What Is Flatpicking?

What Is Flatpicking?

Just like you, I live in the internet age; and so I do a lot of my socializing online. I imagine that most people are pretty choosy about who they talk to online - and I am too, but in a very different way. I always wind up talking most often to people that I've never seen - and truly those people are my best friends other than the few that I've known in my personal life, and for a very long time.

I've got a friend over in Italy that is a very good jazz guitarist. If you understand how Facebook conversations go, then you can see how I could be talking to a German guitarist about flatpicking, and then our mutual friend, the Italian jazz guitarist comes into the conversation, or "thread" as they like to call them now, and asks me,

"What is this flatpicking you are talking about? My pick is flat! Am I flatpicking?"

Please note! The question above is the only question asked by Frank, the Jazz guitarist - the rest of the "interview" or conversation is my fabrication, and the make believe character in no way resembles Frank, the jazz guitarist, or his personality at all.

Truly, this modern world has some amazing, and wonderful things to offer to us - but we are being compensated for what has been lost.

Traditional Flatpicking and Flatpickers.

Source

Wesman Todd Shaw - an amateur flatpicker.

Doc Watson, One Of The Original American Flatpickers.

Source

Clarence White - One of The GREATEST Flatpickers to have ever lived.

Django Reinhardt - the French Gypsy Jazz Master Flatpicker.

Source

David Bromberg Has Been A Flatpicking Master for a very long time.

What Flatpicking Is.

Of course my Italian jazz guitarist friend had a legitimate question, and only the most bizarre plectrums are not flat, so naturally, flatpicking is playing a stringed instrument with a plectrum, or "pick." But the truth of the matter is that when someone is talking about flatpicking, they aren't talking about playing jazz on a guitar with a plectrum at least not in the traditional sense of the word, and neither are they talking about Jimi Hendrix, or Eric Clapton playing Fender Stratocaster electric guitars plugged into Marshal amplifiers either - even though flat picks or plectrums are used for this.

"So, what is flatpicking?"

Flatpicking is simply the playing of traditional music, or new music with traditional roots, on a steel string acoustic guitar - that, my friends, is an over simplified answer, but it's a legitimate answer. I'm not always so pleased with Wikipedia, but I think that the Wikipedia article about flatpicking is really pretty good, very clear, and surprisingly informative. That being said, I've been interested in flatpicking for twenty five years out of my thirty seven, so I think that I can tell you quite a bit more about it.

"What do you presume to mean by your term, not mine - 'traditional music?' traditional for who?"

That's really a very good question. I'm sorry that I was vague - it was unintentional. When I say that flatpicking is playing "traditional music" on a steel string acoustic guitar, and playing that music with a "pick" or plectrum, what I mean is that it's playing the music that was and is traditional for the original European immigrants to America. When I say that, I do not mean to say that this does not include the music of the Irish immigrants that came later. Celtic music is a huge part of, and influence on what I am saying is the traditional music of the original European immigrants to America.

"So it sounds to me like what you are saying is that this flatpicking thing is all about white people, white culture - and all of those things that we know are bad!"

That's truly something that a mentally challenged person would say. It's very shameful that American media promotes only music that celebrates materialism, sexual promiscuity, and "gangster culture." Flatpicking certainly isn't promoted in mainstream American mass media, and we'd not have it any other way. Flatpicking is an honest person's art form. It takes brains and talent, honesty and integrity to succeed in traditional music from any culture. Nothing glamorized in American mass media is of much value. I'd personally hate to see flatpicking destroyed by any association with mass media.

"It still sounds to me like this flatpicking thing is all about 'white people,' and just isn't very cross cultural - it's like hillbilly crap, or something"

That's a completely ignorant statement that can only be based in a social prejudice that I find to be disgusting. One of the things that the Wikipedia article did not mention is that most of the truly great flatpickers in the world recognize Django Reinhard, an early 20th century French jazz musician of Roma, or "Gypsy" decent as one of the founders of not only flatpicking, but of any style of music that has a guitarist playing leads or melodies with a pick or plectrum. Truly, the "Gypsy Jazz" music of Django, and his fiddle playing sidekick, Stephan Grappeli, is timeless music without which modern music would not be so interesting. Other prominent flatpickers are persons like David Bromberg, Steve Kaufman, and Russ Barenberg - and if you don't know, then these are Jewish names. Flatpicking is an art form that anyone can take up, and try to master. We flatpickers, and flatpicking fans welcome all who are interested in our music.

