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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Flatpicking Fiddle Tunes - Instructionals

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Dick Hauser - Posted - 01/16/2021:  07:50:17

I regularly flatpick lots of fiddle tunes. I am not interested in playing "breaks" as I am playing rhythm. For tunes with chord progressions like most country tunes standard transitional licks work fine. But I would like to know more about playing tunes with frequent chord changes, especially long uninterrupted series of measures full of chord changes. Tunes like "Blackberry Blossom". If I use nothing but regular chord transition lick, the rhythm seems to disappear and what I play sounds like an exercise.

If you play rhythm for fiddle tunes, I would appreciate reading any hints or suggestions you may have. I own the "Flatpick Essential" series, but I think I need to learn more about playing rhythm for fiddle tunes. I looked for an instructional book, but no luck so far. Lots of on melody, not as much for rhythm.

Tony O Rourke - Posted - 01/16/2021:  15:38:34

There's a lovely version of Goodbye Liza Jane here: with Wyatt Rice playing backup and Kenny Smith playing the melody. There's nothing especially diificult in the back up which is often what the melody player wants, just straight, solid backing.
For Blackberry Blossom I'd play something along these lines:
A Section ||: G D| C G |C G |A7 D |G D | C G |C G |D G :||
B Section ||: Em | | |Em B7| Em | |C G |D G :||
If you can find a recording of Dick and Camelia Fegy playing a tune called ''Possum Up A Gum Stump'' on a Kicking Mule LP from the 1970s it's worth having a listen to. The LP was imaginatively called Flatpicking Guitar and a number of other flatpickers are on it. I use that recording when teaching people how to play basic back up to a fiddle tune.

Tony O Rourke - Posted - 01/16/2021:  15:45:29

Possum Up A Gum Stump, Dick & Camelia Fegy:
Drunken Billy Goat:

Jim Yates - Posted - 01/23/2021:  18:59:12

I try to figure out an interesting bass line to go with the chords. I might do something like this for Blackberry Blossom:

_____3______2__ _____0_____3__ ______0______3__ ______3________

_____0______3__ _____1_____0__ ______1______0__ ______2________

__0__0______2__ _____0_____0__ ______0______0__ ______2________

_________4__4__ __2__2__0__0__ ______2______0__ ______2__0__4_

________________ _______________ __3______2______ __0___________

________________ _______________ ________________ _______________

Repeat the first 3 bars then:







I'll let you figure out the B part.

Dick Hauser - Posted - 01/28/2021:  07:05:50

I think I will play a recording of "Blackberry Blossom" and just try different rhythm techniques. It is melodically, a "busy" tune. So a simple rhythm pattern will probably end up sounding best. Chords change so fast regular chord transition notes would compete with the guitarist playing melody. I will watch some Youtube videos and see what the rhythm guitar player is doing.

I also play fiddle and 5 string. I already play lots of tunes on the fiddle, and that made learning to play the tunes on the guitar easier. Especially when guitarists play them in the same keys as the fiddlers.

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