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  #1  
Old 05-17-2019, 01:53 AM
Jack Orion Jack Orion is offline
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Default How to get started flatpicking?

Hi all,

I've been playing 15 years, and the last ten years or so have been focussed on fingerstyle - a big hero of mine is Bert Jansch and I've spent a lot of time first of all learning some of his music, and then adapting that style of playing into my own style.

I would modestly say I'm a pretty good player in that style - anyone who wants to be the judge of this can see me play here:



But I also really like a lot of the Norman Blake stuff I hear and I really love Julian Lage's World'f Fair album and I'd like to be able to mix it up a bit and put some flatpicking into my playing...

The issue is I'm not really schooled in a lot of this music and I'm not sure where to start - when it came to learning 'british folk fingerpicking style' I started with Angi as it seemed to be the standard piece that encapsulated a lot of the ideas behind the style without being impossible to play - is there an equivalent flatpicking piece?

Also a few album recommendations would be really good - I have Whisky Before Breakfast and that's it...

Thanks!
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:02 AM
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srick srick is online now
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Jack - I would heartily recommend the "Flatpicking Essential' series from flatpick.com - it's a spiral bound book and CD course that is is slanted towards bluegrass. Online, you might want to check out some of the courses at Truefire, particularly, Brad Carlton's. I am on a similar path to you and have been working through his "Solid Strumming" course, which is very basic, but sometimes you need to hear those basics in a different way. Brad packs a lot into his 'basic' lessons and covers a lot of levels.

best,

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Old 05-17-2019, 09:46 AM
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I'll second the Flatpicking Essentials series. Yes, it is oriented towards Bluegrass (at lease in the early volumes), but the knowledge and technique transcends genres.

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Old 05-17-2019, 01:32 PM
leew3 leew3 is offline
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You might also check out Scott Nygard's Intermediate Flatpicking course on Peghead Nation's site.
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Old 05-18-2019, 08:59 AM
Riverwolf Riverwolf is offline
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https://musicwithryan.com/

Lots of good stuff
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Old 05-18-2019, 09:48 AM
Charlieb Charlieb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leew3 View Post
You might also check out Scott Nygard's Intermediate Flatpicking course on Peghead Nation's site.
truth right here...Scott is a really good teacher/excellent player and I believe the first month is free
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:57 AM
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Besides a book, simply flat picking scales (alternating up/down) and the open strings alone, with the hand floating {don't bridge for this}, will build up control and speed. Years ago all I did was flat pick.
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:09 PM
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Steve Kaufman has the most in depth flatpicking lessons I’ve found yet.
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Old 05-23-2019, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Orion View Post
Hi all,...But I also really like a lot of the Norman Blake stuff I hear and I really love Julian Lage's World'f Fair album and I'd like to be able to mix it up a bit and put some flatpicking into my playing...The issue is I'm not really schooled in a lot of this music and I'm not sure where to start -
Thanks!
Since you already have some (great sounding!) chops, a good place to start is with repertoire; just learn some fiddle tunes. I think you likely have an educated enough ear that if you listen to some great examples, you'll be able to make good judgements about how your own playing is developing.

Although flatpicking is certainly employed in a number of genres, bluegrass probably has the deepest well of talent, accessible material and opportunities for collaboration. Doc Watson and Tony Rice are two contemporaries of Norman Blake and have probably done more to define bluegrass guitar flatpicking than any other individuals (although the list of GREAT flatpickers, especially contemporary ones, is LONG). Definitely dig into them.

If you'd like instruction with feedback, that goes a step or two beyond books or Peghead Nation (both of which I've used), check out Artistworks/Bryan Sutton. Very highly recommended.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:08 AM
DesertTwang DesertTwang is online now
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I second the recommendation for Dan Miller's Essential Flatpicking series, with one caveat: For someone as accomplished as the OP, the series's pace is painfully slow. Even I found the progress too slow, and that was starting from a blank slate; I had no proficiency on the guitar in any style, and flatpicking still is the only technique I can do. I own all of the books but I didn't stick with them, because the series really is engineered (literally) around the beginning guitar player, and the learning curve is very, very shallow. Dan is an engineer by training, and it shows in the -- sometimes excessive -- thoroughness of how he presents his material. I think the series is excellent for someone who has no distractions that keep them from studying every single day and a lot of patience. Also, every lesson builds on a previous one, and I don't find the Essential Flatpicking series very suitable for someone who wants to jump ahead. I'm not saying the series isn't an excellent guide to flatpicking (it is for sure), all I'm saying is that for someone with distractions like job, family, etc. working through the entire series will likely take many years.

In my mind, the most important aspect that the OP would benefit from is not so much the scales and fretboard stuff, since he probably knows all that, but the emphasis on the technique of flatpicking, and how it relates to rhythm and groove. Those aspects are at the center of Bryan Sutton's Bluegrass Guitar School on artistworks.com, and for the past few years that I've taken his course, I have progressed quite a bit. Bryan's curriculum is much less dependent on sequence, and I could see it being much easier for an already accomplished player to pick and choose the lessons they want to focus on. And as others have pointed out, the fact that you can submit videos to Bryan for feedback is priceless in my opinion. I have had interactions with Bryan from which I learned more than any book could ever teach me, especially when it comes to aspects that simply cannot be conveyed through a book or even a video. It's all about the feedback, and Bryan is the best teacher, hands down, I've ever encountered in my 40+ years of playing various instruments.
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Last edited by DesertTwang; 06-04-2019 at 01:40 PM.
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  #11  
Old 06-03-2019, 11:38 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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  #12  
Old 06-03-2019, 04:19 PM
trickpat trickpat is offline
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I’ll give another vote to Bryan Sutton’s ArtistWorks course. I too am a long time fingerstyle player that relatively recently got interested in flatpicking. I signed up for the course a couple of months ago. I have not submitted any videos to Bryan yet but I’m already starting to progress a bit. Watching the videos of Bryan giving advice on other player’s submitted performances has been very helpful already.
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  #13  
Old 06-03-2019, 04:24 PM
trickpat trickpat is offline
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By the way, that’s some excellent guitar playing by the OP. Nice work Jack Orion. Nice guitar, nice voice, nice song, excellent playing!
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