"Dude, it's clear that you hate the media - but has this flatpicking thing of which you speak ever been a part of popular culture in America?"

Of Course it has! Doc Watson, one of the persons I like to consider as one of "The Godfathers" of flatpicking - became well known during the hippie folk revival of the 1960s. Doc Watson is still alive, but he's very old. I believe that Doc still performs live sometimes - it would be a treasure for anyone to get to see him. I'm very unfortunate in that I've never seen Doc play live. I've met some of the great flatpickers - but I've never seen Doc Watson.

Another of the founders and greats of this style of music is the late, great Clarence White. Clarence White became a professional musician at a very young age, and I have compact discs with Clarence White playing bluegrass music with Doc Watson. Later on, Clarence White became the lead guitarist, and occasional singer for The Byrds. If you don't know who The Byrds are - then I can't help you.

James Patrick Page, or Jimmy Page, as he is most often called - was a fan of both Clarence White, and Doc Watson. When Jimmy's group, maybe you've heard of it, Led Zeppelin, created their third album, Led Zeppelin III, Jimmy Page brought a Martin D 28 into the studio, and recorded some songs with definite flatpicking influences, and out right Doc Watson "licks" in them. Also, Jimmy Page became one of the first persons to copy some of Clarence White's electrical guitar ideas, and soon he had himself a Fender Telecaster with a Parsons/White "B Bender" installed on it, and he used that pretty extensively with Led Zeppelin as well.

Also, . . .

"STOP! Why don't you just show me some flatpicking in modern music, not that old time stuff you keep talking about!"

You interrupted me, and that's pretty rude. I don't much care for that - but I am eager to hear some great flatpicking. The first video that I'm going to show you is by a country rock band called Pure Prairie League, and their song, Aimee, has one of the finest flatpicking guitar solos in it that I've ever heard in popular music. Once at the Walnut Valley Festival, in Winfield, Kansas - I saw a kid who couldn't have been older than twelve, and he played that solo perfectly. further further ado, lets hear some flatpicking!


"Amie," With Flatpicking Intro and Solos

Continuing Interview Concerning Flatpicking.

"Okay, yeah - I'd heard that 'Aime" song before. It's got some nice lead guitar in it - I'll grant you that, but that 'Aime" song is older than I am!"

Well, chill out, bro! This Hubpages article is my show - and it's Mother's Day today, and I'm going to make my yearly appearance in church. Let me find you something a bit more modern, and in a different genre, okay? The thing is this though, Flatpicking will always be mostly a country, old time, Celtic, Folk, and Bluegrass music thing - it's mostly about ancient fiddle tunes being played on a Martin "flat top" guitar. But here you go, if you listen to this tune by Days Of The New, there's some flatpicking in the guitar solo.

Days Of The New - Modern Rock, but with a Flatpicking Guitar Solo.

"NICE! I really enjoyed that! You know, everyone knows that rock and roll music was based upon the blues for the most part. So maybe this flatpicking thing is cross cultural!"

I'm glad to see you are catching on. I've got to get ready for church, and I don't often go, or get up this early in the day - Especially considering that I stayed up late talking to you, correcting your ignorance, and talking to some wonderful, and some not so wonderful friends on Facebook last night.

Flatpicking is mostly a bluegrass entity these days, and I do love bluegrass. Bill Monroe is thought to be the "Father of Bluegrass," and Bill Monroe, were he still living, would tell you that he was a huge fan of the blues as well. Now, I can't honestly think of any African American flatpickers - but African American country blues players were a huge influence on everyone in rock and roll, bluegrass, folk, and even some of today's rap music. Jimmy Page and Doc Watson both will tell you all about Players like Huddie Ledbetter, Robert Johnson, and many, many more - those guys most often played with their fingers, and with slides, but sometimes they played with picks too. Sooner or later - you know it will happen, some young African American kid will take up flatpicking in earnest, and set the world on fire. That's just the way things happen. It's sort of like how Jeff Beck said that after hearing Jimi Hendrix play for the first time - he didn't touch a guitar for six months. Luckily for us all though, Jeff Beck decided to not give up - but to take up the guitar as if he hadn't played it before, and then he created some of the greatest jazz fusion ever recorded.

Conclusion.

