Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Guitar lesson: Billy in the Lowground- Basic

This is a popular fiddle tune based out of the C position. If you’re just getting into flatpicking, or you’re wanting to learn a new tune, this is a great version for you! Typically, bluegrass will be based out of the G position, so I like to learn songs in C to help expand our skills.

I’ve been playing guitar for about 20 years, but I’m starting at the beginning, hoping to unlearn bad habits and relearn new ones. Something I’m struggling with in these lessons is the urge to use “economy picking” to snag the next string on a down stroke rather than an upstroke. Is that bad practice in Bluegrass? Is the idea that you should always alternate picking?

In most of bluegrass flatpicking, alternate picking is strictly adhered to. This means eighth notes will be down up down up, quarter half or whole notes will be a down stroke, and sixteenth notes are typically hammer ons or pull offs

Yes, my opinion is to “always” go with alternate. However, the rules have been broken:

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That’s about 2 steps shy of witchcraft.

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