David Grier  "Beaumont Rag"  Fretboard Journal

                                                 David Grier  "Beaumont Rag"  Fretboard Journal

    This is one of the most difficult transcriptions I have done as of late. Within it it you will find a number of devices that at least for me have totally changed the way I approach flatpick guitar. One device Grier uses frequently is what I call "Ghost Notes" In other words while hammering on or sliding Grier simultaneously picks another open string. This is not easy and takes a while to master.. Instances of this occur throughout the piece (mm10, mm 24, mm 33 etc.). This is essentially a very common banjo device translated to flatpick guitar. Numerous instances of chromaticism occur as Grier has an uncanny knack of playing altered tones leading to an important phrase point in the perspective tune (mm 40-41) In my view these should not be viewed not as some abstract theoretical device ie b9 b13. Its just Grier's innumerable years of experience trying to find new and different ways to get from point A to B. The most ear catching part of the piece is probably the first break on the B section mm24. This may seem like an abstract idea but at its core you will find simply a moving bass voice running in contrary motion to the 3 note motif in the tenor voice. To accurately emulate Grier's cross-picking alternate picking is highly advised. One of the most interesting parts of this transcription for me is the unorthodox fingering (i.e fourth finger) Grier employs to get the smooth legato sound he is famous for. I have given fingerings where Grier plays them in his inmitable way.. If you stick with these fingerings for some time you will find that they are highly economical/tonally sound albeit extremely difficult to master. As with any transcription try and find a few things that you like and translate them into your own improvisational voice. That being said no one can play this exactly like Grier. Take a piece of advice from the master and make it your own.

Andy Novara

August 2017 

 

Grier Transcription