I hope you've enjoyed this oddball bit about flatpicking. I have to give credit for my weirdness, and credit is due to this very brilliant fellow for a large part of this thing's strange style.

I think everyone should read DRBJ, and his amazing interview Hub style. I only interview the idiots that get in my head, DRBJ interviews the dead - big difference!

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Comments 53 comments

Geeter Dan 5 years ago

Hi Wes. I really enjoyed your blog. As far as a famous African American flatpicker, Taj Mahal dabbles in traditional music. I know that he plays clawhammer banjo. Perhaps he has also done some flatpicking. I have one of his albums, but it is primarily bluesy rock.


MysteryPlanet profile image

MysteryPlanet 5 years ago

Read and enjoyed. Your sense of humor is cool and I like the way you laid this out with the Q&A


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

voted up. i love folk rock. does paul simon ever flatpick?


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Geeter Dan, thanks for the comment! I like Taj Mahal, I'll have to do some looking around to see if he does any flatpicking. I know he does great fingerstyle acoustic blues. I love "Fishing Blues" by Taj Mahal.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey MysteryPlanet!!! Thanks for the compliment. I always wonder if anyone will like it when I do things differently like that.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey cathylynn99, Paul Simon is a great fingerstyle player, and a great rhythm player. I'm not sure that he does much flatpicking - but everything that he does is great, IMO. He once hired Al Di Meola to play on one of his albums too.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Well,well, did ya slobber as you slept through the sermon?[smile]Ha!Hope you made your mom happy, we only have them for a while and "some times it seems to short",Don't worry your woman will tell you the same thing. I started on a steel string "Sears, $7.50 Silver Tone" guitar back in 1958 or so.

Had to do a lot of chores to get it. I took up with Willie and his stuff was "Appalachian folk music, maritime folk music, blues, bluegrass, gospel, anglo, old-time music" according to Wiki, so I used a flat pick on much of his stuff. Arizona State offered classical and flamingo guitar for 3 weeks in the summer and it was open to those who had a guitar and 56 bucks. That got you in the class and a room in the empty dorms of summer and a cafeteria card. I don't think you can get shoe string now with 56 bucks. The old man grudgingly coughed up the $$ Mom slipped me 25 behind his back. I don't even know what possessed me to take a classical music course. So I showed up with my toy guitar with steel strings and the rich kids about laughed me out the door. The instructor was a long-haired bare foot hippie kind of guy. He blew me away with his finger picking abilities as he kinda showed off, I'd been studying Willie and learning his picking on Under the Double Eagle I had played the record so many times picking it up a bit at a time I think Pops was about ready to shove the little record player and my guitar up my butt and set us all on fire in the back yard. The first 50 seconds of this will introduce you to what I could do on that cheap little guitar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_8zQG6yIVM so he went round and asked the older students with nice classical guitars to give him a sample of what you got, so 60% didn't know how to tune their guitars and 40% knocked us out with the 60 second waltz from a beginning guitar self teaching book that seemed we all had, then I flat picked them a$$ holes out the door with Willies rendition. I showed the next day with my el cheepo strung with nylon and tuned 15 times in the night before stretching the strings in and four of those around the finger steel picks. We spent a week on alternating fingers in rows running scales up and down, then the next week he threw a 4 chord set at us with the 4 finger Am-Dm-Am-Em with the base note thumb and three finger chord rotation. At Night I'd drop the thumb crap and go for the flat pick base with hammer on and the the rest of the three using the pinky. So at the last two days we got to do a guitar recital and I threw in the flat pick and three fingers with steel finger picks and aced it, the others cried fowl so I took off the picks and went to thumb and last 3 fingers picking and still aced it. The following summer I got to go back after working evenings after school and week ends mowing golf coarse greens and fairways with a Martin G-20 strung in nylon just like Willies and I'm still trying to wear a hole in it performing for the howling coyotes at dark most every evening.

Great hub voted it up and enjoyed it, thanks for bringing up the memories, flat picking works in classical Flamingo and hillbilly or what ever you want to throw down, dusty


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Hi Wesman. I really liked the way that you wrote this up. It's not a subject that I know a lot about, but you brought it to life.

I enjoyed the videos as well.

Thank you.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Dusty! Wasn't "Under The Double Eagle" a military marching tune, originally?

