Lesson Plan


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Lesson notes

Here is another 'Progressive' Lesson. We are building a fingerpicking arrangement of the old hymn In Christ There Is No East Or West, hopefully coming up with something similar to what John Fahey did on his first album, Blind Joe Death. We start with just the melody and chord progression, and the mission is to put them together in a simple, block chord style. The first two segments just define the Project and then go over the chart. By the time we are done we will take a specific look at most of the way Fahey played it over the years. This includes the simple, block chord version as well as the faster ragtime section that follows.

Part 3: An Example- This segment of In Christ There Is No East Or West shows a couple examples of playing through the melody with what I call ‘block chords’, just hitting the chord on beats 1 and 3 (half notes) of the measure. There is also a hint or two on moving forward into quarter notes in the bass.

Part 4: Double-Time- Now we head into the Double Time phase of this Project. We will be playing the bass notes as quarter notes, starting with a review of the melody and then playing it strictly in time with the bass notes. Then continuing with moving some melody notes off the beats and on to the ‘ands’ before or after the beat.

Part 5: Syncopation- At this point the song should be taking on its final shape and sound. We have syncopated some of the melody notes and this segment shows an example or two of where we are. The next phase is to dress it up with some filler notes and passing bass notes.

Part 6: Fills And Runs- We have added an attachment that shows how to play the syncopated version and this segment starts with a Play Through of that. That is followed by some examples of adding filler notes between melody notes, and a couple ways of connection the C and Am chords. The song should now be taking on a sound of its own, and played somewhat differently each time.

Part 7: John Fahey’s Version- We are now going to take a detailed look at the way John Fahey played In Christ There Is No East Or West on his first album, now available as The Legend Of Blind Joe Death. In this segment I play through the Intro and Section A as close to John’s version as possible (for me at least). There is also a little Show & Tell section looking at his early albums.

Part 8: The Intro And Single-Time Sections- This segment is a close-up breakdown of the first part of Fahey’s arrangement, Section A. It includes some hints on John’s techniques, particularly the 3-string roll, or quick arpeggio that you here in many of his tunes.

Part 9: In this segment we take a detailed look at John’s Double-Time Version. This segment starts with a short play through of that, and then we come in closer for a look at the specific moves and techniques needed to sound like Fahey. One of John’s most distinctive sounds is the triplet roll, which is covered here as well.

Part 10: At this point you should be able to play In Christ There Is No East Or West with a lot of variations every time through. This closing segment is just me playing it for fun after finishing the lesson.