started learning how to concentrating on playing in a band context. when he finally was able to join Union
play banjo, he was playing banjo in a small He said that it was at this point (early Station, the timing was just right because
band when they all met a really good banjo 1980s) that he started really seriously two of his bandmates from Dusty Miller,
player from Bluff City who wanted to be thinking about his back-up and rhythm Adam Steffey and Bill Bales, joined Union
in the band. The band members agreed playing. The emphasis on rhythm playing Station at the same time.
that this guy would be a great addition has lasted to this day. Tim says, When I
28 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Tim stayed with Alison Krauss for two make them sound better. But you also have the banjo and dobro breaks, just some short
years and says that he would probably still to listen to yourself and you have to keep phrases every now and then. Ive heard
be with her today except that after his son steady time. If you listen too much to the Tony Rice do the same thing on occasion.
Daniel was born in January of 1992, he other players you might get out of time. If I think that if you listen to Tony Rices
felt that the busy road schedule took him you listen too much to yourself, you might back up you will hear that his rhythm style
away from his family too often. At that stay in time, but it is not going to sound was influenced by J. D. Crowes banjo
time he had fully intended to quit playing distinctive, it is going to be too boring, playing.
all together, but then found out that he just and it is not going to add to the sound In the band context, Ill just try different
could not give it up. Tim says, I dont of the band. It is a complicated thing to things. I work with each instrument when
know what it is about this music. It could balance. we practice and Ill try it a different way
probably be compared to a virus. It gets each time and figure out what sounds best.
in your blood and you cant get it out. In When you are playing with a band, There are a million different rhythm things
order to get his bluegrass fix, Tim had are there different things you would that you can do. I wish I was sophisticated
intended to get some friends together and do in your rhythm playing behind say enough musically to tell you exactly what
just play at the house occasionally. That a mandolin versus a banjo, dobro, or it is, but I cant. I can hear it and feel it,
was about two years ago and, as Tim says, fiddle? but I cant really describe it.
things just snowballed. What started out Absolutely. Your goal as the guitar player In our band, we try to play to the song.
as a few friends getting together to pick on in a band is to make the band sound good. If we feel like a song needs something and
weekends has turned into Blue Highway, For instance, when the mandolin takes a would sound good a certain way, we will
voted 1996 IBMA Emerging Artist of break, that percussive, off-beat chop stops. do it. Certain songs are going to dictate
the Year and winner of the IBMA 1996 That mandolin chop is like the snare drum certain things. For instance, when I was
Album of the Year with their first release of a bluegrass band, and you cant have working with Alison Krauss and we worked
Its A Long, Long Road. that drummer just stop. So what I would up the Sidney Cox song Last Love Letter
While Tim Stafford is a very talented usually do during the mandolin break is I found that I could not play a strum rhythm
lead guitarist, the focus of his guitar playing pick up the off-beat chop by accenting to that song, so I ended up rolling all the
is not in trying to showcase his flatpicking the off-beat on the guitar. In our current way through it. The whole thing is a rolling
talent, but in making the band sound good. band, we have the dobro also accenting style back-up. When we did New Fool,
Tim says, We only put guitar breaks in the that off-beat, so I dont have to do it as which is more of a country type song, I
songs where we think they will fit. I will much now. found that I needed to do more of a heavy
never lobby for a guitar break. If the song Things that sound really good behind type off beat. So, the song usually dictates
would sound good with a guitar break, then the banjo are things that accent the banjo what happens.
I will take one. However, it doesnt bother roll. If you have somebody that does some
me if I dont get to take a break. I enjoy real syncopated things on the banjo, then Did the rhythm style you used when
doing it when I get the chance, but I would you can learn to play off of that. I love you were playing with Alison Krauss
much rather stay busy back there trying to playing behind banjos, especially playing and Union Station differ significantly
make the banjo sound good or whatever. with someone who is a good driving banjo from what you are doing today with Blue
In the following interview, Tim talks about player like Jason Burleson. I will occasion- Highway?
his rhythm playing and lends advice to ally do some cross-picking things behind I really havent changed much in the
those who are trying to improve their
rhythm guitar technique.

When you first began to focus on your

rhythm playing, how did you begin to
teach yourself to become a better rhythm
player. Were you listening to other
rhythm players to get ideas?
By that time I had listened to players like
Tony Rice, Charlie Waller, Del McCoury,
Larry Sparks, Edd Mayfield, Jimmy Martin,
Norman Blake, and others who I thought
were really good rhythm guitars players,
so much that I am sure that some of what
they were doing had rubbed off, but I dont
ever remember trying to sit down and
consciously try and learn a rhythm lick. I
experimented and found that certain things
work well behind certain instruments and
certain players. It is a difficult job because
you have to listen to what they are doing Tim Stafford (center) teaching a flatpicking guitar workshop with
and play off of what they are doing and Steve Kaufman (left) and David Grier (right) in Owensboro, KY, 1996
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
with a metronome. The type of metronome
I recommend is the kind that have the
swinging pendulum because this adds a
visual aspect to it that helps you play.
Watching that pendulum swing back and
forth, having that visual reference, will
really help your timing.
If you dont have a good straight sense
of timing, in other words, knowing where
the beats come right on the quarter notes
or the eighth notes, then there is no way
you are ever going to be able to syncopate.
Syncopation is a relative term. It doesnt
make any sense if it is taken out of the
Blue Highway playing at the 1996 IMBA awards show
context of the beat. It is the same way with
last three bands Ive been in. In Alisons Having focused on your rhythm for so these rhythm licks. If you dont have a real
band we did more songs without the banjo. many years and having done it so well, strong sense of the beat and the off-beat,
In many of her songs, the banjo player will is there any advice you can lend to our then you are not going to be able to throw in
pick up a guitar and the song with be played readers who might be trying to improve syncopated things and rhythmic techniques
with two guitars. When you are playing their rhythm playing? that sort of play with the beat.
with two guitars, you try not to do what the I recommend that you learn how to It is the same with lead playing. Being
other guitar is doing and he tries not to do listen to everything that is going on around able to play an entire break from beginning
what you are doing. Ron Block was real you and that you dont try to play too hard. to end with no rush spots or drag spots
sensitive to that. We would always try to That is one thing I used to do, play too hard. inside the break is important. A lot of
get the guitars into two different positions, A lot of that is born out of the frustration players will rush certain passages. They
for instance if the song is in E, like Steel of not being able to hear the guitar in the dont generally rush the song, but they rush
Rails, I would play it capoed at the fourth monitors. Finally I decided to get in there one or two things in it and then they wonder
fret in the C position and Ron would play and play what fits and not beat it to death. why it doesnt sound quite as good.
it in the D position, or he would play it open Your instrument is not going to sound good
in E. That helps to give two different voices when you play it too hard. Tim Stafford plays a Dearstone guitar
to the guitars. If the guitars sound the same, Young players are usually focused on built by Ray Dearstone of Blountville,
there can really be a clash. technique. That is good to a certain point. It Tennessee. Tims Dearstone has Indian
keeps your mind going and your enthusiasm rosewood back and sides and an Adirondack
When you are playing rhythm, do you do up. But you have to realize that the older Spruce top. Tim says, I was looking
much up the neck? you get, the more you need to start to pay around for a good rosewood guitar and had
No. In a straight bluegrass type song attention to things like tone and timing. heard a guitar that Ray had built. I told him
you dont worry about changing out of first Tone literally means what the guitar sounds that if he could build me one like that, I
position too much. There is a few times like. A lot of people dont even pay atten- would take it. He did, and Ive been playing
you might go up the neck. But when you tion to what their guitar sounds like. Does it ever since.
are playing in a band, you have to go back it have a deep resonant sound? Is it thin? Prior to the Dearstone, Tim was playing a
to this concept of being part of the rhythm Are the notes brittle? Are they jumbled 1955 D-18. He had borrowed Greg Lucks
section. If the rhythm section gets too far together? This is true in both rhythm and 1936 D-28 to record some of the cuts of
out, you will start to loose it. You have lead playing. And then timing is everything. Blue Highways new release Wind To The
to keep the beat and you have to keep it If you dont have timing you cant even talk West, Tim states, It totally spoiled me. I
solid. So, I dont try to go too far out on about the other Ts. could not go back to playing that mahogany
a limb. As far as rhythm techniques, I always guitar. The mahogany guitars are good for
found that if I feel I have gotten kind of lead playing, there is no doubt about it, but
When you are singing, do you have to stale in my playing, Ill go back and get there is something about the warmth and
simplify what you are doing on your some records that I feel have a really good depth of that rosewood for rhythm that I
guitar? grove and Ill play along with them. It just love. Tim uses DAddario strings,
Yes, quite a bit. It is real hard for me really rejuvenates me to do that sort of J-17, medium gauge. He likes a heavy
to do the things that I normally do on the thing. I find that when I come back to the 1.55 gauge pick and currently plays a
guitar for rhythm when I am singing. It next show, Ill be a lot more solid. The Clayton nylon, although he states that he is
takes all of my concentration to sing. I records I always go back to are things constantly changing picks. He plays with
have had to work with either a metronome by J.D. Crowe and the New South, the the edge of the pick instead of the point and
or records and watch myself in the mirror Bluegrass Album Band, the Lonesome River he likes an edge that has been worn down
to make sure I dont drop the beat while Band, and other bands that I know are just with use. Tim says that he plays with a
Im singing. I have worked real hard at that going to be solid as a rock. heavy gauge pick and uses the edge of
and I still work at it. I also recommend that those who are the pick because he likes the tone that it
trying to improve their rhythm playing work produces for rhythm.
30 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
The 25th Annual Flatpicking
at Winfield, Kansas
Its Friday morning, 20 September 1996, OBrien, David Grier with The Grass is known to pop in on a jam or two, guys like
at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Greener, Tim Stafford with Blue Highway, Dave McCarty, Tom Dillon, Van Hunter,
Kansas, home of the National Flatpicking or Dan Crary, Beppe Gambetta, and Steve and Bryan Kimsey were heating things up
Guitar Championships. Dan Crary is on Kaufman each performing solo and bring- around the stage six area, and some of the
stage flanked on his left by Tim Stafford ing up others to accompany them during hot contest pickers such as Allen Shadd,
and David Grier and on his right by Beppe their shows. Kaufman brought up Grier Tim Harbin, Adam Wright, Cody Kilby,
Gambetta and Steve Kaufman. Crary looks during one show and Crary and Robin Matthew Wingate, Dan Kessinger, and
to his right and left and says something Kessinger during another. Gambetta and Mark Cosgrove (the 1995 Winfield cham-
like, Im the old guy up here. If Scott Crary performed together and Gambetta, pion) kept things constantly hopping over
Nygaard could have been with us up here Crary, and Kaufman also played a set at the Gallagher Guitar booth.
today with this group (Nygaard had played together. If that wasnt enough, Kaufman The 25th annual flatpicking guitar contest
with Tim and Mollie OBrien the previous backed up Tom Paxton during all of Pax- itself occurred on Saturday morning. There
evening), you would be looking at the best tons shows, and a hot young picker named were approximately thirty contestants this
of todays young flatpickers. The five of Sean Watkins, with the band Nickel Creek, year and the competition was tough. Each
them then spent the next hour and forty-five proved that the next generation of flatpick- contestant came on stage with a back-up
minutes jamming with each other, taking ers is on its way. player and performed two songs. The judges
turns playing solo, and answering questions Although the stage shows did not were in an isolated area. They could not
from the audience proving Crarys state- start until Thursday, 19 September, Steve see the contestants and only the contestants
ment to be absolutely true. It just doesnt Kaufman was there teaching a two day guitar was piped into the judges room. The
get much better. workshop to the early birds on Monday judges could not hear the back-up player.
During one segment of the workshop, and Tuesday. This kick-off not only gave After the contest was over, one contestant
Dan Crary, the workshop leader, had asked flatpickers the opportunity to attend another walked away shaking his head saying,
all of the players to play a tune that they of Kaufmans great workshops, it was also There was no room for error in this one.
had in the works, something they were a terrific opportunity to meet with other You had to play perfect just to make the
still in the process of writing. When it came pickers and find out where all the great jam cut. Five individuals made the cut and
time for David Grier to take his turn, Grier sessions were happening. But of course, were allowed to come up and play again.
says, How about if I just make one up. they were happening everywhere and a lot After the dust settled, the results were as
He looks to the audience, Someone call of the picking at the jams sessions could follows:
out a chord. The audience starts yelling easily rival what was happening on stage.
out chord names. Grier picks the first three Steve Kaufman and Robin Kessinger were
chords he hears, strums through a rhythm
pattern long enough for Tim Stafford to pick
it up, and then launches into a completely
improvised solo, effortlessly playing it as
if it had been a tune hed known his whole
life. Jaws dropped and people shook their
heads in amazement. After Grier finishes
the solo, Steve Kaufman leans into his
microphone and says, What do you call
that one David? Grier looks to the audi-
ence and says, I dont know. . . Someone
call out a letter.
Winfield is a flatpickers paradise.
From the pros on stage, to the pros and
amateurs in the campground, to the fierce
competition of the flatpicking contest,
Winfield represents the best of the best. At
any given time on one of the four official,
and two unofficial, stages one might catch: Steve Kaufman, Beppe Gambetta, Dan Crary, Tim Stafford, and
Scott Nygaard playing with Tim and Mollie David Grier teaching a flatpicking workshop at Winfield 96
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
First Place: Twenty Five years of Winners
Gary Cook of Durango, CO at Winfield
Second Place:
Allen Shadd of Jacksonville, FL 1972 - Jimmy Gyles
Third Place: 1973 - Jimmy Gyles
Cody Kilby of Cowan, TN 1974 - Rick George
1975 - Mark O'Connor
After Gary Cook played his set in the 1976 - Orrin Star
finals, Steve Kaufman said, If the judges 1977 - Mark O'Connor
are looking for speed, Gary has smoked 1978 - Steve Kaufman
them. Im glad I dont have to play that 1979 - Roger Ferguson
fast any more. Cooks finals performance 1980 - Roy Curry
was lightning fast, yet the notes rang clear 1981 - Richard Gulley
and the delivery was smooth. He looked 1982 - Mitch Corbin
comfortable and well at ease during the 1983 - Robert Shafer
performance. A well deserved Winfield 1984 - Steve Kaufman
victory, the second for Cook who was also 1985 - Robin Kessinger
a winner in 1989. 1986 - Steve Kaufman
The 1996 Walnut Valley Festival was 1987 - Stephen Bennett
my first and now, like thousands of others 1988 - Peter McLaughlin
Gary Cook, 1996 Winfield
who attend each year, I am hooked. I know 1989 - Gary Cook
flatpicking champion brought
I will keep going back as long as they have 1990 - Randy Rogers
home his second Winfield win.
them. But next year I will arrive there even 1991 - Roy Curry
He also won the contest in 1989.
earlier and I will bring my mud boots. 1992 - John Shaw
1993 - Jason Shaw
1994 - Mike Whitehead
1995 - Mark Cosgrove
1996 - Gary Cook