One of my big regrets in life is not applying for a guitar scholarship at Tyler Junior College when I got out of high school. I was a pretty damn good flatpicker when I got out of high school - cause that was just about all that I did then. I still somehow didn't think that I was good enough. I had major issues - still do, really.

I remember the instructor even calling the house, but I never returned his call. I was just sure that I wasn't any good. Stupid me. It wasn't a huge scholarship, but every little bit counts, and of course I paid for most all of my college - so very stupid of me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9YkYWxBWNs

That's Norman Blake doing the double eagle. I haven't met Norman, but one of my uncles has met him. I've met a lot of the great flatpickers. Interestingly enough, the uncle who has met Norman Blake no longer flatpicks - he plays classical.

I can do some basic fingerstyle, "Travis Picking," you know - "Dust in The Wind." - and that sort of thing.

Willie Nelson is really a good guitarist - and he's sort of created his own picking technique. I seriously think that he almost exclusively picks with down strokes - odd!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thank You, Christopher! I hadn't published anything in so dang long that it was exciting all over again!

I'd not dare copy the DRBJ interview style, so I just interviewed a random make believe stereotype of a person that may or may not resemble anyone alive.

I'm going to explore the theme of flatpicking some more - because I think I do best when I do what I want to do, rather than what I think people want me to do, subject wise.


Tracy Savage profile image

Tracy Savage 5 years ago

Great article! I really enjoyed it! Thanks for bringing up the all around influence of this style- it pervades everything. Might be why I liked CS&N so much. When you say flatpicking, the bluegrass comes to mind and then Tony Rice and definitely Doc Watson. I recognized Jimmy Page's style right off the bat too, being a diehard Led Zep fan.

Have you heard of the Japanese homage publication (I listen to a lot of Japanese music- Tomoyasu Hotei, Skin and X Japan for example- but the country is just on a musical revolution with the western roots of rock and guitar for the last few decades) to Clarence White: The Clarence White Chronicles http://www.urban.ne.jp/home/koa7/cronicles1.htm It's a pretty good little collection of anecdotes about him from others in the music biz, and just all around interesting if you are into him, his music and his travels.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Tracy - Thanks! I've run into Japanese citizens, or Japanese Americans when at music stores, and in the expensive "flat top" acoustic guitar section, and those guys are definitely sometimes into flatpicking. I can't remember exactly for sure - but I think there was a group of either Japanese, or Japanese Americans at the Walnut Valley Festival the last time I went, seven or eight years ago.

I'm very impressed that you know about Tony Rice. Outside of Doc Watson, Tony is the man I'd most like to meet. Doc Watson was a huge ground breaker for the genre, but Tony Rice is rivaled only by Clarence White, and he plays one of Clarence White's guitars, mostly - a 1935 Martin D 28, the world's most famous and copied instrument - not that year Martin D 28, but rather, Tony Rice's personal guitar, that used to belong to Clarence. . .

That sentence probably sucked grammar wise. . .

I'm going to check out that link now!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Wesman, I really don't know about it being a military march, it was a sound I liked and caught snipits back then of his performances and he like me do use 80% down strokes, to me they are just natural being self taught for the most part, but down strokes is where the hole in Willies Martin come from and I like his sound so I've copied it down to the guitar and gold wrapped studio strings from Bella, no finger slide sounds on the humbucker through the Les Paul amp at about #3 setting. I still watch him and work through his songs. The high school band director wanted me and told me he could get me a scholar ship but I played 1 year and bailed for the Marine corps., dust


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

In respect to those with a Roma (gypsy) ethnic back-ground, I think they have some sort of extra-potent special musical gene in their structure. They got rhythm, passion, an incredible ear for sound and music ...

Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYgl6qfPdd4&feature...

And thank you for your piece of writing: I had no clue what "Flatpicking" was. Good to learn something.

Cheers!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Dusty, you said "Les Paul Amp." There really is a Les Paul amp? That's a new one on me - I'd never heard of Les having an amp named for him, but there wouldn't be any reason to NOT have one, especially when you've got one of the world's most famous guitars named after you.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Mr. Happy - you're not the only person to have thought that.

I don't know much about Roma culture, but I've always heard that music was a huge part of it. On that video, the fiddler is playing so fast that I imagine him or her just falling over after that. It's no wonder those dancers are thin -gosh, can you imagine rehearsing for all of that all of the time?


