Day 1       Day 2       Day 3       Day 4       Day 5


Tony's 5 Day Flatpicking Challenge

5 Days of bluegrass flatpicking guitar challenges. Can you do all five?

The all important eighth note will be studied this week. I know you are thinking, “Tony, I get it, when it comes to flat picking the eighth note is really important” And to you I say you are absolutely right, but often when when flat picking you can get so hung up on trying to hit different notes that you seldom play one and hold it for a while… this week is dedicated to repeating one note… for quite possibly 4 eighth notes in a row. It may sound dull, but it’s impact can be huge and you can use it as a life saving technique when you are trying to think of what to play next. This rhythmic technique is very very important, and I often refer to it as the stutter… once you know about it you will hear it frequently. – Tony


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Day 1: Stairs of Stutterness (Warm Up)

Key:N/A  –  Genre: Flatpicking  –  Difficulty: Easy  –  Time: 4 min
This warmup will help you with two really important things: the first being playing a series of eighth notes on one string, and the second being playing a set of eighth notes on an adjacent string fretted at the same fret that you previously were on. Physically you will learn to roll your finger down when ascending and quickly move and accurately place your finger when descending. This will test your timing, and the agility of your fretting hand… it is a great one especially in preparation for Wednesday’s scale. Download tab for this lesson 

Day 2: Stutter Step (Lick)

Key: G  –  Genre: Flatpicking  –  Difficulty: Easy  –  Time: 6 min
Building off of what you warmed up with yesterday today you will integrate a stutter into a lick. This is a great technique to have at the ready in a jam especially if you need to buy some time to think about what to do next. This lick has almost an entire measure of a stutter, but in my opinion, what that effectively does is builds up momentum to frame the lick in a super powerful way. This is a classic lick in the key of G and when paired with the stutter… oh man, things get out of control. Enjoy this one! Download tab for this lesson 

Day 3: Know Your Roots (Scale & Improv)

Key: G  –  Genre: Flatpicking  –  Difficulty: Int  –  Time: 6 min
In keeping with the stutter theme, today’s improv will have you stuttering like crazy, but in the best possible way. Today you will use a closed position G scale and use the idea of referencing the root after every degree and pairing it with the stutter. This major scale will feel as though it is some sort of exercise (which it most certainly is), but it is here for two major reasons; the first one being really learning this all important closed position scale shape, and the second it will help you add some rhythmic variety to this scale shape. Have fun with this one, and feel the power of the stutter. Download tab for this lesson 

Know about Tony's Acoustic Challenge?

Day 4: Bathing in Bass (Chord Progression)

Key: G  –  Genre: Flatpicking  –  Difficulty: Easy  –  Time: 5 min
So this whole entire week you dedicated to pairs of eighth notes… our beloved stutters… but they were always on the high strings and always a part of a lick or a warmup… until today!!! Today we take the stutters and place them on the low strings to emphasize bass walks as well as give some drive and momentum to the classic “boom chicka” rhythm pattern. This one will have you doing bass walks with style… stutter style! Download tab for this lesson 

Day 5: Interesting Integrater (Lick)

Key: G  –  Genre: Flatpicking  –  Difficulty: Easy  –  Time: 3 min
Today’s lick is a wonderful ending lick that takes you from a chord shape, transfers you to a single note line and has you ending on a full chord. It has elements of the warmup you used this week so you will be able to use those skills. Also, it is a great segue from a cross picking pattern to playing just straight rhythm. The pick direction is alternate all the way so let that flat pick fly.   Download tab for this lesson 

Have you seen Tony's Acoustic Challenge?


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