32 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

# 44
& j

2 4 0 2 4 0
2 4 0 2 3
4 4 4
2 0 2 2 2

swung, rather than make the reader navigate The end-point of the note is just as important
What Is This Thing
a confusing assemblage of triplets.) as the beginning. This helps to explain why
Called Jazz? The other important and less easily most jazz guitarists avoid open strings. It is
defined characteristic of swing deals with harder to control the length of a note played
This column begins the first in a series phrasing and syncopation. This is also what on an open string than a fretted note. The
of randomly occurring explorations of the really distinguishes jazz and swing from bluegrass habit of letting notes ring into
mysteries of jazz. This will not be an attempt other kinds of music. A lot of common each other creates a smooth sound that is at
to cover the subject exhaustively; there are phrases or licks turn up in all sorts of music. odds with the syncopated, rhythmic sound
plenty of books, schools and instructors for In Lester Youngs classic solo on Lady Be of jazz.
anyone who wishes to become exhausted. Good, which he recorded in a wonderful The last four bars of each version are
Rather this will be geared towards the kind late 30s trio date with Count Basie, Young quite different. The swing version takes the
of guitarist who wants to, as a student of plays a phrase which is virtually identical initial melodic idea (measure #6), modifies
mine once said, learn some of that jazzy to the famed Lester Flatt G-run. When you it slightly, repeats it in 3 against 2 phras-
stuff you do without having to learn how hear Youngs solo you dont think that he ing and then uses it to create an entirely
to play jazz. Granted, this is a little like the is quoting Lester Flatt, because this phrase new phrase (measure #16), ending with
classically trained violinist who wishes sounds totally different in another context; it a syncopated phrase that emphasizes the
to play some fiddle tunes without learning turns out that this is a very common phrase sixth of the scale. I suppose this illustrates
how to play like a bluegrass or old-time in 30s and 40s swing music. What makes the jazz players reluctance to stick to the
fiddler, and we all know how that turns it different is the phrasing; you can think melody for too long.
out. But, Im going to assume that some of this as speaking with a musical accent. Well, enough analysis. Youll notice
knowledge of jazz and swing can be useful Youngs solo on Lady Be Good is a classic that weve created a nice little eight bar jazz
and enjoyable to those who dont want to of the genre, and should be required learning line without any talk of scales, arpeggios
take the time to acquire the encyclopedic (or at least listening) for any serious student or fermented and demolished chords. Jazz
knowledge of scales, arpeggios, and stock of jazz. But if you were to look at or learn is not something you learn in a theory
phrases which constitutes basic training for this solo, you would see that the harmonic classroom. You learn it just like you learn
the contemporary jazz guitarist. basis of everything he plays is not much any kind of music by listening.
In this column well concentrate on further from the harmonic basis of most
phrasing and the elusive quality known as country music and bluegrass. The difference Scott Nygaard is one of the premier guitarists
swing. For our purposes here well define is in the way he phrases and syncopates on the bluegrass/acoustic music scene today. He
swing as a rhythmic style rather than the what he plays. Of course, the best way to is in great demand among the cream of the crop
style of big band music popular in the of modern bluegrass artists, as a quick glance
learn this is to listen to a lot of jazz and
thirties and forties. Swing can be thought of at his recording credits will attest. His solos,
swing (imagine trying to describe in words a seamless amalgam of bluegrass, folk and
in a couple of different ways. One defines how to speak English with a Southern or jazz influences, shift easily from breathtaking
the way in which eighth notes are played. New York accent). The more you listen, the virtuosity to soulful melodic musings and his
Generally jazz musicians refer to two types more the jazz language will come naturally accompaniment is always intriguing, supportive
of time: straight-eighths (Ex. 1) in which to you and youll be able to turn musical and propulsive. He has been the guitarist with
each eighth note has the same duration (a phrases you already know into jazz. Tim OBriens band, The OBoys, since 1992,
sound characteristic of latin music and most Ill illustrate this by taking the melody of a plum position that followed three years with
rock and roll), and swing, which is closer Panhandle Rag and notating it with bluegrass Laurie Lewiss band Grant Street. Initially
to a shuffle (Ex. 2) in which the eighth phrasing (measures 1-9) and with swing influenced by Doc Watson, Clarence White,
notes are played almost as if the quarter phrasing (measures 10-18). Compare the Django Reinhardt and Riley Puckett, Nygaard
notes are divided into triplets with the first spent many years wandering the sea of American
first two phrases (measures 1-4 and 10-13).
eighth note having the duration of two music which includes bluegrass, jazz, Cajun,
The melody notes are virtually identical,
triplets and the second having the duration western swing and rock and roll. This diverse
but the phrasing is very different. The first musical education, which primarily took place
of one. Swing actually falls somewhere phrase in the swing version is simply a in the fertile Pacific Northwest, helped form a
in between straight-eighths and a shuffle. syncopated version of the opening phrase style which can truly be called Nygaard's own.
(When swing is written out, most people in the bluegrass version. One thing to pay He currently resides in San Francisco with his
simply indicate that the eighth notes are to be attention to here is the duration of the notes. wife Anne and son Josef, though he is most often
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
heard on the road at one of the top acoustic music festivals or venues around the globe. His long awaited second album Dreamers Waltz, an intriguing
mix of original and traditional tunes, was recently released on Rounder Records.

34 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

by Orrin Star

Playing Up the Neck-II

In last issues inaugural column I One classic use of this mini-bar is in the second phrase of Doc Watsons June Apple:
pointed out that the basic guitar chords we
already know (and the licks associated with
them) imply barred positions which can be # 4n n

moved anywhere on the fretboard. And I

showed how this would work with the G
& 4
and C chords.
This month we turn to the mother of all

closed postions, the F-chord. 1 1 1 1
3 1 3 1 1 3 1 3
Index Finger

As with any closed lick, this one can be moved anywhere. Here it is up two frets

(in the key of G):

# 4 G

As the only basic chord which is closed

& 4
to begin with, the F is a great vehicle
to illustrate positional movements and
relationships. (Hint: the F is actually an
open E chord barred on the first fret.)
5 3
5 3
5 3
I noted last issue that we often employ
abbreviated versions of positions (mini-
bars) as a practical shorthand for the
whole position, and the F is no exception.
Here are three favorite F position licks (located on the third fret as well). (The second is a
swingy one I copped from jazz guitar great Charlie Parker.)
The Mini-Bar
F Position Example 1:

# 4 # n # n

& 4 #

3 6 5 3 3
3 5 5 3 5 3
5 3 4

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
F Position Example 2:

# 4 G
# n # n
& 4 n # # #

3 4 5
3 4
5 4 3
5 3 5
3 4
5 4

F Position Example 3:

# 4

& 4 # # # n n
# #

H 3 3
3 P 5 3 5 3 5 3
3 4 P 4 4 5 3 4 4 3 3
5 5 5 3 5 3
5 5 5 3
6 3

But the real fun starts when you begin to the the vertical connections which exist between positions. Play this lick:

# 4

& 4

s 3 5 s
3 5 3 5 3 5 3
0 0 2 4 4 2 0 0
0 2 0 2 0
0 1 2

Did you notice how it moved back and forth between the open G position and the F
position on the third fret?
These kind of moves between positions are what playing up the neck is really all about.
And each player develops his or her own favorite ways of doing these.
But theres an even larger issue at hand: Did you realize that the relationship between
Flatpicking Guitar
the G and F positions we just witnessed applies everywhere? That if you move your G on the Internet:
position up the neck there is always an F position in the same key three frets above it? (Try
playing this lick up two frets in the key of A.) http//:www.flatpick.com
About the Author: Orrin Star has been performing professionally since the early seventies. His
musical history includes three bluegrass bands, a summer with banjo great Bill Keith, and eight
years in a duo with Gary Mehalick. In 1976 he won the National Flatpicking Championship in
Winfield, Kansas. Star has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, has three albums on Flying
Fish Records, and is the author of Hot Licks for Bluegrass Guitar. He currently performs both
solo and with his group, Orrin Star & the Sultans of String. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, and can
be emailed at orhay@aol.com.

36 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Beginning Cross Picking
by Dix Bruce

I first heard about cross-picking in suggested that I listen to George Shuffler,

the early 1970s from a friend who was the legendary crosspicking guitarist with
studying Jesse McReynolds version of the Stanley Brothers, and Doc Watson
the technique on mandolin. After seeing for ideas. I sought out the recordings,
the concert had also taped it, with Ralphs
it demonstrated slowly, I was completely listened to them, was amazed anew, but
permission, and later made the tapes avail-
amazed and mystified. So many notes in still couldnt quite get a handle on the
able. These were the dark days before
such rapid succession with the melody technique.
cassette recordings were widely popular
always in the forefront! I learned that this is Eventually I found myself at my first
and the recording was offered on a 7 reel
Jesses way of playing a five-string, three- real bluegrass concert with Ralph Stanley
to reel tape. I eagerly played the tape and
finger banjo-type roll on the mandolin with and the Clinch Mountain Boys, at that time
studied Will You Miss Me? at regular and
a flatpick. Each melody note is surrounded made up of Ralph on banjo, Jack Cooke
slow speeds. With the help of my first guitar
by a pattern of eighth note chord tones. on bass, Curly Ray Cline on fiddle, Roy
teacher, the great Mike Dowling, I worked
These accompanying chord tones are usu- Lee Centers on guitar, a very young Ricky
out a passable rendition of the song. Below
ally played on other strings while the Skaggs on mandolin and fiddle and an
is an excerpt showing two different picking
melody note is held and allowed to ring equally youthful Keith Whitley also on
patterns which well discuss later.
as long as possible. Jesse mastered the guitar.
Many of the notes were difficult to hear
technique and integrated it into an incred- That concert was a milestone in my
on the tape so I filled in a few on my own.
ibly rich and complex method of playing a musical development for many reasons,
The basic pattern of Keith Whitleys pick
tune. He adapted the sound of the five-string but when I heard and saw Keith Whitley
direction seemed to be down-down-up,
banjo roll to the mandolin and pioneered a crosspick several entire solos on the Carter
(notated immediately under the notes)
completely new sound. Family standard Will You Miss Me?, I
which in the first full measure of the excerpt
I was instantly smitten with McReynolds was simply blown away! Finally, I had
would be played on strings 4, 3, and 2
Picking and eager to try the technique on seen crosspicking live and in person on
respectively. Mike Dowling, my teacher,
the guitar. Having barely a clue as to how the guitar! Though I was still a little in the
who is currently a composer and musician
to proceed, I immediately hit the brick wall dark as to the specifics of the technique,
in Nashville, suggested changing my pick-
of limited technique! And, unfortunately, seeing Keith crosspick was a breakthrough
ing pattern to a strict alternate down/up
I didnt know of anyone who could teach for me and my enthusiasm exploded. The
pick (shown below the previously described
me crosspicking on guitar. Other players local folklore society that had presented
pattern). In this example I would pick down

Will You Miss Me (excerpt)

# 4
1 G

& 4

down-down-up pattern
alternating pattern 3 3
0 0 0 0 H 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0
2 3

# n C
5 G etc.


0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 etc.

= down stroke = up stroke

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
on string 4, up on 3, down on 2, and then back to down on string 4 and so on. The from nearly all the guitar greats from Doc
up on 4, always alternating. The idea was second is the basic McReynolds version: Watson to Clarence White to Tony Rice
to smooth out my timing which was tend- down-up-up: down on string 3, up on and beyond.
ing to fall forward a bit when I used the string 1, up on string 2, down on string 3 Lets look at the familiar old tune Home
down-down-up pattern. Over the years again. The third is the alternating down-up- Sweet Home and develop its melody into
Ive learned that few other bluegrass players down-up pattern on, for example, strings 4, a cross picking solo. Im well-acquainted
use the alternating pattern, but Im used to 3, and 2: down on 4, up on 3, down on 2, up with this tune from working on it with
it and like it! again on 4. Of course the actual set of three guitarist Jim Nunally for our CD From
As I delved more into crosspicking, I strings the pattern is played on depends upon Fathers to Sons (Musix 104). First lets
found that players tended to use one of three where the melody note falls. One can play look at the melody, which is derived from
different patterns and string combinations. the patterns on any group of three adjacent the original tune, sometimes dated to
The first is Whitleys down-down-up on strings. Ive also heard some very interesting 1823.
descending string numbers, e.g., down on patterns played on non-adjacent strings. You First play through the version that is
string 4, down on string 3, up on string 2, can hear a whole range of cross-picking presented here by only playing the notes

Home Sweet Home (Carter-Style with melody in bold) Traditional 1823

Arranged by Dix Bruce


&4 :

0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
0 : 2
2 2
2 3
2 2 2 0 0 0 0
0 0 0



1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1
0 0
2 3
2 2
2 0 : 0
2 2
3 3 3



& :
0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
2 2
0 : 2 0
3 2



1. 2.

1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1
0 0
2 3
0 0
2 2
0 : 0
2 2
3 3 3

38 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

that are in large bold print (the melody For most of the first part, the pattern is only added these in instances where finger
notes). Take note of where the melody notes played on strings 4, 3, and 2. Youll notice choice might not be obvious. Be sure to
fall on the fretboard. Its essential that you that there are several places where that keep your hand in the general shape of
memorize this simple melody line before pattern is modified slightly. For example, the chord you are playing while you reach
attempting to add the embellishments. Once in measure 2 on the F chord, we play the for the note.
you can play it from memory, try working notes on strings 4, 3, 2, 4, 3, 2, 3, 2, but When Jim and I recorded Home Sweet
out the Carter-style melody and accompani- we maintain our alternating down-up pick Home, I played this cross picking solo
ment by adding the additoinal notes and directions. This was done to better serve while he played similar patterns an octave
strums that are shown along with the melody the melody. In the second part, beginning higher. In some places he went into a
notes in the arrangement you just practiced. in measure 18, the pattern shifts to strings tenor harmony that was light and comple-
Finally, lets look at the cross picking 3, 2, and 1 at times. You will have to shift mented the melody perfectly. Jim generally
version of Home Sweet Home shown your picking hand a bit and it may be a crosspicks using the down-downup
below. Ive arranged it with the alternating challenge to move back and forth between pattern. Incidentally, we play the song in
picking pattern in mind, but you should the two sets of strings. Just take it slow and the Key of D, capoed at the second fret.
feel encouraged to try the other patterns concentrate on coordinating the picking. As you work out your own version,
mentioned above as well as your own ideas. In measure one I added a hammer remember to keep the melody in the fore-
The down-up-up pattern will involve on the first note. Leave it out until you front of the pattern. If youre new to the
you changing around the notes quite a bit, feel comfortable playing the whole piece technique of crosspicking, give your hands
but if you hold the chords shown and play without it. Likewise the hammer/pull and brain lots of time to adjust to the new
the melody, you can probably figure out a triplets in measures 16 and 32 may be a bit moves theyll have to make. Concentrate on
useable pattern with a little bit of effort. of a challenge at first but theyll be worth playing with an even rhythm and volume
In the cross picked version of Home the work in the long run. Part 2 begins with across all the strings. Eventually youll
Sweet Home, pick direction is determined a slide up to a closed position F chord and want to accent the pattern something
by which part of the beat a given note falls a C melody note played at the fifth fret on like this: one-and-TWO-and-three-AND-
on. Think of the measure in terms of eight the third string. The chord itself (see the four-and-ONE-and-two-AND-three-and-
eighth notes: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. If diagram) is simply the familiar D chord FOUR etc. Its a little bit like the rhythm
the note falls on beat 1, 2, 3, or 4, play it moved up the neck three frets though we on In the Mood. Listen to how other
with a down stroke. If it falls on any of the use a different fingering. Following that players approach crosspicking, especially
ands, use an upstroke. In this piece all the is a partial G chord, also shown in the guitarists you admire, in concert and
quarter and half notes begin on either beat 1, diagram. on record. Im a huge fan of George Shuf-
2, 3, or 4, so theyll always be played with The small numbers above or below some fler, Clarence White, Tony Rice and Doc
a downstroke. If that werent the case and a notes, as in measure 3, show what fretting Watson. Get those CDs and study them
quarter note began on an and, wed want hand finger to use to play a note thats carefully. Half speed is highly recom-
to play it with an upstroke. not part of the chord you are holding. I mended. Above all, have fun!