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

The amp is an all tube unit of the days gone by, for today's standards it isn't loud enough for use in an auditorium unless, I suppose an artist used it for it's unique sounds at different levels and fed the through a bigger amp to throw at an audience, they surely are usable in a recording studio booth. They are branded "Gibson Les Paul GA-40 amplifier" originally sold as a set in the 1950s, the two I have are all tweed cabinets, they look like the old tweed suit cases of the 40s and 50s if you ever have seen those. I think they fell to Marshall and/or Vox in the late 50s and early 60s. In a 12x20 ft room with tiles covering the walls you can have a "Large Time" with 2 or three others mixing 12 string or my Banjo, and Mandolin and music styles just mixing and making stupid lyrics up we burn a little blunt now and then but it's all about fun, but the amp is of it's own sound as you turn it up and down the 10 clicks on volume control, I use a lot of old original equipment, peddles, fuzz boxes etc. the end dusty.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Dude, my little brother has one of my grandfather's old tweed covered Gibson amps! You just made me have some head explosion concerning that thing - I typically don't recall that it exists, but my brother has it. It's ancient, but still worked last I knew. I gotta find out about that thing.

I had a 50 watt Mashall tube amp at one time. It had all the crunch you could ever want for pretending that you're Eric Clapton, or Eddie Van Halen - or whoever. hahaha!

You play some banjo and mandolin too!? Dude, you're awesome! I hardly play the guitar anymore. I think that if I had either a banjo, fiddle, or mandolin though and someone to teach me some stuff, then I'd be back on a music mission, and probably play the guitar more too.

I damn sure need some inspiration.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Pick your guitar back up! find some local flat pickers, run an ad in the paper, getting together with a bunch that has a big sense of humor and start picking and after a while of playing around the same folks one can start at an octave and after a few chords picked apart, if they have an ear for music they can fall in on it, I learned by listening and searching for the first ten or so notes, like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr0Vt7E7U7w&feature... it's old but a good slow rhythm with the first built around an Em chord for bass intro played on guitar, then the central high note solo is a move up the neck, It took me time to learn to listen past the voice and grab the sound I wanted to hear and copy it, man there is flat picking every where you look. Now in the internet age you can get the base chords for free making it easier to master the flat picking of notes around a singer. Reading music is easy but walking into a room with 4 players going at it hearing what's going on and falling in with them is learning to hear what your playing, hard to explain easier to show. I remember three of us siting in a room with one guitar[mine] and hammering out some of the picking I figured out and then passing it around so they could show what they had figured on school music dept. guitars. The band teacher was cool after a while he got us a key to the band room and the boys to poor to have a guitar could use theirs and we were there every chance we got, there was 3 of us and we had a blast, the teacher recorded us one evening and we didn't know and he started pushing us to take the band class and learn to read music so he could use us in a group to play what's called flat picking now but I think he was pushing for what he called country jazz. At a band night in the school auditorium we did a free form group of songs that were hopped up country with an added drummer and bass player, it was a night to remember. I still spend a lot of time learning stuff and an occasional BBQ out here in the cool months and 4 or 5 of us just cutting up having fun, the rolling lyrics gets pretty crude but we all laugh like hell and just have fun, dust


Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin

Thankful for the oddballs, Wesman. I found this Hub particularly enjoying to read...one because I enjoy banging on my guitar a bit myself, and two because you reminded me of an awesome band that had a very short life, "Days of the New." Granted, in all fairness their LP had more duds than gems overall, but the gems were more than good, and I think had they kept trying they could have produced some very interesting stuff. The fact that they were an acoustic band made it even more fun.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Huh! I've never heard of flatpicking before- How interesting! And how smart of you to turn what would otherwise be a very informative conversation between two people into an informative introduction that anyone can read. Nicely done!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Dusty, I sure wish that I could read music. Honestly, I think that that is something that should be offered in public school, and starting at a very young age. American education levels, and what passes for "culture" in America these days is disgusting - and of course I know how and why it got to be that way - and right here and now I could provide about ten thousand words or more in a rant. .. .

The value of music is so much greater than what it is thought to be. The value of music in America now is that it can sell some male or female whore's merchandise, and that it can socially condition us into subservient non thinking entities of corporate compliance. . ..

