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Bluegrass Flatpicking

A sub-genre of country music which blends improvising with folk-like melodies. Pioneered by Bill Monroe in the 1930s in the "bluegrass" state. Learning to flatpick properly is absolutely crucial to the Bluegrass style.

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Orville will cover proper Bluegrass flatpicking technique and move on to teach a plethora of classic Bluegrass tunes.

Lessons in this Series:

Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 1

Alternate Picking

Orville Johnson starts out his Bluegrass Flatpicking Series with a lesson on alternate picking, a technique that is absolutely essential to almost all guitar styles.

Length: 25:21 Difficulty: 1.0 Free Sample Lesson
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 2

John Hardy

Orville teaches a classic song called "John Hardy" in the style of Mother Maybelle Carter.

Length: 15:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 3

Bill Cheatum

Orville teaches the classic song "Bill Cheatum" in the bluegrass flatpicking style.

Length: 23:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 4

Blackberry Blossom

Orville Johnson explains how to play the classic song "Blackberry Blossom" in the bluegrass flatpicking style.

Length: 26:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 5

Whiskey Before Breakfast

Orville Johnson shows how the classic bluegrass fiddle tune "Whiskey Before Breakfast" can be adapted to the guitar.

Length: 24:05 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 6

Billy in the Lowground

Orville Johnson teaches how "Billy in the Lowground," a classic fiddle tune, can be adapted to bluegrass style guitar.

Length: 20:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 7

Salt Creek

Orville Johnson teaches the classic bluegrass song "Salt Creek."

Length: 19:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 8

Midnight on the Water

Orville Johnson teaches the classic buegrass song "Midnight on the Water."

Length: 39:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 9

The Wayfaring Stranger

Orville Johnson teaches a solo guitar version of the classic song "The Wayfaring Stranger."

Length: 21:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 10

The Eighth of January

Orville Johnson demonstrates the classic bluegrass song "The Eighth of January."

Length: 20:32 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 11

Over the Waterfall

Orville Johnson teaches "Over the Waterfall."

Length: 21:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 12

Lester Flatt G Lick

Orville Johnson demonstrates one of the most widely used bluegrass licks. This lick is named after "Lester Flatt" and simply called the "Lester Flatt G Lick."

Length: 15:14 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 13

June Apple

Orville Johnson explains how to play the classic song "June Apple."

Length: 21:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 14

Soldier's Joy

Orville Johnson teaches a bluegrass guitar version of the classic song "Soldier's Joy."

Length: 13:22 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 15

The Arkansas Traveler

Orville Johnson teaches the "The Arkansas Traveler" in the key of D.

Length: 26:06 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 16

I Don't Love Nobody

Orville Johnson teaches his version of "I Don't Love Nobody."

Length: 19:14 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 17

Old Joe Clark

Orville Johnson covers the classic tune "Old Joe Clark."

Length: 19:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 18

The Red-Haired Boy

Orville Johnson continues building your bluegrass fiddle tune repertoire with another great song called "The Red-Haired Boy."

Length: 27:49 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 19

Black Mountain Rag: Key of E

Orville Johnson teaches "Black Mountain Rag" in the key of E.

Length: 26:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 20

Black Mountain Rag: Key of A

In continuation of his previous lesson, Orville Johnson teaches "Black Mountain Rag" in the key of A.

Length: 23:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 21

St. Anne's Reel

Orville Johnson takes a look at the bluegrass standard "St. Anne's Reel".

Length: 20:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 22

Glory in the Meeting House

In this lesson, Orville Johnson teaches a fantastic new tune called "Glory in the Meeting House".

Length: 19:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 23

Under the Double Eagle

In his latest Flatpicking Bluegrass lesson, Orville Johnson teaches a tune called "Under the Double Eagle".

Length: 31:50 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 24

Crossing The Big Sandy River

Orville Johnson continues building your bluegrass flatpicking repertoire with another great tune called "Crossing The Big Sandy River".

Length: 11:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 25

When He Calls Me

Orville Johnson teaches another great bluegrass flatpicking tune called "When He Calls Me".

Length: 12:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 26

Ragtime Annie

Orville Johnson teaches "Ragtime Annie," another bluegrass tune to add to your repertoire.

Length: 15:13 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 27

Bonaparte's Retreat

Orville Johnson continues to build your bluegrass fiddle tune repertoire with a fun tune called "Bonaparte's Retreat".

Length: 20:13 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 28

Reuben's Train

Orville Johnson takes a look at another fiddle tune called "Reuben's Train" in this lesson.

Length: 13:57 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 29

Turkey in the Straw

Orville Johnson takes a look at a fun song called "Turkey in the Straw" in this lesson.

Length: 9:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 30

Flatpicking Exercise: The Mirror Technique

In this lesson, Orville introduces an exercise called "The Mirror Technique." This is a technique that will improve the communication between your picking hand and fretting hand.

Length: 21:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 31

Flatpicking Exercise: Double & Triple Picking

Welcome to yet another lesson on picking exercises! Orville demonstrates how to achieve double picking and triplet picking techniques that are common in all musical styles.

Length: 23:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 32

The Devil's Dream

This traditional song offers the standard A and B parts and is another essential song to add to your repertoire of tunes that can be played with friends.

Length: 18:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 33

Blues Swing Lead Techniques

Orville teaches a blues melody in G major and also explains how to "comp" or accompany/compliment the melody with the Freddie Green rhythm.

Length: 19:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 34

Blues Lead Techniques #2

Orville reopens the subject of lead techniques. He presents ideas on how to successfully build a solo and understand how to leave space to be most effective when playing with others.

Length: 14:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 35

Blues Lead Techniques #3

Time to design a solo! Orville breaks down the techniques needed to build a successful solo while both explaining space and scale theory.

Length: 19:49 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 36

Blues Lead Techniques #4

This lesson is all about harmonic structure. Orville uses the theory taught in the previous lesson to help you choose the correct notes when building a solo.

Length: 23:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 37

Bully of the Town

How about another classic bluegrass tune? "Bully of the Town" offers up a chance to use a capo and apply key change techniques.

Length: 25:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 38

The Beaumont Rag

Orville Johnson is back to his bluegrass flatpicking series. In this lesson, he discusses and teaches "The Beaumont Rag". This tune serves as a great picking exercise and is also a ton of fun to play!

Length: 23:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 39

Cherokee Shuffle

Orville Johnson shows how to play a classic Bluegrass tune entitled "Cherokee Shuffle." It's fun, slightly challenging and sounds great.

Length: 35:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Orville Johnson Guitar Lessons Lesson 40

Banks of the Ohio

Orville Johnson travels back in time to teach a classic song called "Banks of the Ohio." Though this tune features a rather sordid narrative lyrically, the music is still quick, upbeat and fun to play.

Length: 42:50 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
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