Home Sweet Home (Cross-picked) Traditional 1823

Arranged by Dix Bruce
1 C F C
Part 1

&4 4
alternating pattern
0 0
H 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
0 0 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 0 2 2 2 3 3 3 2 2 2
3 3

6 G G7 C

2 3

0 0 0 H 1 1 1 1
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 2 3 3 2 0 2 2 0 2 0 2 2 2
3 3 3

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Home Sweet Home (Continued)
F C G G7

2 3

0 0
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 3 3 2 2 2 0 0 2 3 3 2 0

16 C C7 Part 2 F
G 1

& b

2 4 2 1

H P S 5 5 5 3 3
6 3 3 0
0 0 3 3 5 5 5 4 4 2
0 2 0 2 2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3 3

20 C G G7 C



0 0
1 1 1 1 0 0 0 H 1 1 H
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 2 2 2 0 0 2 3 3 2 0 2 2 2

25 C7 G7 C F

& b

S 5 1 5 5 3 3 0 0
1 1 1 1 0 3 0 3 0 1 1 1 1
0 3 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 2 3 2 2 2
3 3

30 G7 C

0 0 0 H P 1 1
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 2 3 3 2 0 0 2 0 2 2 2
3 3 3

40 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

albums. By 1972, Adam had formed a
Columnist Profile: bluegrass band called the Upper Middle
Grass with Dick Nunneley, Ken Landreth
Adam Granger and Bob Cuadrado. The high quality of the
musicians in this group encouraged Adam
by Joe Carr to develop his chops quickly. In the fall
of 1972, at the first Winfield, KS festival,
Readers of this magazine may be most back of his resonator without timing or Adam saw his heroes Doc Watson, Dan
familiar with Adam Granger as the author anything. He had never done it before. Crary, and Norman Blake in person - a real
of the definitive Grangers Fiddle Tunes Several years later, Alan and Adam inspiration for the budding flatpicker.
for Guitar. Granger is a talented singer, were both living in Nashville when Alan Adam played a Martin D-28 guitar and
songwriter and guitarist who has enjoyed an got a call from Byron Berline to form used Fender heavy or extra heavy picks
active musical performance, recording the bluegrass band Country Gazette in during this period. Shortly after he began to
and teaching career beginning the 1960s. California. Alan was about to start playing flatpick, Adam remembers having to stop
He is an exceptional flatpicker whose with a guy named Marvin Muffknuckle and rework his picking direction to be in
playing combines an understanding and (Chance Fallon). I took the job instead. By sync with the beat. There werent many
commitment to tradition and creative swing 1971, Adam had moved back to Norman. flatpickers around Oklahoma back in those
style improvisation. Like many guitarists Several events conspired to launch his days, Adam explained. Dudley, the Clark
who write for this publication, he was flatpicking career. Brothers, Jimmy Giles and I were about
inspired to flatpick first by Doc Watson and Adam knew Dudley Murphy of it.
later, Dan Crary. Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was a friend of Dan In 1974, Adam moved to Minneapolis
Born in Norman, Oklahoma in 1949, Crarys. Murphy was flatpicking fiddle working as a solo performer in various
Adams interest in the guitar started around tunes as early as the mid 1960s. Dudley coffeehouse venues. In 1976, he and fellow
1959 after his older brother began playing. was the first one I ever saw do that solo picker Dudley Murphy recorded the land-
Adam taught himself from chord books flatpick thing like Little Sadie, where you mark Twin Picking album released by
and songbooks with chords. He also spent play the solos and sing, Adam recalled. Slim Richeys Ridge Runner label. The
many hours playing along with the radio - I remember being mighty impressed with album was a great collection of flatpicking
a practice he wishes more of this students the prospect of being able to do that. guitar duets and came with tablature -
would try. He played various styles of Adam really got the bug when he heard a unique resource for flatpickers at the
guitar music ranging from rock and roll to the Folkways album The Essential Doc time.
blues to folk and in 1967, started taking Watson. That really blew me away, Also in 1976, Adam was asked by
banjo lessons from fellow Norman resident recalled Granger. It had Salt Creek, Bill Garrison Keillor of A Prairie Home Com-
and Banjo wiz Alan Munde. I think I Cheatem, Billy in the Low Ground and all panion fame to help form a house band for
was Alans first banjo student, Granger those standards. Soon afterward, Adam the show. The show covered a five state
recalled. I remember him painstakingly got Dan Crarys first album and he quickly region at the time and there was no regular
writing out tab on a sheet of paper on the learned nearly every song on these two band on the program. Adam explained.
He joined the A Prairie Home Companion
Powdermilk Biscuit Band which also
included Mary DuShane, Bob Douglas,
and Dick Rees. Adam remembered this
experience fondly and between performing,
learning new material, touring, recording
and sometimes writing comedy material
and performing on stage with program host
Keillor, it was a full time job.
The book Grangers Fiddle Tunes for
Guitar was born during the Prairie Home
Companion days. Adam recalled, We
were learning many tunes each week and
I started keeping a notebook of the tunes
I collected for the program. Eventually
this grew into a project and the goal was to
collect 500 tunes. The first edition sold
out in 1993 and with the help of a partner,
Paul Christianson, the second edition
has seen greater distribution and shows
signs of becoming a standard reference
for flatpickers.
In 1979 with the A Prairie Home
Adam Granger (far left) with the Norman High School 7 Uppers, 1966. Companion about to go national, Adam
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
decided to leave the program. It was a
gruelling schedule and I knew it would
only get worse. It would be harder to quit
after the program was national. Adam
wasnt out of a music job long. Old friend
Dick Nunneley moved to Minneapolis in
1980 and they formed the Eclectic Brothers.
This group performed a unique mixture of
bluegrass, original songs and swing music
throughout the midwest until 1988.
Adam got into swing guitar in the
early 1970s. He heard a Django Reinhardt
recording on the radio in 1973 and as he
remembered, I was floored . . . it knocked
my socks off! He soon found that the
style was completely compatible with
flatpicking. He bought every Reinhardt
record he could find and immersed himself
- just as he was to do with fiddle tunes a
few years later. As a result, Adams guitar
playing took on an infectious swing and a
playfulness evident whether he is playing
a swing standard or a traditional fiddle Garrison Keillor (left) and the Powdermilk Biscuit Band - Mary DuShane,
tune. Bob Douglas, and Adam Granger, 1976
Adam has given a lot of thought to teach-
keeping from the rank and file, Just that To function in swing music, Adam
ing guitar. He started teaching in Norman in
one little thing that ties it all together. I learned major scales in five positions and
1972. He stresses good alternating picking
just looked at him with a smile. I told him began to fold these scales in three and
and timing. He feels good rhythm guitar
Go home and practice! Thats what I do, four note patterns in every key up and down
skills are important and are overlooked
I go home and practice and you can do it to, the neck. He believes this is a practical
by many student guitarists. His advice to
We can talk all day but the fact is, You got to basis for understanding the fingerboard. In
guitar students is expressed in his song
go home and practice. by Adam Granger a recent workshop at South Plains College
1990 Granger Publications, BMI in Levelland, Texas, Adam explained the
He says, Man, its almost happening
Today Adam plays a 1989 Santa Cruz CAGED fingerboard approach to the
for me, I just got to get over the hump, Ive
Tony Rice model guitar for bluegrass and advanced guitarists.
got a weeks vacation coming up in June,
fiddle tunes and a 1971 Jacques Favino for The term CAGED was probably
Do you think that I can make it in one
swing. Favino bought the shop of Mario coined by jazz guitarist Howard Roberts,
big jump? There must be something that
Maccaferri, who made guitars for Django Adam explained. It is a way to visualize
you tell your serious students, That youre
Reinhardt. the open positions of C, A, G, E and D at
capoed positions up the neck - thus the
name CAGED. Adam said that while the
concept can be explained in twenty minutes
or so, it takes a year of concentrated work
to be able to apply the concept well.
Adam is excited today about guitar play-
ing. He feels he is now in a very creative
and productive period. He has plans for new
books on different topics including rhythm,
fiddle tune variations and metronome use.
He also plans to record an album of fiddle
tunes and a Christmas guitar album. He
continues to teach at workshops throughout
the year. Twenty-five plus years of flatpick-
ing have given Adam a perspective on
the music. While he is amazed by many
of todays young guitarists, he observed,
Their technique sometimes overpowers
wisdom. Thats what the more experienced
players like Dan Crary have - - great
technique combined with wisdom.
Adam Granger, Peter Ostroushko, Greg Cahill - Milwaukee, Wisc., 1995
42 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
In my last installment, we covered the minor thirds.) These other types have names for minor chords.
concept of intervals and how to use them and uses but the following four types of Before we move on in the world of
to create major scales. Now, well use chords are the only ones which occur when theory, lets get some practice. If we can
the scales to build chords and apply our we make chords from a major scale. hear some of these ideas, well be able
knowledge of intervals to dicover what to play them instead of just talk about
kind of chords they are. G B D F# G major7 them. The examples are printed on the
R 3 5 7 M3 m3 M3 following page.
First, let's take a G Major Scale -
G A B C D E F# G G B D F G7 (Ex. 1) First, play a G major scale to get
R 3 5 b7 M3 m3 m3 the sound of it in your head.
To produce chords, well re-order the
scale which is a string of minor and major G Bb D F G min7 (Ex.2) Now, lets take a common voicing
second intervals. Chords use the same tones R b3 5 b7 m3 M3 m3 for a Gmajor7 chord and change it into the
as the scale, but are organized in consecu- other chord types. If we understand which
tive minor and major third intervals. This G Bb Db F Gmin7b5 notes of the chord are the root, third, fifth
just means using every other note until R b3 b5 b7 m3 m3 M3 and seventh, we should be able to move
you've used all seven scale tones. our fingers up or down a fret as needed to
Now that we have a reference to use, change the major 7 chord into a minor sev-
Here's G major again written out twice lets go back to our G major scale and enth chord, a seventh chord or a minor7flat5
to cover two octaves - make a seventh chord based on each note chord.
G A B C D E F# G A B C D of the scale.
E F# G (Ex.3) Now, lets take our G major seventh
G B D F# chord and move it up the neck along the
Use every other tone (the underlined A C E G G major scale so that we are playing a
ones) to get the first chord- B D F# A scale composed entirely of different kinds
G B D F# A C E C E G B of seventh chords.
D F# A C
All of our G major scale tones are used, E G B D (Ex.4) Here are some other ways to play
but they are ordered in thirds. Each note F# A C E the same thing - different strings / same
has a name: notes.
Root, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9t, 11th, 13th Lets examine the chords weve made
and draw some conclusions based on the (Ex.5) Heres a different way to play our
You might wonder why there's no 2nd, intervals between the notes. Remember chord scale. Now, the roots are on top
4th or 6th. While there are uses for 2,4 and that because our G Major scale has the instead of down underneath in the bass.
6, the 9, 11 and 13 indicate that the 2,4 same interval structure as the other 11 You can hear the same G major scale up
and 6 are played in the octave above the major scales, whatever we find out will be in the top of the chord progression. Were
root, third, fifth and seventh of the chord applicable to any other major scale. just using different voicings.
and are considered to be chord extensions.
Generally speaking, these are used as color I G B D F# M3 m3 M3 Gmajor7 (Ex.6) If the seventh chords sound too
tones and an improvisor will have some ii A C E G m3 M3 m3 Aminor7 jazzy, you can apply the same logic
choice about which color tones sound iii B D F# A m3 M3 m3 Bminor7 to triads which use only the root third
appropriate or best. IV C E G B M3 m3 M3 Cmajor7 and fifth. Try running this progression up
Let's focus on our root, 3rd, 5th and V D F# A C M3 m3 m3 D7 the neck while someone plays a G chord
seventh. These are the determiners of chord vi E G B D m3 M3 m3 Emin7 rhythm backup.
quality (what kind of chord is it?). Look vii F# A C E m3 m3 M3 F#min7b5
at our first G chord which is right from (also called 1/2 diminished 7) Notice how we can get a less jazzy sound
the Gmajor scale. Then we'll modify our by leaving the seventh and the extensions
G major7 chord to produce other types So, in any major scale, the first off the chord? We can alter the flavor of
of chords. Well also look at the interval chord will always be a major seventh, the our music by using chords with different
structure of the chords - that is to say, what second and third chords will always be qualities.
combinations of major and minor thirds minor seventh chords and so on. Typically, Now lets add some extensions and
make up the different types of chords. these chords can be referred to by an learn what all those numbers mean when
You may notice that there are certain upper or lower case roman numeral which we name chords.There are many more and
combinations of minor and major thirds corresponds to its scale degree as in the many ways to play each of these but the
that are not included in this chart. (For chart above. Upper case numbers are for general rules for naming chords are quite
example, theres no combination of three major chords and lower case numbers are simple.
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
1) If the chord name doesnt specify major or Example 1:
minor, you can assume that the third is major
but the seventh is flat (dominant 7).
2) The numbers are used to specify what
extensions are used and any alteration to the
chord tones. These are compared to what the
tones would be if the chord were derived
from a major scale.

Start with some major chords;

G B D F# A Gmajor9
G B D F# A C Gmajor11
G B D F# A C E Gmajor13
Now some seventh chords;
G B D F G7
G B D F A G9
G B D F C G13
Flat the third to get minor chords;
G Bb D F A Gminor9
G Bb D F C Gminor11
A minor 7 chord with a b5 and natural 9;
G Bb Db F A Gminor9b5
A few more that dont come from a major
G B D F Ab G7b9
G B D F C# G7#11

Again, the idea is to hear and play this stuff

so we can use it. Generally speaking, guitar
voicings sound best when we use three or
four notes. To do this, we typically use the
root, 3rd, 7th and a color tone (unless we
want to play a min7b5 chord in which case
we include the b5).

On the next page are some common

voicings for various chords arranged in a
fairly typical progression. Theyre all closed
position chords which can be moved up and
down the neck. The notes that make them
up are also written on the staff.
As you practice, its good to become
acquainted with where the various tones are
relative to the root. That way, youll be
able to see where the ninth is or know
instantly how to change a major 7 to a
minor 7 chord. If you find that all the
numbers are a bit confusing, dont get
discouraged. In the beginning, theres a lot of
counting and comparing that happens when
we attempt to give a chord a name;

Lets see . . . B7b9 . . . thats B plus a major

third which is two whole steps which would
be D#, and then well skip the fifth and go
to the seventh which would be . . . hmmmm .
. . a whole step down from the root which is
A, and then we need a flat 9 which is a half
step less than a whole step above the root. A
whole step above B is C# so the flat 9 would
44 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
David Grier

Lone Soldier*
Tab/Standard Notation book

Send $20
Check or
Money Order to:
Time David Grier
IBMA P.O. Box 60351
be C natural. Now, lets see what wereGuitar
Nashville, TN
together to make chord progressions.
third and seventh again? of the
About the Author: Dave Bricker lives in
One trick is to memorize the spellings of Miami, Florida where he owns a graphic design
*On Rounder Records
the dominant seventh chords in the natural and marketing company. He studied jazz guitar
keys. and bass at the University of Miami School of
"Grier stretches notes that walk, skip and dance off his strings..."
Music and plays
a variety of styles.
C E G Bb D F# A C
E G# B D F A C Eb
G B D F A C# E G
B D# F# A

If you know these seven chords, its easy

to use them as reference
points to get any chord you
Ultimately, youll find
that learning theory is a
bit like learning tunes. The
first few tunes are difficult
but as the material becomes
more and more familiar,
your speed increases. Well
continue to add new chords
and voicings to our vocabu-
lary and as we do, the num-
bers will make more and
more sense.
So to sum things up,
weve taken a major
scale and restructured it to
make chords. Weve ana-
lyzed the four basic chord
forms that come from the
scale and learned how
chords are named. Weve
learned a bit about voicings
and played some colorful
Next, well look at impro-
vising with scale modes
and look at how chords fit

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Adam Granger
Hello flatpickers one and all! Sit down There are three kinds of jigs: the single
and well talk about jigs for a while. Jigs are jig, the double jig and the slip-jig. All jigs
far less-commonly played by flatpickers than share an eighth-note triplet foundation:
reels, hoedowns and breakdowns (which, ONE-two-three ONE-two-three
of course, makes them perfect fodder for The type of jig one is playing depends Easytab is like conventional tablature,
exploitation by us all). There is a wealth on how this pattern is treated. except that timing notation has been stream-
of great jigs out there, and were going Were going to take a look at a double lined and simplified. Since fiddle tunes are
to talk about how to make them work on jig, a single jig and finally a slip-jig, but comprised mainly of eighth notes, Easytab
the guitar. first, a primer on picking jigs. uses the eighth note as its basic unit. An
eighth rest is indicated by a dot. Therefore,
THE RIGHT HAND: HOW TO PICK JIGS a note with a dot after it is a quarter note,
and a note with three dots after it is a half
There are two approaches to picking tune, with the third note of each triplet sort note. There is a total of eight notes and
jigs which Im tempted to label the right of kicking the first note of the triplet that rests per measure.
way and the wrong way, but since that would follows it.
then mean that I myself pick jigs the wrong The way I pick jigs is to simply alter-
way, I think Ill call them, er, the traditional nate-pick them, following the basic rules FOR BEGINNERS
way and the alternate-picked way. Yeah, of flatpicking (see For Beginners, right). Pick with an alternating style: down-up-
thats good; I like those names. The problem with this method is that its down-up-down-up etc. The first note of each
The more jig-like way to pick jigs hard to convey the jig lilt, since the right measure should be a downstroke, the last an
is to give each triplet a down-up-down hand is coming up on every other beat note. upstroke. Include rests in this alternating
treatment. The obvious difficulty here is that Hard, yes, but not impossible. Besides, pattern. This keeps you in synch, playing
the hand has to hitch back quickly on the its sort of good for the right hand to have downstrokes on the beats, so that, no matter
sets of adjacent downs, i.e., down-up-down to punch upstroke notes for a change. I what the configuration of notes and rests in an
down-up-down down-up-down learned to pick jigs this way 25 years ago eight-unit measure, the right hand plays them
Irish pickers and others who have been because, frankly, I didn't know any better down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up.
down-up-downing all their lives can do and, while I can now play jigs properly NOTE
so with lightning speed. Picking jigs this at moderate tempos, I still resort to my old Rules are, of course, made to be broken: see
way gives the proper lilt. It also drives the ways when under fire at full speed. How to Pick Jigs, left.