Of course you know all of these things. I hope to be an old homeless man someday, but I hope to have a guitar that is playable, and a hat that someone can toss some pennies into.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Jim! Man, I don't know how "Days Of The New" wound up here. I was just spontaneously doing this, and got to where I needed something not so country, and that one just popped into my head. I didn't remember the group's name at all - I Googled "I finally found a reason, I don't need an excuse. I've got this time on my hand, you are the one to abuse."

Not exactly the friendliest lyrics, but I remembered the song having some nice acoustic guitar in it that wasn't fingerstyle!


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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thank you very much, Simone!!!!! I knew I'd get you to talk, Simone - but I suppose you were successful first. :=D


datahound profile image

datahound 5 years ago from USA

Hey Wesman thanks for the link to the hub. Very good article. You hit on all my favs. I've seen Doc so many times I quite counting. I was fortunate to have seen him and his son Merle play twice and got to chat with Merle a little. I play a '68 Gallagher G50 which is the same year same model of Doc's previous guitar "Ol' Hoss" which now sits in the Country Music Hall of fame. Doc is truly one of our great national treasures. We visit the Deep Gap area of NC for a long weekend every summer and you always run into someone that knows Doc or went to school with Merle. One guy, in Boone, NC, runs a vacuum repair place and told a buddy of mine he was in a band with Doc. My bud was thinking "sure pal, you play with Doc Watson". The guy slipped a tape in and sure nuff it was Doc and the boys!

And Clarence was the greatest! If you have not listen to "Muleskinner" (Richard Greene, Clarence White, John Kahn, Pete Rowan, Bill Keith and David Grisman), do so. Man I get chills just thinking about it. You can see his picking on two episodes of Andy Griffith show with the White Brothers.

Damn glad Bromberg is out of retirement and playing again!

I'll put a plug in for one of my favorites Norman Blake.

I was gonna guess you are playing a Santa Cruz but saw it in your post about the Martins. Even in that small picture you can tell the sound hole is enlarged. Beautiful!

Take care Brother,


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey man, many thanks! So glad to make your acquaintance!

I've been to Winfield three times, and I've always wanted to get to Merlefest, but haven't had the chance to yet. I've got family in Winston - Salem, and used to have some in Asheville too. I like those places enough to consider relocating there at some point.

I've not got to see or play many Gallagher guitars - but I men a Mr. "Someone" Gallagher from that family at Winfield the last time I went, and chatted with him several times. I think his were the only ones I've played.

I'm nowhere near done doing hubs about flat tops, and this is just the intro to what I imagine will be a series on Flatpickers. I'm working on one about Clarence White right now.

You know, I've met people like Dan Crary, Steve Kaufman, I've met Mark O'Conner; all of those people are very approachable - I'm sure Doc would be the most approachable of them all.

Heck yeah - I wish I still had the two Martins that I used to own, but that Santa Cruz won't ever leave my possession willingly.


datahound profile image

datahound 5 years ago from USA

Merlefest is soooo big now. Many more smaller more personable fest throughout the summer. Doc does one in Valley Crusis, NC around his birthday in July.

Don't you just love that about these musicians. I was standing in line for coffee one morning, turned around, Guy Clark and Darrell Scott were in line right behind me. They are all very gracious.

I'll be watching for those articles.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

That last part of your hub - about me - Wesman, was a real tribute. Thank you. Tributes are few and far between so I will treasure it.

And thanks for the education; I didn't realize how flat-picking-challenged I was. You did a great job with the interviewing style; i'm proud of you! :)


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

You are very welcome, Sir, I try to sometimes lead people to the Hubartists that I admire, and you are certainly one of them!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin

Either way, they work splendidly in context with this. Wasn't the lead singer on one of those Intervention shows? Whatever happened to them, I wonder?


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Oh man, I think every lead singer from that era has been on "intervention."

One of us should do a hub titled "Whatever Happened to _____" Including Days of the New, and other promising bands that disappeared. You know it would interesting, probably sell some records with amazon too!

the brain spins. .


Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California

An interesting funny and informative hub.Really enjoyed the read.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was going for all three of those, it's wonderful to get confirmation that I achieved them!!!!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

Ha! From a fellow flatpicker, I can say I enjoyed your hub very much! Actually, I studied piano for six years before my Mom gave me a banjo over 40 years ago. I eventually learned to play guitar and did so professionally for many years.

Now I play for myself and for friends on occasion. I do have a fiddle but play it very little as I have kin who are so much better at it than I. I can hold my own with a banjo, acoustic or electric guitar, though.

