Two Songs at Once (Guitar Lesson)


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Jim Deeming

Two Songs at Once

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Yankee Doodle" and "Dixie." Both songs are played simultaneously!

Taught by Jim Deeming in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 30:03Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:10) Musical Introduction Welcome back to the Phase 2 Fingerstyle guitar series with Jim Deeming! Sit back and enjoy Jim's performance of the classic fingerstyle arrangement "Yankee Doodle Dixie."
Chapter 2: (02:34) Lesson Introduction - Yankee Doodle and Dixie Lesson Objectives

Jim has decided to teach Chet Atkins' arrangement of "Yankee Doodle Dixie" for several specific reasons. First and foremost, the arrangement is incredibly fun to play. Your friends and family will be amazed by the timeless parlor trick of playing two songs at once. Learning the arrangement will also vastly improve your guitar skills - specifically thumb independence. Past fingerstyle lessons have combined a melody with an alternating bass line played by the thumb. This lesson forces you to play two completely independent voices at the same time. The melody to "Dixie" is played as the upper melodic voice. The thumb does not play a repetitive pattern like in previous lessons. Instead, the melody to "Yankee Doodle" is played by the thumb as a bass line. After completing this lesson, you will most likely find that your thumb independence has improved. Consequently, it will be easier to perform alternating bass lines along with a melody or chordal accompaniment.
Chapter 3: (03:44) Thumb Notes Arrangement Overview

Bass Line

This arrangement features the melody of "Yankee Doodle" played as a bass line. The bass line is played on the sixth, fifth strings and fourth strings. All bass notes are either played as open strings or at the second and fourth frets. Use the first and third fingers to fret these notes. This fingering must be used in order to accommodate the melody to "Dixie," which Jim will discuss later in the lesson. Use the right hand thumb to pluck all bass notes. Apply some light palm muting so that this voice sounds more like a supporting bass line. As a result, the melody to "Dixie" will stand out as the focal point of the arrangement.

Practicing the Arrangement

Do not attempt to play the arrangement as written at first. You must first isolate each of the independent voices. Begin by working on the "Yankee Doodle" bass line. The bass line is played as the lowest voice in the notated score. Focus on playing this bass line smoothly and in time. Then, work on the melody to "Dixie" on its own. You may find it helpful to write in the appropriate right hand fingering for Dixie as you work through the melody. This will become important down the line when you combine both parts. When both individual individual voices are mastered, begin to combine them. When the voices are combined, they both must sound subordinate to one another yet able to stand strongly on their own. As you perform the arrangement, do not think of it as two songs happening at the same time. Think of it as a single arrangement.
Chapter 4: (11:21) Starting the Song Practice Tips

-The melody to "Dixie" begins with some eighth notes played as pickups. Make sure that you are fretting all melody notes at the fretboard locations indicated in "Supplemental Content." Otherwise, you will not be able to play the melody and bass line simultaneously. The first two pickup notes can be played on the second string with a pull-off. The pull-off adds a smooth legato sound to the melody voice.

-Practice the arrangement one measure at a time. Jim breaks down the first measure along with the pickup notes at 04:10 in the lesson video.

-Notes at the second fret can be played by barring them when two notes are played simultaneously on different strings. This fingering requires the least amount of mental and physical coordination. Compare this fingering with the fingering that Jim uses in the lesson video. Use the fingering that is most comfortable for you.

-Practice very slowly! Ensure that you are playing in time and playing all rhythms exactly as written. You may need to start as slow as 40 beats per minute.

-Drill all transitions that you find difficult. Make mini exercises out of all difficult measures. Repetitious practice of each measure will build your muscle memory and coordination between your brain and hands.

-Make mental pictures of the left hand fingerings. This will also help your mental and muscle memory.
Chapter 5: (04:10) Moving On Measure 3

Jim begins this scene with an explanation of the third measure. In this measure, he frets the B bass note with the thumb. This note along with the F# "Dixie" melody note can also be played by barring the first finger at the 2nd fret. Keep in mind that Jim has huge hands. The thumb technique may simply not be practical for you in this situation, especially if you have small hands or are playing a classical guitar.

Measures 4-5

A position shift must occur in this measure in order to play the high notes involved in the "Dixie" melody. Shift up to fourth position from second position on beat 2 of measure four. At the beginning of measure five, use the pinkie finger to fret the high C# note on the E string. Shift back to second position on beat 3 of measure five.
Chapter 6: (01:00) Rhythm Notes Pay very careful attention to the rhythm of the arrangement. In order to create the illusion of two songs played at once, you must play the rhythms exactly as written. If you play certain eighth note groups with a hammer-on or pull-off, make sure that these slurs remain perfectly even. Play the measures containing slurs slowly along with a metronome. For example, the pickup notes as well as the eighth notes at the end of measure two may be slurred. Make sure that both notes involved in the slur receive the exact same rhythmic value. However, if you play the arrangement with a loose swing feel, the first note must be slightly longer than the second note.

