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Flatpicking
(By Tyson)

   Okay, so maybe you don'tl live and Arkansas and sit out on your porch picking a banjo while you watch the John Deer tractors drive by.  Maybe you don't even like country music.  Maybe you hate it with passion.  I'm here to tell you that you're not alone.
   "So why are you writing a lesson about flatpicking?"  You ask, "couldn't you spare me the torment of having a flatpicking lesson on my favorite website online?"
   Sure, I could probably teach you something else and avoid hundreds of nasty e-mails saying I ruined your day, but would you be the better for it?
   Imagine that you were sitting around strumming your 6 string (or 7 or 12 or whatever you've got) and a cowboy and 12 big strong guys on motorcycles came up to you and told you they want to hear some hoe-down guitar.  What would you do? What would you say?
   Alright, that probably won't happen to you, but this is also useful for annoying family members and if you live in the west, you can't go on with guitar before reading this lesson.  Let's begin.
   Flatpicking is basically just picking the root note and then strumming the chord.  Here's an example in the key of G.
 

  Em                  C 
e-------0-0---------0------0-0-------0-
B------0---0-------0------1---1-----1--
G-----0-----0-----0------0-----0---0---
D----2-------2---2------2-------2-2----
A---2---------2-2-----3----------------
E-0------------------------------------

 D              G
e-----2-2-----2-------3-3---------3-
B----3---3---3-------3---3-------3--
G---2-----2-2-------0-----0-----0---
D-0----------------0-------0---0----
A-----------------2---------2-2-----
E---------------3-------------------

   Also, many chords have what I call an "alternate root note." It will be the 9th note down from the real root.  That would make the alternate for D be A, the alternate for A is E.... you get the point.  You can flatpick using an alternating root note (one that moves back and forth from the root to the alternate.)  Here's an example in the key of C.  Notice that when it goes to Am, the alternate changes to E.

.
e---0---0---0---0---------
B---1---1---1---1---------
G---0---0---0---0---------
D---2---2---2---2---------
A-3-------3---------0-2-3-
E-----3-------3---3-------

e---0---0---0---0---------
B---1---1---1---1---------
G---0---0---0---0---------
D---2---2---2---2---------
A-3-------3---------3-2-0-
E-----3-------3---3-------

e-0--0---0--0-----
B-1--1---1--1-----
G-2--2---2--2-----
D-2--2---2--2-----
A------0------0-2-
E--0-------0------

e---0---0---0---0-------0-
B---1---1---1---1-------1-
G---0---0---0---0-------0-
D---2---2---2---2-------2-
A-3-------3---------0-2-3-
E-----3-------3---3-------

   Here's another example using G.
 

e---3---3---3---3---3---3-------3-
B---3---3---3---3---3---3-------3-
G---4---4---4---4---4---4-------4-
D-5-------5-------5---------2-4-5-
A-----5-------5-------5---5-------
E---------------------------------

   "But no good bands use flatpicking!" you scream in agony as you read this lesson, "why should I have to know it!?"  Have any of you ever heard of Third Day?  Ha! I thought so!  They have a song called "I've Always Loved  You" on their "Time" CD that contains some real nice flatpicking.  Here's how to do it.  (There is a capo on the 4th fret by the way.)
 

e----0-0-0-----0-0-0-----0-0-0-----0-0-0----0----0-
B----1-1-1-----1-1-1-----1-1-1-----1-1-1----1----1-
G----0-0-0-----0-0-0-----0-0-0-----0-0-0--2-2--0-0-
D----2-2-2-----0-0-0--3---------2---------3----2---
A-3---------2--------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------------------

e---3-3-3---3-3-3----3-3-3---3-3-3-
B---0-0-0---1-1-1----0-0-0---1-1-1-
G---0-0-0---0-0-0----0-0-0---0-0-0-
D---0-0-0---0-0-0----0-0-0---0-0-0-
A---2-2-2---2-2-2----2-2-2---2-2-2-
E-3-------3--------3-------3-------

>   That's it.  Now you have graduated my flatpicking course and you are an official flatpicking master.  That means you can go flatpick on your front porch (making up some of your own stuff too, of course) until your neighbors call the cops on you for disturbing the peace.  Have fun.



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