Well start with the double jig because its the easiest to explain. The double jig is set in 6/8 popular D jig of the same name
time, with a measure consisting of two sets of eighth-note triplets. The first note of each triplet *not to be confused with the
is the beat note, so a measure is counted ONE-two-three TWO-two-three.
and The Washerwoman.
A common double jig you may have heard is The Irish Washerwoman. (Even if you dont ding*, The Irishwoman, Jacksons Delight
know it by name, youre very likely to recognize the melody). known as The Big Jig, Haste to the Wed-
Note that the first four bars of the second part happen in the dreaded up-the-neck The Irish Washerwoman is also
zone. Be not afraid. Place your left hand over the seventh-through-tenth fret area and DID YOU KNOW
employ zone coverage (first finger for seventh fret notes; second finger for eighth fret
notes, etc.) and youll be fine.

I G Am D G C D G
31 0 0 0 3 1 0 1 1 1 3 1 0 0 0 3 1 0 1 0 1 3 1 0
0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
0 2 0

7 7 7 0 3 3 3 3 0 0
810 8 8 8 8 8 8 10 8 10 7 7 7 7 10 7 8 10 8 7 3 1 0 3 3 1 0 1 3 1 0
7 7 2 0 0 0

46 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

The simple definition of a single jig It follows, then, that if youre picking
Note that if youre going to pick this
is that its a double jig with some of the jigs in the down-up-down down-up-down
tune the traditional way (see How to
notes missing. As a rule, the second note fashion, youre going to be picking single
Pick Jigs, on preceding page), there are
of the triplet is the one excised, giving jigs almost exclusively with downstrokes.
only go-ing to be two notes in the entire
the following pattern: DOWN (up) DOWN Ive probably managed to make this
piece which will be played with upstrokes
DOWN (up) DOWN where the (up)s are seem a bit complicated, but the fact is that you
(the second notes in the second and sixth
not picked. already know a single jig, Pop Goes the
measures of the first part)
I D A D A D A D Em A D

2 2 0
0 0 2 2 4 4 0 0 0 2 2 4 0 0 0 2 2 4 4 0 2 4 0
0 0 0


3 3 0 3 2 2 3 3 0 3 2 0 2 3 0
2 2 2 2 0 0 2 0
4 2 4 0


Finally, we are left with the slip-jig. Slip-jigs are rarely picked on the guitar; of four bars, repeated, and a second part of
This is the most exotic and least-common an excellent reason again to learn a few. eight bars, not repeated.
type of jig. It has three triplets per measure, Offered here is the Irish slip-jig, Ellen This tune lays almost entirely between
which puts it in 9/8 time. This sounds OGrady. the second and fifth frets, so again employ
scary, but it simply means that a measure Note the structure of this tune: instead zone coverage between those frets. (The
of a slip-jig is counted ONE-two-three of the conventional two eight-bar parts with only exception is the first fret note at the
TWO-two-three THREE-two-three. each part repeated, we have here a first part end of the first part).
I/II 0 5 5 0 2 3 2 0 0 550 23 2 2 055 02 3 20 33 3 00 0 0
3 3 30 0 13 0 23 20 02 32
0 2 2

II 0 0 5 420 00 00 0 24 5 42 0 22 22 0
02 32 0 2 0 23 02 3 20 0 2 32 32 0 0 02 3
2 2 2 2

Well, theres your intro to jigs. You may now know more about them than you wanted, but I hope not! Jigs are a wonderful way to
break up sets of reels and hoedowns and, for those of you who are lucky enough to play contra dances, they work great in that setting
also. If youre thirsting for more, Grangers Fiddle Tunes for Guitar (see ad elsewhere in this issue), offers dozens of Irish, Canadian,
Northern and French-Canadian jigs. Until next time, keep on pickin!

About the author: Adam Granger has been playing guitar since 1959. After playing guitar and banjo in his native Oklahoma,
Arkansas and Tennessee, he moved to Minnesota to work with Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion as leader of
the house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band. He has judged the National Flatpick Guitar Contest in Winfield, Kansas, and
serves on the faculties of The Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Camp Bluegrass in Levelland, Texas and The Stringalong Workshop
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
He has recorded seven albums, including Twin Picking, an all instrumental flatpick album with Dudley Murphy, two
with The Powdermilk Biscuit Band, two solo albums of original material, and a swing album with mandolinist Dick Nunneley,
as the Eclectic Brothers.
His book, Grangers Fiddle Tunes for Guitar, is the largest collections of fiddle tunes in guitar tablature, and, along with the
accompanying set of recordings of the 508 tunes, it comprises the largest source of fiddle tunes for flatpickers in the world.
For a cassette tape of the music in this column, send $8 to: Granger Publications, Box 26115, Shoreview, Mn 55126.
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Beginning Clarence White
Style Bluegrass Guitar
by Steve Pottier
In my last column I discussed a technique Anyway, this version of Crawdad starts and back down. In measure 14 we see the
that allows you to play important notes with a straight bass run lead-in to the Doc signature Clarence lick from measure 4.
on the upbeat, an important element of Watson strum melody (from last column). The tag starts off like Doc's, but ends
Clarence White style guitar. I never really Notice in measure 2 that the two melody with the same signature lick from 14 but
got to something that would sound like notes at the end are both on the down beat. slid over rhythmically so that the final C
Clarence, however. This time I'll try to show When he note lands on the upbeat, anticipating the
you something more Clarence-esque. gets to G (measure 7-8), his playing really downbeat of the next measure.
Style is a tricky thing to talk about (or emphasizes the melody- no extra notes
write about), but I'll start by saying that here to cloud it up. The C-F measures are A couple of playing tips. Learn Doc's
style emerges from what you have learned, really version first. For both versions, follow the
and is molded by your personality and your interesting. The run in 9 is repeated in 10 down-up pick directions. To get the feel
physical limitations. Clarence was clearly and 11 is repeated in 12. Also note that of Clarence's signature lick leave out the
influenced by Lester Flatt, Don Reno, 10-11 kind of sounds like 9-10 in another pull-off at first (and the open string note in
Earl Scruggs, George Shuffler, Lightnin' place on the neck. This is called a sequence- the middle of the triplet) to get the timing
Hopkins and Django Reinhart among a motif repeated in another chord. It gives and pick direction. Then add the pull-off
others. His early playing shows a more structure to the song so that it is easier for and practice getting as much volume and
straight ahead approach to lead and rhythm a listener to grasp the line you are playing. tone as you can out of the lick.
playing, but it didn't take long to hear Very cool, and a great thing to use when
things in his playing that showed he had your improvising. The last G section is Analyzing the music is kind of interest-
something special. Yet even when he goes really a doubling of the fiddle line as ing, but it leaves me feeling a little cold as
out on a limb, you can hear the roots of his close as Doc could get it, followed by a far as playing. It's main usefulness for me
musical heritage, and it makes the music characteristic tag in C. is in awareness of what's going on. After
all the more Clarence's lead-in is almost the same as that, the goal to transfer the awareness to
profound. An example here is the Crawdad Doc's except that it starts with an upstroke, how it FEELS to play it.
song, which I think came to Clarence via giving the run a little more push at the
Doc Watson. Clarence moved several of beginning. He goes into a very similar (copyright 1996 Steve Pottier)
Doc's tunes into his repertoir and made Doc Watson style strum, but note that in
them his own. I've gone over several measure 2 he plays the last melody note on Steve Pottier has been playing bluegrass
recordings of Doc Watson and come up the up beat using the Doc Watson strum. music for more than 25 years. He has recorded
with a composite "Doc-esque" break, and The last note in measure 3 is actually an with High Country and Done Gone, as well as
I've done the same thing with recordings his most recent project with Sandy Rothman
anticipated note for the start of the next
Bluegrass Guitar Duets on the Sierra label.
of Clarence to make a "Clarence-esque" measure, a device used again in measure 9. He currently plays a 1948 Martin D28. His main
break. I thought it would be interesting This is very much a part of Clarence's style guitar inspirations are Doc Watson, Clarence
to see how Clarence's version compares and he uses it when playing rhythm as well. White, and Larry Sparks. He can be reached via
with Doc's (remember, these versions are Measure 4 has a true Clarence signature email at: spottier@netcom.com
composites of what they actually played, so lick, with a hammer on and a triplet pull-
they are more instructive than historical). off. The "roll" at the end of measure 5 is a In the next issue of
I love Doc's playing. He is a master quick downward strum ending on the first
of taste and tone. In the years I've heard
him play I've only heard him muff five
note of the next measure, a kind of "zip"
sound. Measure 7 is also very Clarence,
notes, and three of those don't really count
because he muffed one note, then had to go
a slide to the open string which starts on
an upbeat. Guitar:
back and play that note again three more The next measure, in which Doc played Jack Lawrence
times so it sounded like he meant to do just strums, is filled with a very smooth
it (true story). I've never heard him play chromatic run from the G up to C. At the Collings Guitars
anything that wasn't appropriate to the F chord, Clarence starts with Doc's lick, Kenny Smith
music he was playing. Wish I could say then finishes with a very bluesy slide up
the same for me!
and much more!
48 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Arranged by Steve Pottier
Crawdad (Doc Watson Style)
1 C

0 2

0 3 0 3
0 2 0
2 0 0 3 0 3
3 3

j C

& .

0 2
0 0 . 0 2 0
0 2
0 2
0 0 0
2 0
2 0

11 F C

& # n # n
# n # n
2 0
2 0
1 0
1 0
3 0
1 0
1 0
3 0 0 3

3 3

15 G
# C

&# n

3 0 5 3 0

H P 4 1 1
0 2 0 2 0
1 2 2 0 2 0
3 0 2 3 3

= down stroke = up stroke

= strum

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Crawdad (Clarence White Style) Arranged by Steve Pottier

&4 j j j

# n #

0 H P H 0
j 0 2 0 3
j j 3
0 2 0
3 0 0 3 3
2 0 1 2 10
0 1
j 3
3 3

j j
# # n


0 S2
2 0
1 H
2 0
2 0 3 5
2 0 2

j j j 0 1 2 0 2 3
2 3 3

j j 3

& . # n # n # #

2 0 . 1P P
0 S H
3 0
j j 1 0
1 0
3 0
3 5 5 3 1
0 2

15 G
# 3 3

& # j
n # n

H P 1 2
1 0
3 0 5 3
2 0
1 2
1 0

j 3 2 3 3

3 3
= down stroke = up stroke
= strum

50 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Local Heroes:
Profile of Susan Snyder
By Chad Ward
Like Doc Watson, one of her primary South Carolina.
influences, Susan Snyder doesnt stray far The Upstate, the upper
from the heart of a tune, but the way she western third of the state, borders
plays the melody reminds you why it is on both North Carolina and Ten-
a standard in the first place. She plays nessee. The area has a strong
with the drive and speed of a hardcore tradition of nurturing great guitar
bluegrasser, but her touch is light and there players. Piedmont blues began
is a lilting bounce to her playing. She here. Its masters, Pink Anderson
skims along on top of the rhythm like a and the Rev. Gary Davis, are
stone skipping across a pond. The warm, from Spartanburg and Green-
smooth tone of her Lowden, which nearly ville, respectively. There are
dwarfs her, would not be out of place on dozens of local bluegrass bands
a Wes Montgomery record. But make no and a double-handful of hot
mistake, this is flatpicking at its finest. flatpickers. Susan Snyder is one
Susan began playing guitar at age nine. of the best.
She was good enough to start teaching Like many Southerners,
when she was 17. At 41 she has taught Susan grew up surrounded by Susan Snyder of Greenville, SC
more students to pick than most folks have music, primarily gospel and old-
had hot meals. Susan plays lead guitar and time music. My great-uncle and food. We played things off the radio
sings with the 5th String Bluegrass Band. Mac Gosnell and my uncle Gene Batson, -- Linda Ronstadt, Anne Murray, Do you
She is also the owner of 5th String Music, my mothers brother, both played. There Know the Way to San Jose, Raindrops Keep
a cozy acoustic music shop in Greenville, was always a guitar somewhere at every- Falling on My Head, things like that. I
South Carolina. Players come here for bodys house. Every time wed get together would play some of the instrumentals then
everything from a set of strings to a high- for Sunday gatherings, somebody would she and I would sing in harmony together.
end Taylor, Lowden or the occasional used pull out the guitar. If there was a piano We just thought we were wonderful.
Martin. Sometimes two or three regulars in the house, it would be piano and guitar, Susan continued to play barbeques,
will gather at lunchtime to visit and pick but there was always somebody playing backyard parties and fashion shows, where
for a few minutes before going back to and singing. she would play instrumentals as the models
work. Everyone seems to know everyone I just thought that was a lot of fun. walked down the runway. When she was
else. This is bluegrass central in Upstate And after they would get finished playing, 17 she began singing old standards with
somebody would put me up in their lap Charlie Woods jazz band. I did that for
and let me hold the guitar. Of course Id about two or three years. I didnt start
just beat and bang on it and didnt know playing bars until I got into bluegrass music
what I was doing. when I was 20. I dont know if thats good
My mother finally said, Do you or bad, but thats how it happened.
want to take lessons? and I said Shoot She heard her first bluegrass band,
yeah. Stoney Creek, while on a date and fell in
Susan began playing at the age of nine, love with the music. I loved the banjo
taking lessons from a local music teacher, sound, the mandolin sound, and, of course,
Ms. Dyer, who taught piano, banjo, bass, the guitar when it was playing lead. That
guitar, mandolin and accordion. Susan was the first bluegrass Id heard.
took guitar and her sister took accordion. Then she saw Jack Lawrence and Joe
At age 12 she began taking lessons from Smothers at a small club in Spartanburg,
jazz guitarist Charles Wood, a Greenville where she first heard Black Mountain Rag,
native who had been a staple of New Yorks Salt Creek and other old fiddle tunes played
52nd Street jazz scene in the 1940s and on the guitar. This guy just smoked
50s. them. That was when I really got inspired.
She played her first paying job at age Just to sit down and watch Jack play was
14. Me and another girl played together. incredible. And I wanted to do it. I went
She would play the rhythm and I would home after the show that night and sat up
play the lead on an electric guitar. Our first until five oclock in the morning playing
A guitar hero in the making job was a bridal shower and we got paid $5 guitar. So she started buying all the
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
While Susan is happy to sing all the tradi-
tional heart wrenching bluegrass songs,
when the band does an instrumental she
prefers something with plenty of life to it.
I like a lot of little hammer ons, slides and
pull-offs and instrumentals that are peppy
and upbeat. So many bluegrass songs, are
all so sad. I lost my darling when she
fell off the mountain, that kind of thing. I
guess thats why so many instrumentals are
happy tunes, because so many of the other
bluegrass songs are so depressing.
The band plays a steady stream of gigs,
but Susans main focus is teaching and
running her store. She teaches 60 or more
students a week everything from Stanley
Brothers tunes to Green Day. While she is
teaching more flatpickers than ever these
Susan Snyder on stage with Steve Kaufman at The Handlebar, days, the number is still small. Only about
Greenville, South Carolina 10% are learning to flatpick. The last
five or six years Ive had more flatpickers,
bluegrass albums she could find. Her how he attacks the string; its just crystal which is fun for me because it makes me
first acquisition was Will the Circle Be clear. work a little harder. She is pleased that
Unbroken by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. There were few women in bluegrass of the six flatpicking students now on her
She began going to festivals to hear Bill when Susan began playing, and none who schedule, three are women. Susan suspects
Monroe, Doc Watson, Flatt & Scruggs and played guitar as a lead instrument. She that more women dont flatpick because of
learned all the songs they performed. never felt intimidated or that she was the relative newness of the guitar as a lead
The records I learned the most from breaking new ground, but she did have instrument in bluegrass. Most of the time
were Norman Blakes Blackberry Blossom; to get used to hearing, You play pretty when there is a girl in the band, she is the
Doc Watson, Live on Stage; Will the Circle good for a girl. Though Susan wasnt singer. And, traditionally, the singer in a
Be Unbroken, Dan Crarys Bluegrass Guitar intimidated, others were not always as bluegrass band is the one who plays rhythm
-- you know the one where hes sitting comfortable with the idea. guitar, or doesnt play anything. Thats
under the tree and he had hair -- I think I I wasnt trying to stand out, I just just the way its been. I wish there were
learned every song on that one. wanted to play and have a good time. more women who did play lead. Its not the
But the main influence was Doc Watson. Sometimes that didnt happen just because easiest thing in the world, but look at all the
I sat with Will the Circle Be Unbroken I was a girl. People would say, Hey come female fiddlers who play so well.
until I about wore a hole in it trying to learn look at this girl play like I was some kind Susan teaches her students to break
Black Mountain Rag note for note. I was of sideshow. songs into phrases while they are learning
determined that I was going to get that one When we went to the SPBGMA a song. When first learning a tune, she
down or die trying. Her style still reflects competition in the early 80s, there were only advises, work on two measures at a time,
Doc Watsons influence, strong playing four women in bands there. One played concentrating on strict down-up-down-up
with plenty of slides, slurs and pull-offs, all upright bass, one played rhythm guitar and picking. She says that if you dont get the
firmly centered around the melody. Doc the other one played the tambourine. Then pick direction right in the beginning the
will fancy a song up just enough around the there was me. I was the only girl who tune will never come up to speed properly.
edges to make it sound really nice, but you played any lead instrument, and I was the The right hand rhythm will be off and you
can still tell what song it is if you walked only person there with a Lowden guitar, will have to learn the tune all over again.
in on the middle. Sometimes Tony Rice everybody else had the mandatory Martin, After you get all the phrases put
begins improvising from beginning to end, so I really stuck out. together and can play the song slowly, then
so you never know if its Little Cabin Home Everybody was picking and jamming you memorize the song and put the TAB
on the Hill or Blue Ridge Cabin Home until in the halls, but nobody would ask me to away. Thats when you work on making it
they start singing again. play. But after my band was on stage and smooth and can start to put little variations
Her current favorites are Peter McLaugh- I did some flatpicking, there were people in there. That way when you start to get
lin and Steve Kaufman. Doc is still up asking about my guitar and wanting to some speed, the song is different, its yours
there high on the list. But Peter has really pick. Like I could join the club now, I instead of just the way its written on the
gotten my attention, especially when we got was okay, because I had shown that I could paper.
to see him with Laurie Lewis at Wilkesboro pick. That was really the only time Ive felt Good tone, she says, comes from
[the Merle Watson Memorial Festival]. We under pressure because I was a girl. holding the pick tilted slightly forward with
followed them around to all the different The 5th String Bluegrass Band performs the other fingers lightly touching the top
stages all weekend. Its just incredible regularly at regional festivals and clubs. just below the sound hole. You should