Also, be aware of when two eighth notes in the "Dixie" melody are played with a single quarter note in the "Yankee Doodle" bass line.
Chapter 7: (00:33) Slow Demonstration In this scene, Jim provides a demonstration of the arrangement at roughly half the performance tempo. Watch and listen carefully several times. Focus on the rhythm as well as the right and left hand fingering. Then, practice the arrangement on your own with a metronome. Once you can play the arrangement at the tempo demonstrated by Jim, return to the video and play along with him.

Continue to practice the arrangement on your own with a metronome until you can comfortably play the arrangement at around 120 beats per minute.
Chapter 8: (00:19) Regular Demonstration Jim plays through the arrangement at a much quicker tempo. However, he's still a long way from the ideal performance tempo. Play along with him in this scene to ensure that you can play the arrangement accurately and in time.

Then, continue to practice the arrangement on your own along with a metronome until you reach the ultimate goal tempo of 175 beats per minute. At this tempo, you may want to set the metronome to about 88 beats per minute and play the piece in cut time.
Chapter 9: (02:38) Chords, Thoughts, and Notes No more than two notes are played simultaneously at any given point in the arrangement. Typically, a triad or chord is defined by three different notes. However, specific chords can be implied by the combination of a bass line and a melodic line. The chords implied throughout the arrangement are the I, IV, and V chords in the key of A major. Respectively, these chords are A, D, and E. Analyze each measure to determine which chord is implied.
Chapter 10: (03:28) Yankee Doodle and Polly Wolly Doodle Both "Yankee Doodle" and "Polly Wolly Doodle" can be played together in a single arrangement. Once again, the melody to "Yankee Doodle" is played as a bass line while "Polly Wolly Doodle is played as the upper melodic voice.

Take the same approach to learning this arrangement as outlined in scene 3. Learn each voice separately at first. Then, begin to combine them at a very slow tempo.

Phase 3 Lessons

For the full Chet Atkins arrangement of "Yankee Doodle Dixie," visit Jim's Phase 3 lesson series. The full version includes a bridge section.

Questions About the Lesson

If you have any specific questions concerning this lesson, feel free to write in to Jim. Either email him or leave a comment within this lesson. You can also leave questions and comments for him on his JamPlay forum.

Video Subtitles / Captions





Supplemental Learning Material

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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


stooshstoosh replied on October 11th, 2014

This song is in a Mel Bay book "chet Atkins "off the record." pub 1976. Bunch of others both in tab plus the actual notes. There is also a chet atkins version of Scott Joplins The Entertainer. Not sure if you teach it. I know there is sheet music ( and I assumes tablature) for the guitar for it as well.

epiphone65epiphone65 replied on January 5th, 2014

Love the lessons, you mention about looking at the tabs but I don't see any. I'm I not looking at the right place ?

burnyburny replied on July 2nd, 2013

Really great lesson, I can play this through now at a moderate pace, just need to work on getting it up to the right tempo. Ive learnt more in the few days ive been a member than in years trying to go it alone. Gonna take a look at the chorus tab soon :-)

bcgaraybcgaray replied on June 27th, 2012

Jim this is the same email I wrote about the chorus. I can't seem to get base line syc with the melody. The tab doesn't match the video in phase 3. At least what I can make out. I'm using [email protected] There are two others listed could you tell what they are? Love the lessons keep them coming. Thanks

dagmyhdagmyh replied on November 25th, 2010

Hi, struggling a little,- it seems to me that the first notes of the YDD, the one with the pulloff, is not the same as in the notesheet? It would, I think help if the cords could be written in the note sheet as well. Dag

homerhomer replied on October 14th, 2010

video link is not working!

jboothjbooth replied on October 14th, 2010

I can play all videos ok. Are you sure you have the most up to date verison of the Flash player?

govertgovert replied on October 6th, 2009

Hey great lesson, but I do have a remark/question. In measure 5 you go from with the Yankee Doodle from an A to the low E. In the score it shows an G# which is a bit harder but doable. I guess you go pick what sounds right to you. Thanks for the lesson it is very easy to follow.

dash rendardash rendar replied on February 28th, 2009

Just a minor point, but I think Jim is playing an A on the fourth beat of the 3rd measure (on the G string), rather than the C# (on the B string) indicated in tab in the supplemental for Yankie Doodle Dixie.

epiphone65epiphone65 replied on January 5th, 2014

Where are the tabs ?

mr mikemr mike replied on January 26th, 2009

I remember about 40 years ago trying once or twice to get this song and I gave up. Now you got me up to 5 bars of it. Thanks

greenogreeno replied on November 25th, 2008

Fun lesson, Jim. Thanks

tomorrowtomorrow replied on November 24th, 2008

great lesson superb teaching style .thanks

wolfpack21643wolfpack21643 replied on November 24th, 2008

Your Insane Jim. Ha Ha!!!!

