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Michael Johnson >> Folk Guitar Legends >>
Lesson Subject: Folk Guitar Legends II
What you learn: Joan Baez Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: Hello class! This interactive lesson continues the series on Folk Guitar Legends II, this lesson featuring the style of Joan Baez. Joan Baez has been a very significant folk player since the '60s and has some very creative picking patterns. It is a common technique for folk players during that era to use chord and finger picking combinations to fill up the sound. Most players did not have a back up band and needed to use these techniques for live performances. The lesson samples should give you an idea of the finger picking and chord patterns you'll learn in this lesson.

Lesson Sample

Michael: Let's get started, in this first section we'll start with a Spanish sounding chord and finger picking sequence.

Part 1

Part 1 - Picking

Michael: This section is in the key of Em, which gives it the dark sounding Spanish flavor. Notice in the fingering how you hold the 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th (A) & 4th (D) strings, while the other finger plays the notes based off the chord pattern. This is a common technique in Flamenco/classical guitar. Here's the jam track for this section:

Looping Jam Track 1

Kumagoro: Geez Michael, how do you stretch from second to fifth frets. Do you really leave your first finger on second?

Michael: Kumagor, that is quite a stretch, here's the E Minor scale pattern. Try practicing this scale a few times and it will help on your fingering.

Michael: I highlighted the notes used in the ascending and descending melody line.

Michael: Now we continue with the next section which continues the Spanish sounding theme.

Part 2

Part 2 - Picking

Michael: This section has a nice strumming picking pattern that accents the Em melody at the beginning of the phrase. The picking video will help you visualize the strumming pattern. Notice that we used the same highlighted notes in the E minor scale I gave earlier. Then you jump to the Am, C and D chords in the last few bars. Here's the jam track for this section.

Looping Jam Track 2

Michael: These are nice sounding phrases, which are actually easy to play if you know the basic chord and scale pattern. OK, let's jump to the next section. In this segment we'll use standard chords with a bass line that alternates over each chord.

Part 3

Part 3 - Picking

seven: I know this is a little off subject but....would E Phrygian be the good mode to play over the top on these last jam tracks?

Michael: Sure Seven! That is a great idea and will give you a very Spanish sounding solo. In fact you can use the E Harmonic Minor as well. Here's the E Phrygian for those who want to play over jam track 2.

kumagoro: Michael - What are you doing with your right hand? Flat pick.... finger pick? Hybrid? If it's all fingers, what the PIMA pattern?

Michael: Kumagoro, I'm using a hybrid finger picking pattern. I use the thumb and first 3 fingers, the picking video should help illustrate the picking technique I'm using. Notice how I use the thumb on the bass note, 1st finger and then play the middle 2 strings at the same time. This section has a lot of cool picking patterns you can practice. Outside of the alternating bass line, you have a few combinations of picking 1 or 2 strings at the same time for the other notes. Here's the jam track for the last section.

Looping Jam Track 3

Michael: This section also reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel as well. Let's jump to the next section, this time we'll take the same technique and shift to the key of B.

Part 4

Part 4 - Picking

Michael: Notice how you shift the barre shape chords to play the alternating bass line in this section. It's actually a little easier to play, because you can barre your first finger on the 5th (a) and 6th (E) strings and use alternating notes on the lower strings by using the picking thumb on the two strings. Here's the jam track for this section.

Looping Jam Track 4

seven: Why when the Ab bass comes in it doesn't alternate? is this something that always works this way?

Michael: Seven, the Ab is the 6th note of the B major scale pattern.

seven: Right, I understand that part. I was wondering why that was the only section not to alternate the bass line.

Michael: The chord makes a great transitional chord shift in the progression.

seven: The tension part?

Michael: Correct, transitional chords always set up the progression until you come to a chord that will resolve nicely in a progression.  Great questions! OK, our next section will use notes from a C9 chord and will ascend and descend using notes from the scale pattern.

Part 5

Part 5 - Picking

Here's the jam track for this section.

Looping Jam Track 5

Michael: Here's our last segment.

Part 6

Part 6 - Picking

seven: This has been a really good song for pinkie workouts.

Michael: Oh yes, that's a great finger to work on to improve you speed as well! Here's the jam track for the last section.

Looping Jam Track 6

Michael:  Well time to go, I look forward to seeing you next week.

seven: I've noticed :-) thanks

bluesguitarmp3: Thanx teach

Michael: See you next lesson!

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