52 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

just use your fingers for a little support, Sometimes its hard not to copy a lick was just like trying to play a barbed wire
so you are hovering over all six strings that youve heard because, well, it sounds fence.
with the pick and attacking the strings at like it was just meant to be there. And She had a friend who worked at a music
an angle. You dont attack with the pick some people try to cop out by just learning store in Spartanburg and told him that if
going straight in. one version of the song and then they dont he ran across anything comparable to the
Of course you are working your wrist, want to venture into doing something else volume and tone of a Martin to call her.
moving up and down from the wrist more with that song. Thats where learning One day he called to say that he had six
than from your elbow. Your arm will move scales up and down the neck comes in. Lowden guitars. Id never heard of one,
from the elbow, but you shouldnt be like Tony Rice can start on the first fret and but I went up there to check them out. I
a robot moving your whole arm up and end up on the twelfth just playing a G run. took my D-28 to compare and the 025C
down. Your wrist is where you get your You dont have to go that far, but knowing really caught my ear. Id never even really
bounce. If you stiffen up your wrist or some of the different scales lets you start thought about a cutaway, but that was the
hold your pick too hard, then you get that improvising and putting licks in different one that sounded the best and felt good. I
ticky ticky ticky sound instead of making places. That is what makes flatpicking so got that one in June of 83.
a clean sweep through your strings. And much fun and such a challenge. Susans primary guitar is a Lowden
Im guilty of that too. If the band has been O25C with a cedar top, rosewood back and
playing all night or if Im tired and kind Gear List: Susan Snyder is known for sides, and an ebony fingerboard, which she
of dragging and we kick into a really fast her Lowden guitars. She has a distinctive has owned since 1983. She also plays a
song, Ill feel my wrist tighten up and you southern drawl and at a recent workshop, Lowden F27 with a spruce top, rosewood
can hear it plain as day. Steve Kaufman joked that, When I first back and sides. She just purchased her third
I always encourage my students to come met Susan Id never seen a Lowden before, Lowden, an 032, cutaway with rosewood
up with their own breaks, to understand so I asked her what kind of guitar she was back and sides and a spruce top. Susan
what key and scale that theyre playing playing. She said, Its a Lowden, and will sometimes record with her 74 Martin
through to get the melody notes and little with her accent I thought she said, Its a D-18. Her teaching guitar is a 3/4 Aria
licks. After a while thats where improvis- loudun. So I said, It sure is! slot-head parlor guitar that shes had since
ing comes along, by hearing different licks She got her first Lowden in 1983. 1978. It is easier and more comfortable to
and putting them in new songs. Thats what She had played a 1969 D-28 for six or teach on than the bigger guitars. She plays
I do now. I hear all these licks that I feel seven years, but her band was playing so a Taylor 712C with an L.R. Baggs pickup
like Im stealing from other songs, but much, two or three jobs every weekend, in for solo & fingerstyle gigs. She uses John
when you put them in a new situation or addition to her teaching 60 to 70 students a Pearse phosphor bronze medium strings,
turn them around, youve come up with week, that Susan was afraid she was going .88mm DAndrea picks (green) and Victor
something of your own. to get arthritis or tendinitis. I love Martin capos.
guitars, but my D-28 had a V neck and it

Capo 2 Gold Rush Arranged by Susan Snyder

# 4 n
1 G

Part A

& 4
S 3 3 0 1 0

0 2
0 2
0 1 1 3 3 5 3
2 4 5 4 5
3 3 3 3 3 1 0
2 0
2 0
. 0 2

6 G D G


0 1
0 4 2 0 0 2 0 0 2 4 2 0 4 2 0 2 0 0 2
5 2 0 2 0 4 0 2

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Gold Rush (cont)
# G
. . n
J w #

S 3 . 3
3 . 3
0 1 0
3 1 0
2 4
J 4 2 0
2 0
3 4 0

Part B

15 G D G G C G

& .

0 2 4 0 2 0
2 0
4 2 0 4 2 0
2 0 . 4 2 0
2 0 0 2 0
2 0 2 3
3 0 2

# G C G D

& j.


0 2
0 2
3 1 3 1
2 4 2
0 2 0
.. 0
0 2 4 0
0 2 3 0 2 3
# G C G

& .

0 . 7 5 3 0
3 0
2 0 0
1 0
0 0 2

0 1 2 0 2
0 2 3
0 2 3

# n
30 G G D G

& # #n # #
n n
3 1 1 S S
3 3 1 1 2 1
3 3 0 0 3 4 3 4 0 H
3 3 0 2 0
1 2

54 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

New Release Highlight
Robin Kessingers
Third Eyebrow and Dont Try This At Home on CD

Ill have to admit, prior to signing with the legendary fiddler. Robins guitar
up for Steve Kaufmans Flatpicking Camp style was influenced by Clarks fiddle
last summer, I was not familiar with Robin playing in both a direct and a round-about
Kessinger. I now realize that had I ever way. Robin says that the first person he
climbed out of my flatpicking hole and heard flatpicking fiddle tunes on a guitar
made the trip to Winfield, or Galax, or was Robert Rutland, a music store owner in
any of the other prominent contest in the Valdosta, Georgia, who was a good friend
country, I would have been very familiar of Robins father. Although Robin only
with him. But at the time I hadnt, and so met Rutland on one occasion, and that was
the name Robin Kessinger did not mean before he ever started picking a guitar,
anything to me. After signing up for the Robin says that Rutland and his father
camp, I decided to do some research and would frequently exchange music on home-
find out what I could about Robin since I made tapes they sent to each other.
would be attending his classes and I wanted When Rutland heard that Robin was
to know what to expect. I searched through learning how to play the guitar, he started
my back issues of Bluegrass Unlimited sending tapes with him playing fiddle tunes
and found an article about Robin in the at Robins concert where he and his son
Luke tore the house down, was that this is on his guitar. Robin says, The way I use
August 1992 issue called Keeping the a pick and the way I think about phrasing
Tradition. a man who is incredibly versatile, enjoys
flatpicking a very wide variety of musical comes from what I learned from Robert
What the Bluegrass Unlimited article Rutlands tapes. It turns out that Rutland
told me was that Robin Kessinger came styles and does all of it very well.
Robin says that his versatility stems from was a big fan of Clark Kessinger and Clarks
from a famous musical family in the old fiddle playing had influenced Rutlands
time music tradition. His great uncle was the fact that he likes to mix up the tunes
or he will get bored and states, I like to musical style. So Clarks fiddle playing
the legendary fiddler Clark Kessinger had reached Robins guitar in more ways
who, along with Robins Dads first cousin play all sorts of different things. I cant
sit and play old-time scratchy fiddle tunes than one.
Luke Kessinger, played together as the What impresses me about Robins playing
Kessinger Brothers. Robins grandfather, for hours on end and I cant sit and play
bluegrass for a long stretch of time. He is not only his ability to play comfortably
Everette Kessinger was a well known banjo in a variety of musical contexts, effortlessly
player, and his father, Bob Kessinger, adds, I enjoy playing all styles of music as
long as it is smooth, I can understand every changing gears from old-time fiddle tunes,
played mandolin with the Moutaineers in to Latin rhythms, to Irish jigs, to waltzes,
the 1940s. The article went on to talk about note, and it is playable to me.
When asked what he thought the to rags, etc., but his ability to apply tasteful
how Robin was keeping the family tradition variation within each of those contexts is
alive in his guitar playing, mentioned that difference was between old-time music
and bluegrass, Robin said, For much of it impressive. His ability to play in a variety of
Robin had won Winfield in 1985 and Galax musical styles and display great versatility
in both 1988 and 1989, and talked about there is no difference, however, if you are
going to talk stereotype, in old-time music within those styles is showcased on his
how Robin was working to pass along old- new CD Robin Kessinger. This CD is
time music to new generations of music the guitar is strictly back-up and the fiddle
player chokes way up on the bow. That isnt a compilation of two of his earlier works
enthusiasts. which were only released on tape, Dont
After reading the article, I was impressed for me. Stereotypical bluegrass is played
fast and loud, I dont like that either. I like Try This At Home 1994, and The Third
with Robins background and looked Eyebrow 1995.
forward to learning to play some old-time the happy medium. When discussing the
old-time music played by his family, Robin One only need scan the song list to
tunes on the guitar when I attended his know that this CD provides a great deal of
classes at the camp. When I attended is quick to point out that the stuff his
great uncle Clark was playing back in the musical variety:
Robins first class, I noticed in the tab book
that he had indeed presented some great twenties would not be considered old-timey
Song List:
old-time fiddle tunes, however, the first if he were still alive and playing that music Arkansas Traveler
song he taught us was African Melody in today. Robin says, He was too smooth for Marquis of Huntley
four part harmony with a great syncopated his music to be considered the stereotypical Midnight On the Water
rhythm backup. A fantastic tune, great fun old-time style. Flannerys Dream
to play, but certainly not what I expected Although Clark Kessinger was quite Doc Harris Hornpipe
after reading the BU article. What I learned old and not able to play much fiddle when Dry and Dusty
Robin was learning how to pick the guitar, Greek Melody
over the course of the week, especially
he did get the opportunity to briefly jam Alabama Jubilee
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Devils Dream/ Masons Apron around the horn again. In order to introduce readers to the
Planxty George Brabazon To me, this CD is a flatpicking gold Latin feel, Robin has provided a tab to his
The Third Eyebrow mine. If you are interested in new ideas original tune The Third Eyebrow. Robin
Red Haired Boy
for playing old standards such as Arkansas says that when he is playing this song, I
Shebeg An She Mor/March Of King Laois
Traveler and Red Haired Boy, Robin gives always think about the lady dancing with
Vintons Hornpipe you an earful. If you are looking to expand fruit on her head. For those of you not
Rutlands Reel your flatpicking repertoire and stray from familiar with Carmen, Robin says that there
Bye Bye Blues the standard fiddle tunes without leaving is a Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs does
Maple Leaf Rag the realms of good taste and tradition, you a good impression.
OBrians Jig will be amazed at Robins versatility, taste, Robin says that the most important, and
Spotted Pony tone, clarity, and technique. If you are most difficult, part of playing this song is
African Guitar Melody looking for something that will help spice getting the rhythm right. When playing
up your rhythm playing, you have hit the the rhythm parts, he plays barr chords up
La Bonne Riviere
jackpot here. the neck to back up parts A, B and D. The
Blue Railroad Train
Growing up around fiddlers, mandolin only time he will play in first position when
players, and banjo players, Robin had plenty backing up this song is during part C. The
Although Kessinger does get some help
of opportunity to practice and refine his positions he uses for the barr chords are
from his son Luke on bass and Joe Adkins
rhythm playing. But he has also expanded shown below:
lends an extra guitar on Robins original
his rhythmic feel beyond that found in
tune, The Third Eyebrow, everything else
straight old-time and bluegrass playing.
you hear on this CD is Robin.
He enjoys incorporating western, Irish, and
Strap on your seat-belts folks, this
Latin rhythms into his music as well. Robin
CD takes you everywhere. From the Latin
says that he has been interested in Latin Those who are interested in ordering
rhythms of The Third Eyebrow to the
rhythms since being introduced to them by this CD can send $17.00 ($15.00 for the
fiddle tune tradition of Arkansas Traveler
his good friend Joe Adkins. He had been CD and $2.00 postage) to:
to Joplins Maple Leaf Rag, to the slow
listening to Irish music and some of the JMP Productions
waltz Midnight on the Water to the
rhythm playing in the Latin music Joe was PO Box 152
aggressive and lively Flannerys Dream
listening to reminded him of Irish rhythm St. Albans, WV 25177
to the fun of Alabama Jubilee (which
and he started playing around with it.
Robin sings), to Greek Melody, and back

The Third Eyebrow Robin Kessinger

(As Played by Robin Kessinger on his tape The Third Eyebrow and CD Robin Kessinger)
Part A
Intro Am E7 Am E7 Am E7 Am E7 Am
J J J J J J #

&4 # # # # :

0 5 4 5
5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 1 3
5 5 7 7 5 5 5 5 7 7 5 5 7 7 5 5 5 5 7 7 :2
7 7 6 6 7 7 7 7 6 6 7 7 6 6 7 7 7 7 6 6
7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7

Am E7 Dm
# Am Dm

0 0 1 0 1 0 0 5 4 5 0 0 1 0 1
3 1 3 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 3 0 1 0 0 1 3 3 1 3
2 2 2 1 2

56 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Third Eyebrow (Cont)
Part B
1. 2.
11 Am

Em Am E7 Am

& # : : J J J J
0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0
3 1 0 0 1 3 3 3 1 3 1
: :
2 1 1 2
2 2
2 J J J
E7 Am Dm Am E7

& J J J
0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
3 5 3 1 0
1 0 3 1 3 3

J J3 3 1

3 3 5 3 1 0

Part C
Am E7 Am G C Dm Am E7 Am

& : :

# #
1 1
2 2
: : 2 2
2 0 3
3 2
0 2 0 3 3 2 3 5 2 3 0 3 3 2 0 0
0 4 4 0 4 4
Part D

:& J J J J
5 5 5 5 5 8 7 5 7 5 5 5 5 5 5 8 7 5 7 5 4 4 5 4 0 1
6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 6
: 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4