Rated up!

Randy


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thank you very much Sir!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Man, someday I'm going to go after the banjo! I want to be able to play it!!

I must admit to being a bit intimidated by the fiddle - but my Grandfather could scratch out a tune or two whilst I attempted to play backup at twelve years of age!

I suspect that your friends are lucky friends indeed!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

Learning to play the banjo was much harder than the guitar for me, but perhaps because I learned it first. The tabs almost drove me crazy before the sound began to make sense to me.

Of course, if I had chosen a simpler song than "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" for my first attempt it may have been a little easier! LOL!

the fiddle isn't too tough, it's the bow positions which makes it so much different than guitar or banjo.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You bit off a mouthful when you attempted one of Earl Scrugg's best known tunes as a STARTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I learned some "Travis Picking" the fingerstyle playing named after Merle Travis on guitar - just simple stuff like "Dust In The Wind" - so I've got the idea in my head that I could do Banjo lots easier than fiddle, but who knows?

Truly - my big problem seems to be playing this keyboard that I'm playing now instead of my guitar!!!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

Yes, but the "starter" seemed to work well as other tunes seemed easy in comparison after I finally perfected it. LOL! Did I tell you my "starter" for the fiddle was "The Devil Came Down to Georgia"?


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

AH! Yeah - that theory of learning works - so long as you're persevering!

"Lonesome Fiddle Blues!" That's a great one!

It can all be done, so long as someone is patient enough. I think I'd best stick to "Marry Had A Little Lamb" for starters though!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Wesman, BWAHAHAHAHA......something simple like, Dust in the wind.......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-2kmpTQkQw&feature...

this took me at least 6 days to mimmick at 4 hrs a day, now I hate it.......


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Dusty! Our Igor is a bit interpretive - he's doing the vocals to with his guitar!!!

You know, playing that as recorded, is really a pretty simple pattern though!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey - he's not a bad singer! I wasn't expecting that!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Wesman, I'ze jess fukking with you, that tune is like Stairway to Heaven, everybody and their brother that's got a Tennessee flat top box can play some version of it.

Doing vocals with the strings is a way cool adventure, one I use for a lot of tunes. You add it to stuff like Greensleeves and it takes out the repetitiveness. Songs like the Beatles "Yellow Submarine" are truly disgusting in their over and over repetition, I don't remember how they did on the charts but it was/is a turd, most likely a McCartney production that Lennon helped him to make it a bit better, I suppose it was for the movie, it sure didn't fit anywhere else!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_cwWP5Qf1k I dare you to endure this piece of shit! dust


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q&feature...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jjcAuEYW9M&feature...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru4a-js4My4&NR=1

Why do ducks have webbed feet?..... To stomp out burning forest fires........

Why do elephants have big feet?..... To stomp out burning ducks.......

Yep pure non-sense....... not even funny, but a good example of what flat picking is not.... heeeeeehawww dust


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

LOL!

Sounds like you're having fun this morning!

Yellow Submarine - cause they had to always try to make Ringo look stoopid!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I certainly have never heard the term, so I appreciate the education. It's also helpful that you provided videos so we could hear what this sounded like. Voting this Up and Useful.


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

I can tell you're a true Texan! You pick with the best of them! Thanks for the learning experience here, and HB to a favorite HP member.


giocatore profile image

giocatore 4 years ago

Thanks for clarifying that. Up and sharing.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks alocsin!!!!!!!!!!!

You could say that I took some liberties with what would commonly be called "flatpicking" with the Days Of The New song, but the old country tune "Aimee" is pure traditional flatpicking!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Marcy Goodfleisch - Thanks So Much!!!!!!!!!

I've got THREE first rate acoustic guitars...counting the one that belongs to my Mother, which might as well be mine, as she can't play it.

Mostly these days, I play the keyboard that you're viewing the product of!

I'm such a streaky person on some things - I'm waiting for inspiration to consume me for guitar playing again.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks giocatore - "flatpicking" just isn't a term that most folks would know about unless they were raised around a musician that was into that. Everyone hears it all the time when listening to music, they just wouldn't be able to realize exactly when they are hearing it without some knowledge.


QualityContent profile image

QualityContent 4 years ago

Excellent flatpicking hub, nice job. Vote up.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks QualityContent!!!! Not exactly the most lucrative niche topic, but one I can't leave alone regardless of any of that!

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