Fingerstyle Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Fingerstyle guitar allows you to play the bass, harmony, and melody of a song all within the context of a single guitar part.



Lesson 1

Intro to Fingerstyle

This lesson serves as an introduction for Fingerstyle Guitar with Jim Deeming. Come on in and get started!

Length: 24:32 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Basic Fingerstyle

Jim demonstrates a basic fingerstyle exercise that you can use with any of the chords you know.

Length: 16:05 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

More Picking Patterns

Jim expands on lesson 2 and teaches several different picking patterns. He also covers the basics of muting.

Length: 14:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Using Syncopation

Jim Deeming explains how to integrate basic syncopation into your rhythm playing.

Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Picking Melody Notes

This lesson is all about picking melody notes. Fingerstyle guitar really gets interesting when you combine bass, harmony, and melody.

Length: 33:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Aura Lee

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic Civil War era song "Aura Lee."

Length: 43:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Chet Atkins Style

Jim explains key components of Chet Atkins' guitar style.

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

3/4 Time and a Song

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Bicycle Built for Two." He uses this piece as an example of 3/4 or waltz timing.

Length: 37:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Two Songs at Once

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Yankee Doodle" and "Dixie." Both songs are played simultaneously!

Length: 30:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Open G Tuning

Jim Deeming teaches the basics of open G tuning. He also teaches a song entitled "Spanish Fandango" to show how the tuning can be used.

Length: 39:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Carter Family Style

Jim Deeming introduces a playing style called "Carter Family Style." The technique is also referred to as "Frailing" or "Clawhammer" style.

Length: 13:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

DADGAD Tuning

Jim Deeming teaches the many wonders of DADGAD tuning.

Length: 32:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Thumb Independence

Jim Deeming tackles the topic of thumb independence.

Length: 31:51 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Lesson 14

The JamPlay Song

Jim Deeming teaches a more advanced version of the aptly named "JamPlay Song."

Length: 7:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

The Wayfaring Stranger

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic song "The Wayfaring Stranger."

Length: 31:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

The Official Thumbpick Guide

Jim Deeming answers one of the most common fingerstyle questions, "which thumbpick should I use?"

Length: 13:03 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Fingernail Guide

Jim Deeming presents his thoughts on how to properly grow and groom your fingernails.

Length: 7:07 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Entertainer

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "The Entertainer," a classic piano song ported over to the guitar.

Length: 20:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs

Jim Deeming teaches the skills necessary to transform any song into a solo fingerstyle masterpiece.

Length: 37:04 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 2

Jim talks more about arranging fingerstyle songs. This time around he discusses harmonization and chord inversions.

Length: 13:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 3

Jim Deeming demonstrates alternate ways to play the CAGED chords that can be very useful when playing melody and accompaniment simultaneously.

Length: 30:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 4

In this lesson Jim Deeming talks about a simple way to add harmony notes to the melody section of fingerstyle songs. This technique is quite simple and can add a whole new dimension to your playing.

Length: 5:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Jim Deeming View Full Biography Jim Deeming got his first guitar when he was only six years old. His Dad was taking fingerpicking lessons, and Jim wanted to be just like him. The Mel Bay books didn't last very long before he strapped on a thumb pick and added the Chet part to Red River Valley so it sounded better.

Most of Jim's early learning was by ear. With unlimited access to his Dad's collection of Chet Atkins albums, he spent countless hours decoding his favorite songs. They were never "right" until they sounded just like Chet. Around the age of 12, Jim heard Jerry Reed for the first time and just knew he had to be able to make that "Alabama Wild Man" sound. The styles of Chet & Jerry always have been a big influence on his playing.

More recently he has pursued arrangements by Tommy Emmanuel and Doyle Dykes, in addition to creating some of his own and writing originals.

Jim has performed in front of a variety of audiences, including concerts, competitions, weddings and the like, but playing at church has always been a mainstay. Whether playing in worship bands or guitar solos, gospel music is deep in his roots and is also the driving theme behind his debut CD release, titled "First Fruits".

Jim has been playing for about 38 years. He also has taught private lessons in the past but believes JamPlay.com is an exciting and better venue with many advantages over the traditional method of weekly 30 minute sessions.

Jim lives in Berthoud, Colorado with his wife, Linda, and their four children. Although he still has a "day job", he is actively performing and is already back in the studio working on the next CD. If you wonder how he finds time, look no further than the back seat of his truck where he keeps a "travel guitar" to take advantage of any practice or song-writing opportunities he can get.

The opening song you hear in Jim's introductory JamPlay video is called, "A Pick In My Pocket". It's an original tune, written in memory of Jim's father who told him early on he should always keep a pick in his pocket in case he ever met Chet Atkins and got the chance to play for him. That song is slated to be the title track for his next CD, which will feature several more originals plus some of his favorite covers of Chet and Jerry arrangements.

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