31 Am G C Am E7

& . J J : . #

3 1 3
3 1 0 . 1 0
. 3 1
1 0 8 5
. 0 1 3
0 5 4 5 0 0
J 1

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
CD/Audio Tape Reviews of the South is the other bluegrass tune syncopations that are so typical of Rice and
and this one features the whole band. Clarence White.
Slavek Hanzlik- Summer Solitice This is an album of great music. It A number of the tunes, especialy several
Sierra Records will definitely expose your flatpicking to of those written by Jones, have that bluesy,
some new ideas and sounds and is a great lonesome, modal sound that resembles
introduction to Slavek Hanzliks playing. what I think is the best of Bill Monroe and
If new acoustic guitar lights your fire this the Stanley Brothers. My favorites in this
album will fan the flames and is highly class are Dark Wind of Missouri and Will
recommended. You Be There. His version of John Henry
(the tab for which appeared in the previous
issue of this magazine) also has much more
Blinded by the Rose - Chris Jones of that high lonesome sound than do the
1995 Strictly Country Records usual high speed versions. His breaks on
these songs combine rippling runs contain-
ing lots of hammer-ons and pull-offs with
contrasting empty spaces. The result is
Reviewed by Bryan Kimsey much more interesting and emotionally
powerful than an endless stream of notes
I first heard of Slavek Hanzlik from Joel would have been.
Kaserman, formerly of Loose Ties, who Ive concentrated on the guitar portion
showed me a video of him and Hanzlik of the album, but theres also lots of great
jamming in Canada. I was duly impressed singing. The other instrumentalists also
and over the years heard him with the contribute a great deal to the overall sound
Emory Lester group and became more of the music. As far as I can tell, the
impressed. Now here I am with his second production is flawless. Each instrumental
solo CD in hand, and Im still impressed. Reviewed by Mike Wright break stands out crystal clear above the
Hanzlik is accompanied by a great band of backup. But in spite of this, the music still
supporting musicians including Bela Fleck, This is a vocal album - there are no has that Bluegrass edge.
Stuart Duncan, Mark Schatz, Rob Ickes, instrumentals at all - but Chris Jones does
Tim OBrien, and Mark Howard. Gee, take guitar breaks on half of the songs. Ron The Tunes:
Block, who mostly plays banjo and sings You Can Take Your Time
with a band like that even Id sound good!,
great tenor, also plays lead guitar on Merle Dark Wind of Missouri
you might say. Well, yes, you might, but House of Memories
in addition to adding his guitar to the Haggards House of Memories.
John Henry
mix, Hanzlik has penned every tune on Lots of beginning flatpickers nowadays
Will You Be There
the album and theres not a weak one in seem to play nothing but fiddle tunes, but Blinded by the Rose
the bunch. I personally find instrumental breaks to Looks Like the Blues to Me
And Hanzlik has done quite a bit more vocals more interesting in some ways. Youll Lay It All Down
than merely add his guitar to the mix, I will One thing is the contrast with the singing. Alone With You
quickly and firmly add. His D-18 drives Another is the potential freedom to impro- Dark Side of the Moon
vise. I am much more hesitant to improvise Georgie Buck
the music with a crisp, punchy tone and its
a fiddle tune than a break on a vocal. This Zions Hill
clear that Hanzlik is firmly in the drivers
seat. His playing on Harvest of Change, a album is a good example of how nice such
slower tune, is sweet and full and perfectly breaks can be.
complements Stuart Duncans expressive Jones guitar style is reminiscent of
fiddle break. Paupers Cotillion is a Tony Rices Bluegrass playing. Although
darker Old-World sounding tune that made you would never mistake Jones for Rice in
the details of his playing, his lead playing
Subscribe to
me check for wolves outside the door, and
here Hanzlik makes his guitar bark and
growl appropriately. While much of
has the same level of clarity, fluidity, and
confidence. He comes into his breaks at full Flatpicking
this album has a distinct new acoustic volume and with complete authority. On
music feel, Potzelbaum comes closest the other hand, you dont notice his rhythm
backup at all. Im sure its there, but you
to sounding like a traditional fiddle tune
and features just Slavek on guitar. Spirit dont hear all the little offbeat runs and Call 800-413-8296
58 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Bluegrass Guitar Duets - long time, hoping to absorb some of the
Sandy Rothman and Steve Pottier style and some of the licks.
1991,1993 Sierra Records GRANGERS
The Tunes:
Little Annie
Browns Ferry Guitar IN TABLATURE
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In the Pines
No need to read musical notation!
Flop-Eared Mule
What a Friend We Have in Jesus OVER 500 FIDDLE TUNES
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When You and I Were Young, Maggie MN Residents add 6.5% sales tax
Black Mountain Rag
The Storms Are on the Ocean
Reviewed by Mike Wright Weeping Willow
Precious Memories
If only I had gotten this CD when it came
out in 1993, and if I had listened to it every Critics say:
day since then, maybe by now I would have Out of The Blue- Tacoma Brilliantand highly
a pretty good grasp of everything thats on recommendedINSIDE BLUEGRASS
it. In addition to being extremely interesting
to listen to, it is full of musical ideas that can
What a great idea!
be swiped by the aspiring flatpicker.
The CD liner notes include quite a I consider [Grangers
bit about each performers background by Fiddle Tunes for Guitar]
Neil Rosenberg, as well as notes about the and companion cassettes
project by both of the participants. Steve a bargain for any tradi-
Pottier has also written a brief note about tionally-oriented guitar-
each of the songs. The influence of the late ist with an interst in
Clarence White is repeatedly mentioned. flatpicking fiddle tunes,
My favorite bit is from Sandy Rothmans regardless of level and
note: experience. BLUEGRASS UNLIMITED
These are not Clarences numbers, for the Reviewed by Bryan Kimsey
most part; although his playing enlightened Also-Available:
both of us tremendously, neither one of us Out of the Blue is a band hailing COMPANION CASSETTES
from the Pacific Northwest featuring Dale Ideal Learning Tool!
plays like him because we cant, says
Adkins on guitar, Dale Willams on banjo Five 90-minute tapes (100 tunes each)
Steve. Funny, thats exactly the reason that I
and guitar, Dan Postrel on mandolin, and Played by Adam on Guitar
dont play like Clarence. Still, its not much Lead on Right Rhythm on Left
solace, because I cant play like Pottier and Paul Schoenlaub on bass and lead vocals.
$13.95 each, or $59.95 for complete set
Rothman, either. Ive seen these guys in concert and they put plus $1 per tape/$2.50 per set p&h
Although they generally take turns on a good show, so it was a treat to hear AVAILABLE FROM:
playing lead, they both tend to play lots their CD. Their material crosses from the Granger Publications, Inc.
of licks during backup, so that most of the traditonal to the uptown with stops at all Dept. FG P.O. Box 26115
album is more like twin guitars than just points in between. Shoreview, MN 55126
alternating solos. This intricate interplay Flatpicker Dale Adkins has plenty of (800) 575-4402
is part of what keeps the music sounding opportunity to strut his stuff and gets equal VISA/MC
fresh after repeated listenings. There is lead time with the banjo and mandolin.
so much going on that you cant absorb Hes got a full complement of sounds from
Clarence White-derived licks, to folksy
it all at once.
The material is all traditional, except strums, to jazzy triads. Adkins has a full,
for Blue Guitar Yodel, which they wrote, powerful tone and his guitar sounds good
but even that sounds traditional. Only five on this CD. Among the highlights are a THESE BOOKS AVAILABLE SOON
of the tunes are fiddle tunes, the rest being nice flatpicked version of Monroes Old FROM GRANGER PUBLICATIONS
based on songs. There is a great deal of Dangerfield, an appropriately swingy
Rhythm Guitar
variety to the selections - fast and slow, version of Gershwins Summertime, a
blazing Adkins original with a great title How to Practice with the Metronome
melodic and bluesy - which also contributes
to the freshness of the album as a whole. Big Shenandoah Valley Dirt Clod, and Fiddle Tunes and Variations
Im going to be listening to this one for a another Adkins original The Obligatory
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Waltz. His version of I am a Pilgrim too brief liner notes ...a certain traditional form. Given the Blakes infrequent tours
owes a lot to Clarence White, but Adkins quality most of the time and total quality all (at least in the Northeast) this video offers
plays it well and adds a few touches of the time. True enough, but ultimately this a hint at what a concert offers. As an audio
his own. video collection works better as an audio overview of fifteen years in the performing
The other band members are no slouches tape than a video tape. The Blakes music careers of Norman and Nancy Blake, this
either. Both from in-person and from this is an intimate affair, whether in the Rising video is rewarding listening.
CD I like the solid banjo playing of the Fawn Ensemble or on their own. Its a
other Dale, Dale Williams. As evidenced stripped down, bare performance that allows
by the two duets with Adkins, Williams the music to breathe. On this particular
Instructional Material
can handle a flatpick as well as fingerpicks. tape, with its jarring fade at the conclu-
Dan Postrel handles the mandolin duties sion of each cut, no song introductions or Reviews
quite well and gets a good woody sound acknowledgement of the viewers (save for Flatpicking with Doc- Homespun Video
from his 8-stringer, while Paul Schoenlaubs a smiling Norman exclaiming all right with Steve Kaufman and Richard
vocals are more than adequate. at the conclusion of Jordan) makes for a Watson
If youre tired of the same ol guitar very cold and lifeless presentation in direct
pickers, pick up this album and check out conflict with Blakes style and persona.
Out of the Blue. I think youll be pleased. The video box gives us a list of states
and years the selections were drawn from.
Missing from the actual tape are the song
Video Tape Reviews titles, dates, credits and other information.
A simple crawl at the bottom of the screen
for each title and its source would improve
Norman and Nancy Blake the format. At a minimum, acknowledging
The Video Collection 1980-1995 James Bryan on fiddle and the Rising Fawn
Vestapol 13059 Ensemble would seem appropriate.
Its unclear whether the producers of this
project were aiming this video at guitarists,
though its sure to be a safe bet. Why then
the shoddy liner notes? The Blake notes are
far more comprehensive of the Legends Of
Flat picking Guitar (Vestapol 13005). There
is no information about the instruments Reviewed by Bryan Kimsey
(sunburst slope D, natural slope D, Gibson
plectrum banjo, Gibson F and A shape Song List:
mandolins), something that would no doubt Open Up Them Pearly Gates
be of interest to many guitarists. Since Little Sadie
More Pretty Girls than One
all the source video comes from public
New River Train
television, its easy to understand why the White House Blues
camera work frustrates the viewer from Open Up Them Pearly Gates
studying Blakes fret work. As typifies Salt Creek
performance video made for TV, the camera Ragtime Annie
is often slow to pan to the soloist, the camera Goodnight Waltz
angles (the most popular here is a view When Its Peach Picking Time
Reviewed by Joel Stein of Blakes fingers dancing along the fret Sweet Georgia Brown
board from the vantage of the nut) are Walk On, Boy
Chicago Blues
There is little need to question Norman annoying, the mike stands block otherwise
Blakes picking prowess, this collection is good opportunities to see Blakes hands.
full of examples of his talents on guitar, That said, there are more then enough
mandolin, fiddle and plectrum banjo. Along opportunities to watch close ups of one With two of the best flatpickers in the
with wife Nancy (on cello, guitar and of the finest right hands ever to bring a world- Doc Watson and Steve Kaufman-
mandolin) and an uncredited James Bryan pick to strings. Norman Blakes right hand on the same video, how can you go wrong?
(fiddle) on half of the program, Blake mixes technique is remarkable. Still, its not The short answer is: you cant! Flatpick-
the traditional (Done Gone, Jordan Am A enough reason to rush out and get this video ing with Doc is a terrific sampler of the
Hard Road To Travel, The Kitchen Girl) collection. The music, on the other hand, Doc Watson style with Doc performing a
with the neo traditional tunes of his own might be. generous slice of his repertoire. Kaufman
invention (Randall Collins, Gray Coat As with many performance videos, plays rhythm guitar and takes several
Soldiers). Norman & Nancy Blake The Video Collec- breaks. On the last three songs, Kaufman
As those familiar with Blakes playing tion 1980-1995 is no substitute for seeing is replaced by Docs grandson, Richard
would guess, Blake possesses, to quote the a live performance. Rather, the video is a Watson, for 2 blues duets. The third song,
cold artifact of a living and breathing art Summertime, plays as the credits roll.
60 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
The video opens with Doc and Steve flatpicking techniques and is highly rec- perspective on guitar with the rest of the
trading breaks on Ragtime Annie. After ommended to flatpickers. Besides the flatpicking community.
this warm-up, theres the obligatory tuning educational value of the tape, I greatly On this, his second instruction video,
section and then the lessons get started, appreciate the documentation of Docs Grier tackles what Ive always felt to be
beginning with Pearly Gates. The flat- flatpicking. Just think how much richer the most difficult and challenging problem
pickers play each tune through at full tempo wed be if the great Clarence White had facing any musical star trying to relate their
and then go back and slow things down. sat down for a Homespun video taping! musical approach to an outside audience -
All of Docs breaks are tabbed out in an Fortunately, all the current masters of the how to avoid clone solos which merely
accompanying booklet. Kaufmans are not, plectrum are well-represented on video; this reproduce note-for-note the solos played
but the camera generally shows enough of tape contributes greatly to that collection on record. Griers first video took that
his hands that advanced (and persistent) and belongs in yours. approach and presented a lot of excellent
viewers can figure out what hes doing. material, but left it to the student to try to
Richard Watsons breaks are tabbed and Bluegrass Guitar - sort out the individual phrases and licks
his pentatonic-based blues style is an Building Powerful Solos, comprising Griers distinctive musical
interesting contrast to Docs chord-based taught by David Grier. vocabulary.
crosspicking. Homespun Video, VD-GRR-GT01. Here, with help from Homespun
Kaufmans presence is a great aid on 75-minutes. founder and instruction tape guru Happy
this video. He knows the right questions Traum, Grier convincingly breaks down
to ask of Doc and just as youre thinking and demonstrates many of the technical
Now, how did Doc do that?, Steve asks tricks of the trade he employs in his solos.
that very question. As with many natural The tape starts out immediately working on
musicians, Doc sometimes doesnt know cross-picking patterns using Bill Cheatum
exactly why or how he does something, and Liberty as musical reference points,
and Steve often asks Doc for clarification stopping to work on specific techniques
until the question is fully and completely as needed. Other techniques, such as his
answered. There is plenty of technique frequent use of slides, double stops, bends,
and equipment discussion on the video, slurs and a technique he calls raking,
including details on Docs picks, amplifier, which is more commonly referred to by
guitar, strings, and crosspicking approach. guitarists as sweep picking, all are clearly
The overall atmosphere of the video is covered and documented.
very relaxed and the musicians trade jokes Natural players like Grier who dont
and anecdotes as they cover the tunes. I typically plot out precise solos they can
found the pace of the video to be more repeat often have difficulty exactly repeat-
appropriate to intermediate/advanced ing an entire solo, but Grier does a fine
flatpickers, since theres none of the place Reviewed by Dave McCarty job here playing solos and exercises up to
this finger there instruction required for speed and then reproducing them exactly
beginners. Doc plays his licks and you Over the last several years, David Grier at slow speed. Its obvious that a couple of
need to be able to grasp what hes doing. has emerged as the flatpicking guitarist years of doing workshops and camps has
On the upside, this means that the video whos most often pushed back the boundar- helped him develop better teaching skills.
can and does present quite a bit of material. ies of acoustic music and bluegrass on The tunes presented here accurately reflect
The sound and video quality of the tape are guitar into areas never before explored. Davids different styles. The gorgeous
excellent, as weve come to expect from His unorthodox, unbounded technical Engagement Waltz reveals much about
Homespun. approach to guitar and endlessly vivid how he thinks about the fingerboard and
My quibbles include the split screen musical imagination have earned him its impact on composing guitar tunes. The
presentation which doesnt seem to kick in critical acclaim and made him perhaps Meeting is just a great tune, although
on the first tune. Its almost as if someone the most sought-after flatpicking guitarist since its not likely to become a jam session
forgot to get the second camera rolling. working today. No one who has heard his standards one could question why it was
After the intro, though, the split screen cliche-defying solos and backup work with selected over some others. As always,
is excellent and clearly shows both hands The Grass Is Greener and the newest Psy- Homespun has put together a great pack-
without obscuring either. Lyrics in the tab chograss release will fail to be impressed. age here, with an excellent tab/notation
booklet would have been nice, as would Capturing that kind of eclectic musical booklet that includes most, but not all, of
chord shapes for some of the jazzier tunes. technique as instructional material, how- the material David presents on the tape.
Both of these are easily enough figured ever, has posed quite a challenge. When Homespuns typically excellent video and
out from the video, though. Titles for the you dont play by the rules, its harder for audio work make it easy to check both
tunes would have been useful when fast- other guitarists to figure out how youre Griers left and right hands as hes playing
forwarding through the tape in search of producing the licks and runs populating to reveal pick direction and fingering for
a specific section. your guitar work. Fortunately, Grier has the more difficult passages. The limitations
Suggestions aside, Flatpicking with Doc grown and matured not just as a musician, of linear, analog recording media, however,
is an excellent study of Doc Watsons but as a teacher able to share his unique remain unaddressed here. Including title

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
slides between songs to allow the user to search for specific portions of the tape more
easily would have been helpful. What Id really like to see (besides some future digital
video format) would be the use of on-screen transparent icons like the network logos
with the titles of each section or tune included so thered be no doubt what section of
the tape was being displayed.
Minor technical quibbles aside, Bluegrass Guitar - Building Powerful Solos
exactly lives up to its title. Grier is focused here on presenting highly useful, accurate
examples of many of the types of runs, licks and techniques he uses to create his distinctive
sound. Watching this video wont let you match David Griers instinctive ability to break
boundaries and reinvent old approaches to flatpicking guitar, but it certainly will give any
guitarist who appreciates his style an enormous amount of useful material to study and use

Grier Lone Soldier Tab Book

Review By Dave McCarty

Only a handful of flatpicking guitar albums ever

truly reach a wide audience or draw the interest of
many fans outside the cloistered realm of guitarists
themselves. But David Griers IBMA-winning
Lone Soldier on Rounder Records certainly broke
out of the pack and drew enormous attention to his
brilliant guitar playing and impressive compositional
Even before its release, guitarists were bringing
Grier-penned tunes like Wheelin, Bluegrass Itch, Old Hotel Rag and others into hot
picking sessions at festivals around the country. Capturing the exact melodies and intricate
changes of his newer, often more challenging work, required even greater perseverance.
Im sure Im not the only guitarist out there whos puzzled over Griers arrangements of
Pockchops & Applesauce or Eye of the Hurricane by taping the songs and slowing
them to half speed.
That learning process ought to accelerate with the
release of this book including all the songs off Lone
Soldier. Superbly transcribed by Matt Flinner, a
former Winfield champion on mandolin and member
of Tony Furtados blazing bluegrass ensemble,
Sugarbeat, this book is a must-have for anyone
seeking to unlock the mysteries of David Griers
musical genius.
Unlike other personality books that often only
tab out one solo per song, Flinner has painstakingly
notated the melody and every solo Grier plays on all
11 tunes from the CD. Presented in both tablature and
standard notation, the music is printed in a very clear,
easily readable format. The music also indicates some
of Griers trademark licks and tricks (many of which
are documented in his new Homespun Video reviewed
elsewhere in this issue), such as the G chord rakes
he uses in the third solo on Smith Chapel.
Other symbols indicate Davids pre-bends where
he bends the string first, then picks and releases it,
as well as heavy vibrato and his wiggle technique
where he slides rapidly up and down one fret. The
notation for Pockchops & Applesauce looks like
no tab youve ever read.
Having access to material like this is just a treasure
for guitarists today. My only suggestion would be
that David and Matt team up again quickly to provide
another book like this for Freewheelin and some
of his other work. Well done, boys!
62 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Gear Review by Bryan Kimsey

Product Review: The Enhancr flat surface is supposed to rest squarely on

the bridge. In additon, the cone should fit
Most flatpickers are constantly looking for
snuggly under the string behind the saddle.
ways to increase the sustain, volume, and
A special tool is provided to help move the
resonance of their particular instrument(s).
cones in place, and a strip of tape is also
The Enhancr, from Smith Family Music, is
provided to fit between the cones and the
a simple device which claims to do all of
saddle itself to help protect the latter from
those things. The Enhancr is a set of six
scratches. I had trouble moving the cones
metal cones connected by spring wire and
with the tape in place- they tended to stick
designed to fit directly behind the saddle of
to the tape and cause it to bunch up or tear.
an acoustic guitar. String pressure behind
The other users I contacted also mentioned
the saddle holds the Enhancr in place, the The Enhancr installed on Bryan this problem. Without the tape, the cones
idea being that the cones will transmit Kimseys 000-1R Martin scratched the bridge of both guitars. Once
additional vibrations from the strings to the
installed, the large end of the cones stuck
guitar top. Enhancrs come in three flavors: between versions of Enhancr, although the up above the saddle. I play with my right
a Red Tip version which uses solid brass Red Tip seemed to increase volume the hand almost brushing the saddle and I could
cones and which is designed for finger- most. The increase in volume was quite definitely feel the sharp edge of the cones
picking; a Yellow Tip version using brass noticeable on the 000-1R and it competed beneath my hand. A litle filing would
cones for the wound strings and stainless quite well with the un-Enhanced 73 D-28. probably take care of this problem, but
steel cones for the treble strings; and a Blue The Reissue D-28 became even louder might lessen the effect of the Enhancr.
Tip version with mixed alloys designed than it already was, and the mid-range did Finally, with the Enhancr installed, I had a
for lead playing. All come with detailed indeed become clearer. However, the tone buzz that I could not get rid of by adjusting
instructions and an 800 number in case you of both guitars changed, and the audience the cones; another user also reported buzzes
need more help. disagreed as to whether the change was that went away only when they removed
I tested all three versions for several desirable or not. The Enhancr definitely the Enhancr.
weeks on 2 different guitars that I play added a metallic edge to the sound and one
regularly- a 93 1935 Reissue D-28 and a 95 audience member compared the Enhancr-ed After testing, I removed the Ehancr and
000-1R, both Martins. The Reissue D-28 sound to a resonator guitar. When I removed liked the sound of the guitar better without
is a very bassy guitar and I was curious the Enhancr and played the guitar again, it. For me, the Enhancr added too much
to see if the Enhancr would give it more all listeners commented on the change in resonance and too much of a metalic sound
mid-range and treble. The 000-1R is tonaly volume, but also mentioned the woody for my tastes on the guitars I used. The
balanced very well, and I mostly wanted sound of the guitar sans Enhancr. The overall sound was sort of heavy instead
additional volume from it. I was unable change in volume was noticeable, but not of crisp and punchy. Ive noticed the same
to fit the Enhancr to a third guitar, a 73 overly dramatic; if forced to put a number sort of change when playing with brass
D-28 which has had the saddle slot moved on it, Id say overall volume increase by bridge pins and saddles, and even ivory
rearward, but that is no fault of the Enhancr- 10% or so. saddles, all of which are denser and heavier
there simply is no room between the saddle I also contacted several other Enhancr materials than the bone and ebony appoint-
and the bridge pins to place anything on users for their experiences. The Ehancr ments I normally use. The former increase
that particular guitar. I ended up using this seemed to help mid-price range guitars sustain, but the latter seem more responsive.
guitar as a standard to compare the others more than high-dollar instruments, and If you like the heavier, more metallic sound,
against. I installed the Enhancr on each smaller instruments more than larger ones. the Enhancr will definitely give it to you.
guitar, played it for several songs for an Theoretically, if the saddle is working I would certainly give them a try on a mid-
audience of musicians and non-musicians, correctly, all vibration should stop at the priced guitar, or one which needs some
removed the Enhancr, and then played saddle and should be transmitted to the extra volume or brightness. I suggest trying
again and requested feedback. I also left bridge. In practice, when I exchanged the the standard Red Tip all-brass model (also
the Enhancr on each guitar for a period of synthetic saddle on the 000-1R for a high the cheapest), or the Yellow Tip. The
time and noted my own observations. Over quality bone one, the Enhancrs effect was mixed alloy of the Blue Tip didnt work as
the course of several weeks I was able to lessened. The Reissue D-28 already had a well with either of my guitars, although it
use all 3 Enhancrs on both guitars. very dense bone saddle and the Enhancrs certainly might for yours. Your best bet
The Enhancr performed as claimed and effect was not so noticeable there, however, might be to find an accomodating music
increased resonance, volume, brilliance, the difference in size between it and the store that will let you try all three on you
and sustain on both guitars. There was 000 prevent a direct comparison. particular instrument.
more difference between the guitar with I had a few quibbles with the Enhancr.
and without the Enhancr than there was The bottoms of the cones are flat and this
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Vintage Voice by Buddy Summer

No matter what ones interest may be buckle scratches, finish cracks, and/or This headstock decal was introduced in
it seems as if when one least expects it a repaired wood cracks that are completely 1932 and is still in use today. The 1920s
great opportunity presents itself. This holds smooth to the feel of the fingertips as well guitars had a C.F. Martin & Co. - Nazareth,
especially true if ones interest happens as finish inconsistency over the entire PA stamp on the back of the headstock.
to be in acquiring a fine vintage musical instrument could indicate that the instru- This stamp was discontinued in 1935 with
instrument, such as a vintage guitar. All of ment may have been over sprayed. If one some of the 1935 guitars having the stamp
a sudden, there it is. Someone has changed could compare a known refinished guitar while others from 1935 do not.
life styles and now their priorities have with a known factory original guitar one The tuners from the 1920s guitars
shifted and they want to sell their vintage would probably notice a slight rounding are mostly three-on-a plate side mounted
guitar. This unexpected opportunity often of some edges, especially around the tuners similar to the Ervin Sloan tuners
presents itself when someone inherits a headstock, of the known refinished guitar available today. The tuner shaft extends
highly desirable vintage guitar and their that doesnt exist on the factory original through the slot in the headstock and the
interest differs from the interest of the guitar. These slightly rounded edges usu- tuner knobs extended to the back of the
previous owner. Now the prize vintage ally indicate more sanding was required headstock. Pickguards were not used on the
guitar is for sale. Collectors spend many to remove the original finish. A recently 1920s guitars except as special order. With
years accumulating rare vintage guitars refinished or oversprayed instrument usu- the introduction of the orchestra model in
and at some point in time these wonderful ally has a more dominate lacquer odor than 1929, the guitars changed some.
old pieces of American culture will be an older finish that has had time to dry. The Most of the 1930s guitars had pickguards
available. Black Light check that some professional which became standard in about 1932 and
Although many have departed our vintage instrument dealers use where the after 1933 were fourteen frets clear of the
country for new homes in a distant land instruments finish is examined under a body type guitars. After 1933, most tuners
and others are being shipped overseas at an black light in a dark room and causes finish were open back Grover single tuners that
alarming rate, there are many fine vintage inconsistencies to be readily apparent is mounted on the back of the headstock
guitars still available today. If one has an also a very helpful way to determine finish with the tuner shafts extending through
interest in acquiring a fine vintage guitar originality. the headstock. These tuners had small
then one should . . . be prepared. The Poorly refinished instruments are easily butter-bean type medal turning knobs
opportunity will present itself sooner or detected as such since they appear to have until about 1942.
later. been refinished by someone with a paint The 1942 through 1945 Grover open
Continuing with the Vintage Guitar brush and a bucket of lacquer. An old, back tuners mostly had small butter-bean
Checklist, the main topic of Vintage professional refinish, in my opinion, does ivoried type tuner knobs as the medal
Voice in the last issue, it would seem not necessarily destroy the acoustic value was used for the war effort. The small
appropriate to list some of the checklist of the guitar, it just destroys the originality medal butter-bean tuner knobs were re-
items and elaborate some on each item in and should therefore be reflected in the introduced in 1946 and continued until
this issue and the next several issues until price. There are some highly desirable, 1958 at which time larger medal tuner
the checklist is covered completely. great sounding, refinished old guitars knobs were used on closed back Grover
available that Id be proud to own . . . such tuners. The late 1940s was a transitional
Vintage Guitar Checklist Item #1: as my 1934 C.F. Martin 000-28 with the time for the tuners and by 1947 mostly
Finish Original? It may take some experi- long scale. closed back Klunson tuners were used.
ence to be able to detect an old factory The 1947 model also used any one of
refinish as some may be as close to perfect Vintage Guitar Checklist Item #2 - three different back strips on the outside
as the original finish. Examining the finish Check tuners . . . Originality of tuners, back of the guitar. By 1950, the Martin
in full sun light, as opposed to lessor light, decals and/or stamps. On the C.F. Martin D-28 had the ribbed back Klunson tuners
usually helps detect sanding marks and products, with which I am more familiar, until 1958 while the Martin D-18s used a
nicks or dings that are filled with lacquer the guitars from the 1920s were twelve slightly different non-ribbed back closed
when they should not be! Sometimes a frets clear of the body, slotted peghead Klunson tuner. From 1958 the D-28s used
magnifying glass will help to get a better small bodied guitars with no C.F. Martin the closed back Grover tuners with the
look at a questionable area. Capo and belt & Co. decal on the front of the headstock. lager tuning knobs through mostly the

64 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

1970s while the D-18s continued to use the 14th fret so there would be no need to
the slightly different Klunson tuners with remove the portion of the fretboard that is
the smaller medal butter-bean type tuning glued to the guitar top. When this short cut
knobs through the mid 1960s. is taken it seems as if the fretboard is never
When original tuners have been changed completely straight again. Sometimes the
to non-original type tuners there is usually saddle is shaved down closer to the bridge
an impression of the original tuner left in so as to lower the playing action. When
the finish on the back of the headstock. the saddle is shaved too close, the guitar
Sometimes new tuner screw holes have to then needs a neck set and a new saddle. Any
be made to accommodate the new tuners. vintage guitar that hasnt had a neck set prob-
If such is not the case, the switch back to ably needs one. The cost is approximately
original type tuners is simple if one can $200 if the neck has to be removed from
find the original type tuners. Any degree of the guitar body. Any additional repair cost
non-originality should be reflected in the that the guitar needs has to be added to the
purchase price of the guitar. investment in the guitar.

Vintage Guitar Checklist Item #3.- Vintage Guitar Checklist Item #5.
Check for E string and/or pick guard Check action. When the neck angle is at
cracks. The pickguard area of older guitars proper adjustment for good playing action,
is an area where minor top cracks often a nickel resting flatly on top of the frets
occur. These cracks are usually caused from at the 12th position should fit between the
shrinkage of the pickguard itself over time, fretboard and the strings with very little
are minor in nature and are easily repaired. room to spare. Two nickel widths would
The crack is usually filled with super glue, indicate that the playing action is too high
pressed together again and cleated from and that a neck set is probably required.
underneath the top. Tone is often unaffected Some flatpickers like the playing action a
and if properly repaired at an early stage little high as this seems to produce more
these minor cracks have little detrimental volume; however, when playing action is
effect on the guitar. It should be noted excessive, playability suffers. The neck
that early attention should be given E and fretboard should have enough of a dip
string and pickguard cracks to prevent the so as not to allow the strings to touch the
condition from worsening. A flashlight 5th, 6th, and 7th frets when the string
and mirror with and extendible handle is is simultaneously fretted at the 1st and
considered standard equipment for checking 12th positions. Excessive indentations in
inside the box of a guitar and is an absolute the fretboard should be filled and sanded
necessity. smooth. Frets with little wear can be dressed
while excessively worn frets need to be
Vintage Guitar Checklist Item replaced. Bar frets were used on the Martin
#4.-Check for neck reset. How does neck Guitars prior to 1934 with T frets being
join the guitar body? Many vintage guitars introduced in 1934. Checking the playing
were equipped with an adjustable truss rod action would be an excellent time to examine
built into the neck that made neck angle the fretboard at the 12th or 14th fret position
adjustment as simple as adjusting a bolt to make sure it hasnt been cut for a neck
under the truss rod cover on the peghead. set. A nut with the string slots cut too deeply
Vintage Martin Guitars did not have this or a saddle shaved too close will allow
adjustable truss rod and therefore the only the strings to vibrate against the frets and
way to adjust the neck angle was to remove produce a string buzz. If such is the case
the neck from the guitar body. After proper the nut and/or saddle need to be replaced.
neck removal, shims are used at the dove Although the expense involved in fret or
tail joint to properly reset the neck angle in fingerboard dressing or nut and saddle
order to re-establish good playing action. replacement is small, this cost has to be
Once this proper neck angle has been re- added to the investment in the instrument.
established, the neck is reglued to the body
of the guitar. Vintage Guitar Checklist Item #6.-
A properly reset neck does not have a A Quarter Sawn or slab cut wood? On
detrimental effect on the guitar and improves vintage Martin Guitars the back and sides
playability tremendously. The main concern were mostly constructed of either mahogany
here is to ascertain that the neck removal was wood or Brazilian Rosewood. Adirondack
properly done and no shorts cuts were taken. (red) Spruce wood was used for the tops
A shortcut would be to cut the fretboard at until 1946 at which time a change to Sitka
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Spruce wood was made. In 1930 the size
and style stamp was added to the neck
block where the serial number had been
appearing since 1898. The size and style
stamp consists of a letter, or group of
letters, followed by a hyphen and then a
number, such as D-28 or 000-45 and
indicates the size and degree of ornamenta-
tion of the guitar. A Martin D-28 is size
Dreadnought and style 28 (degree of
ornateness). Any style number less than
21 is a mahogany back and sides guitar
and any style number of 21 or higher is a
Brazilian Rosewood back and sides guitar
until very late 1969. In very late 1969, a
switch was made from Brazilian Rosewood
to East Indian Rosewood on the rosewood
guitars due mainly to a lack of availability
of Brazilian Rosewood in log form.
The manner in which the wood is cut is
extremely important to the acoustic value
of the guitar as the wood must be allowed
to vibrate to produce good tone. Straight-
grain, quarter-sawn wood is considered the
most suitable for its maximum vibrating
ability. Although the back and sides of the
guitar are considered secondary to the top
in their need to vibrate, it would be helpful
to good tone if the back and sides also had
good vibrating ability.
Figured (slab-cut) Brazilian Rosewood
is sometimes preferred by some flatpickers
over straight-grained wood because of the
design and natural beauty of the wood
whereas some flatpickers prefer the plainer
more traditional look of the quarter-sawn
wood. In either case, Brazilian Rosewood
is hard, dense, rare, desirable, and excellent
tone-wood and commands very high prices.
Guitars with mahogany back and sides
are sometimes preferred over Rosewood
Guitars because their tone seems to be
brighter and they seem to mic better.
Rosewood Guitars are often considered
more bassy and better rhythm guitars.
Between issues of Flatpicking Guitar,
Id be happy to share my knowledge and
experience of this wonderful hobby of
vintage guitars with anyone interested. I
may be reached at 423/983-5533 (EST,
please). Id also appreciate your feedback
on Vintage Voice.

66 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

Irish traditional dance music
the basics
by John McGann
Flatpicking guitar is a label usually studio by the record producer and told to
associated with American guitar styles at the 2nd fret.
get on with it. Some of the great guitarists
like bluegrass and fiddle tune playing, If you have experience playing American
to listen for are Paul Brady, Daithi Sproule,
representing a style of music rather than fiddle tunes and bluegrass, youll find the
Arty McGlynn, Dave MacIssac, Randall
a technique of guitar playing. The flattop melody and note choices to be familiar.
Bays, Ged Foley, John Doyle etc. Some
dreadnought guitar is the usual chosen Version #1 presents the basic unornamented
of these players fingerpick as well as
instrument. version; apply the usual pattern of alternate
To me, flatpicking guitar means exactly picking (down stroke on the beat, upstroke
DADGAD tuning has become very
that, regardless of style.In columns to come, on the offbeats). In the B part, Ive indicated
popular both as a lead and accompanyment
Ill discuss a variety of music that works fingering the C note on the 3rd string
tuning. Many excellent Celtic musicians
well with a flatpick (or a combination of to avoid string skipping and right hand
use this tuning exclusively. I use it on
flatpick and fingers).Ill start with a series contortions.
occasion, but more frequently stay in
of articles covering a variety of styles, feels Version #2 gives you an ornamented
standard tuning or dropped D, as I find
and tunings used in Celtic music. version. Bar 3 uses a slurred triplet, with
it easier to modulate to other keys more
Celtic music , which includes a wide the pattern down/pull/up. This style of
effectively. I have also adapted some
variety of styles of music from Ireland, triplet allows your right hand to continue
DADGAD concepts to standard tuning.
Scotland, Shetland, Cape Breton, and the flow of alternate picking, and has a
In future articles Ill present some ideas
Brittany, is one of the root sources of our smoother effect than having all three notes
American flatpicking styles. It is relatively picked. Bar 4 presents a version of a fiddle
As a lead voice, the fact that there isnt a
recently that musicians in these styles turn- the A note is followed by the higher
widely established tradition of lead playing
have become performers, as the music scale tone B, back to A, then the lower G,
in these styles gives us the responsibility
was usually played for dances. We are back to A. If A is the target note, the pattern
of looking to other instruments for clues
lucky to live in a time where access to is target/upper/target/lower/target. This
in how to ornament tunes- the little turns,
international music is easy, and there are turn is also found in jazz and classical
triplets etc. that are so characteristic of these
plenty of recordings and concert events. music. To get the smoothest sound, we can
styles. Ive used two obvious sources- Irish
You may also find a local Irish session- downstroke the 1st note, hammer/pull the
banjo for right hand picking techniques,
session is the equivalent of a bluegrass 2nd and 3rd, upstroke the 4th and resume
and fiddle for left hand slurs.
jam session, with one important distinction- the usual alternate picking pattern on the
It is a good idea to immerse yourself
there are no soloists. The melodic instru- 5th note with a downstroke.
in recordings of great players. Dont limit
ments play the melody in unison (more The B section begins with the most
yourself to the handful of guitarists in the
or less) with the guitar usually taking a common banjo-style ornament, the picked
forefront- pay close attention to the other
supportive role of rhythm playing. triplet. We begin by keeping the alternate
instruments, especially the melodic ones.
The reason the guitar is not heard as a picking pattern down/up/down, within the
Even if you choose to remain a rhythm
lead voice at a session is lack of volume. space of one full beat- in other words in the
player and play no melody ever, you should
This shouldnt discourage us, as there are space of the usual down/up. To get back
still have the tune in your head as you
other settings in which to play melody. to the alternate picking pattern, we need
play a supportive role underneath it. If you
Playing in sessions is an essential way to to begin the 2nd beat with a downstroke;
are lucky enough to live in an area where
get a feel for the music, a great way to otherwise well turn the pattern around,
Irish musicians gather for sessions, by all
meet other musicians, and a good excuse which would sound weak. So, after the
means, go and listen, and play.
to have a nice pint. 3rd triplet note, follow through with the
Focusing on Irish music, there are
The guitar does not have a particularly downstroke to attack the 3rd string. You
several essential types of dance tunes in the
distinctive heritage in Celtic music; in fact dont need to think of beat two as a brand
repertoire, the most common being reels,
there are only a handful of albums that new downstroke, just follow through from
jigs, hornpipes and slow airs. Reels are
feature guitar up front as a lead voice. The the 4th string to the 3rd. This technique
the faster 4/4 tunes. Jigs are in 6/8 time.
all important rhythm guitar is a bit more will give you the rapid-fire triplets often
Hornpipes are in a slower, swinging 4/4.
common, and as usual, can be hard to hear played by great banjo players like Seamus
Slow airs are played rubato (out of meter)
in the mix. On some older recordings such Egan and Mick Moloney.
and are beautiful, expressive pieces, some-
as fiddler Michael Colemans 30s and 40s Next issue, well explore some rhythm
times played unaccompanied. This month
sessions, the guitarist or pianist doesnt guitar concepts for the various styles
Im presenting a common Irish session
have a clue whats going on- these poor of Celtic music. Meanwhile, do a lot of
reel Drowsy Maggie, in the flatpicker-
folks were pulled in from a local dance listening, and have fun!
friendly key of D, played in C with a capo
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Capo 2 Drowsy Maggie Arr. J. McGann
Version 1, Part A


0 0 1 3 0 1 0 0
1 1 0 1 3 0 1 3 3 1 1 0 1 3 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 3 0
2 0 2 0 0

Part B

& :

0 1 3 0 1 3 0 1 0
1 3 3 3 1 3 1 0 1
2 0 2 0 0 : 2 5 2 2 0
2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2

Version 2, Part A

& :
0 0 1 3 0 10 0
1 1 0 1 3 0 1 3 3 1 1 0 1 3 0
2 5 2 2 0 2 4 5 0 0:
0 0 0 0 2


3 3
HP 0 0 1 3 0 10 3 0 10 0
1 1 0 1 3 0 1 3 3 3 1 3 1
242 0 2 4 5 0 0 242 0 2 4 5 0 0
2 2

Part B
21 3 3 3

:& :


: 2 5 2 2 0 2 5 2 242 0 2 4 5 0
0 :
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0

68 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

The Tuning of the
by David Moultrup
trigger acute allergic reactions among many
musicians. For example, one fellow was
Even if youve tuned a guitar practically hospitalized with something that
a bazillion times over forty looked like anaphylactic shock when he
years of guitar playing, you heard the phrase natural overtone series
may want to check out some related to one of his strings. He started
to recuperate when he realized that the
invaluable tricks used by pro-
overtone series was directly related to those
fessional tuners. pretty harmonics he loved to use.
Another guitarist broke out in hives when
he was informed that the frequency of his
Tuning remains one of the great mysteries G string (how many times it wiggled back
in the performers world. Most musicians and forth) was double the frequency of the
have what could be called a personal G found at the 3rd fret of his bottom string,
relationship with tuning. Some tackle and half the frequency of the G found at the
it with obsessive determination, some 3rd fret of the top string. It didnt seem to
with anxiety, some with exasperation and matter that all octaves had that relationship
frustration. That it remains so mysterious with each other, he just never was able to
for so many is interesting, considering recover. Some people, for unknown reasons,
the immense amount of time and energy have found the topic interesting, and claim
invested in practicing instruments and that it helps to round out their understanding
preparing performances. If it is too mysteri- of music. Those who are intrigued with
ous, it also can be a problem, for example, that idea, and who are willing to enter
for other musicians on the gig who are the treacherous territory of the physics of
cursed with ears that can hear an out of sound on their own, are referred to the card
tune string from across the hall. catalogue of their local library.
Improved technology has helped rescue Customs in western music have evolved
people who consider themselves frequency- to divide the space between the octaves into
impaired. Those fancy little boxes with twelve semi-tones, or half steps. These half
lights are great at noisy jam sessions, clubs, steps are the same as going from one fret to
and stages that echo like canyons. But the next on a guitar or mandolin, or going
theres still ample reason to consider that from one key to the next on a piano. This
a good pair of ears, in a quiet room, could twelve step custom is decidedly different
out-do the best technology. Those ears, than in other cultures, where many more
though, need a little bit of training to do steps have been established, with many
their job. More training, that is, than micro-tones.
match the tone at the 5th fret with the next There is, however, a relatively new custom
higher string. related to dividing the octave into twelve
But theres not all that much to know! steps. Years ago, in harpsichord times, notes
For everybody getting ready to bail out were tuned to perfectly correspond to the
now, take a deep breath, and grab hold of natural overtone series. But if the strings
the side of the chair. A little knowledge were in tune for one key, this would leave
about tuning can actually go a long way, them naturally out of tune for some different
and you may be pleasantly surprised with keys. It was a bit of a drag to take time
the feeling of control over the instrument to tune several times in the middle of a
that comes with actually being able to tune performance. (Banjo players, take note).
the monster on your own. Thus evolved what is currently called
tempered tuning, where, in effect, all of
The Basics the notes other than A440 are fudged a little
Tuning is based on two interacting bit, so that the instruments can be heard to
elements, physics and established customs. be in tune for every key, without being
The physics of tuning is a hazardous topic re-tuned.
which, for safety reasons, will but briefly This notion of tempered tuning may be of
be acknowledged. The topic seems to particular interest to those of you who have
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
noticed that your favorite guitars seem to There is one last, and extremely important
have the problem of being in tune for one tuning principle to mention. Although
key, and out of tune for another key. 4ths and 5ths can be tuned perfectly, with
no beats, good tempered tuning intention-
Tuning Principles ally puts very slight, slow beats in these
Imagine two notes having a certain space intervals. Fourths are made wide, and
between them. This is not the number of fifths are corresponding made narrow.
32nds/inch between any two strings, but the Octaves and unisons (e.g., think of a twelve
invisible space between two sounds. An string guitar) are tuned perfectly, with
in-tune instrument has the right amount no beats.
of space between each of the different
notes. Admittedly, right is relative, and A Tuning Routine
even a little bit personal, in that different Begin with an A440 Tuning Fork, whack
people may have different preferences it on your knee, and hold the bottom end
as to how to compromise. But there are between your teeth. With the fork still
generally accepted standards, which is vibrating, hit the 5th fret harmonic on the
what we will be using here. 5th string, the A string. Do Not listen to
The space between the two sounds, the two sounds separately. Listen for the
being invisible as it is, happens to have beats. Just in case you cant find them,
a different measuring tool available, by way they should be vibrating through your head
of our ears. This measuring tool is a pulsing about this time. Tune the string until there
sound, called beats, which can be heard are no beats. Whack the fork a second time
when sounds are played together. if you need to, but dont forget to take it out
You can hear beats for the first time by of your mouth when youre done.
playing the top two strings of the guitar Hit the 5th fret harmonic on the 5th
at the same time, and changing the tuning string, and match it to the 7th fret harmonic
of one of the strings ever so slightly. As on the 4th string, the D string. This time,
you change that string, you will hear beats after you have gotten the D string to be
above the sound of the strings. Dont perfect, with no beats, stretch the interval
listen to the pitch of either string separately, slightly wide, by moving the D string up a
listen to the beats generated by the two tiny bit. Moving up means tightening the
sounds together. These beats are the key string, and making it more sharp.
to good, accurate tuning. There will be some play in the string,
Certain intervals - unisons, fourths, where you will be able to move the tuner
fifths, and octaves, when tuned perfectly, and still not begin to get beats. Depending
will have no beats in the interval. If the on your guitar, you may only need to move
two notes are too far apart, or too wide, the D string up to the high side of the
there will be beats. Likewise, there will be no-beat area, or you may need to move it
beats if they are too narrow. The further so that you actually hear a very slow beat -
away from perfect, the faster the beats. less than one beat/second.
As the two notes get closer, the beats will Repeat this last process with the G string,
slow down, and eventually stop completely. with exactly the same goals and outcome.
Since these intervals have no beats when Match the open top E string with the 7th
tuned perfectly, they are the intervals which fret harmonic of the A string, which was the
can be used to achieve the most accurate string originally tuned to the fork. Again,
tuning for an instrument. listen for beats and not for pitch.
All other intervals will naturally have Tune the 2nd string, B, to the 1st string, E,
beats. This is particularly critical for the using the 5th fret harmonic on the B string
guitar as it relates to the 3rd and 2nd string, and 7th fret harmonic on the E string.
from G to B. This is a major 3rd, which Finally, tune the 6th string, the bottom E,
has beats in it naturally. In effect, a major by again matching the 5th fret harmonic
3rd is too forgiving of an interval, and as on the 6th string to the 7th fret harmonic
such isnt a suitable citizen for being tuned. on the 5th string.
Basically, because of the natural beats, it Be careful. With both the 2nd and
is possible for these strings to sound OK 6th strings, it is now the top string that
relative to each other, even when one or stays constant, and the bottom string that
both of them may be off relative to the is adjusted. Thus, to make these intervals
other intervals on the guitar, which are wider, the lower string will need to be
much more critical to the overall tuning lowered a tiny bit, rather than raising the
of the instrument. upper string, as was done with D and G.
70 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
As you undoubtedly noticed, no direct to tune with harmonics.
tuning happened between the 3rd and 2nd Certainly, hearing the
strings, again related to the natural beats in intervals with the beats,
this interval. If all else came out right, this without the harmonics,
interval should have taken care of itself. is a useful skill. It would
give you that many more
Debugging and Cross-Checking options when faced with
Most of us seem to have the capacity a stubbornly out-of-tune
to make a mistake here and there in this guitar. In any case, being
process. As you practice this routine, see grounded in basic tuning
if you can discover your own weak spots, principles will give you
and work to eliminate them. For example, the tools to tune your
I know I have a tendency to tune the top E monster.
slightly sharp relative to the A string, so I
intentionally watch that and monitor it. David Moultrup is
In doing cross-checking, examine the a musician from Lex-
intervals that need to be as close to perfect ington, MA. He has
as possible, the octaves, fifths and fourths. a private practice in
These intervals, of course, are found all psychotherapy and has
over the guitar. For example, there is a published in the mental
fifth found between the 3rd fret of the 6th health literature. In a
string, and the 4th string open. Generally, past life, he was a piano
the fifths and fourths in the bass area need tuner.
to have no beats in them. They need to be
dead intervals.
The octaves should also be dead. This is
particularly critical as it relates to playing
octaves on the guitar, with the 1st and 3rd
strings, 2nd and 4th strings, and so on.
Take the 1st and 3rd strings as an example.
If the tuning was done well, the G string
will have been stretched up enough that
the octave with the 1st string will sound
clean, with no beats. This can be checked
initially with the 12 fret harmonic on
the G string, and the 3rd fret of the 1st
string. Further checking happens with
any combination where the 1st string is
fretted three frets higher than the 3rd string
(e.g. 5th fret of 3rd string, and 8th fret of
1st string.)

Multiple Strings
On instruments with sets of multiple
strings, such as 12 string guitars and
mandolins, this same basic procedure can
be followed. It is crucial, however, to tune
one of the two strings to a reference string, CHRIS JONES BLINDED BY THE ROSE
then tune the set with itself. An out of Strictly Country Records (SCR-40)
tune unison or octave will be much more featuring: Ron Block, Adam Steffey, Barry Bales, Rob Ickes,
noticeable than an interval that is slightly and other special guests
off with the rest of the instrument. The
trick, again, is to not listen to the two
. . . run right out and buy it, order it, beg for it,
pitches separately, but to listen to the beats its that good. Bluegrass Now
created by the two strings together. . . . Cool! Bluegrass Canada
CD available in stores where bluegrass is sold. Cassette available
Further Horizons
through mail order, send $10 (postage is included) to:
Tuning lore has many more stories. For Chris Jones, P.O. Box 984, Franklin, TN 37065
example, there are those who dont like (Canadian and other orders outside the U.S. add $1.00 per cassette)

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997
Classified ads will be accepted for guitar and musical related items @ 40 a word, 50 a word
for bold lower case type, 60 a word for bold upper case type. Please call (800) 413-8296 to
order, or send ad to High View Publications, P.O. Box 51967, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Instructional Material:
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Rd., Hamburg NY 14075


Correspondence Course. Certificate issued on completion. Beginning courses also
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courses, write to: Jim Sutton Institute of Guitar 23014 Quail Shute, Spring, TX
77389 E-mail: JSuttonISG@aol.com

Guitars, Strings, and Accesories:

1993 Martin D-28 Limited Ed. 1935 Reissue, very good condition, great
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72 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997




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73 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997

74 Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Jan/Feb 1997