After Dark
Alphonso Brown is Back
The Darkest Hour
E Funk
Lightning Rod
Meant to Be
Meant to Be
She Moved Through the Faire Slinky Soozie
Smoky Mountain Morning
St. Clair's Rag
Station to Station
The West Wind
Tony's Rag

Acoustic Masterclass Series: Al Petteway -- Celtic, Blues, and Beyond
SERIES: Acoustic Masterclass
CATEGORY: Guitar Method or Supplement
Guitar arrangements transcribed by the artists themselves, in standard notation and tab. Each edition includes a masterclass-style CD in which the artist walks you through the key aspects and techniques for each arrangement.

Al Petteway has a unique solo guitar style that mixes varied influences, from folk and Celtic music, to R&B and blues. Includes: After Dark * Alphonso Brown Is Back in Town * The Darkest Hour * E Funk * Eureka Hotel * Lightning Rod * Meant to Be * Requiem * She Moved Through the Faire * Slinky Soozie * Smoky Mountain Morning * Spindrift * St. Clair's Rag * Station to Station * The West Wind * Tony's Rag.




Thanks to all the folks who helped make this project a reality.
Years ago, after hearing a tune on one of my early albums, James Jensen of Solid Air Records
had the idea for me to do a blues-oriented recording. The resulting solo guitar project, Shades
of Blue, would not have happened without him.
Aaron Stang of Warner Bros. Publications has been a great inspiration during this project and
its sister DVD. His kind patience and knowledge of guitar were instrumental in making it all
come together.
Frank LaRouche helped immensely by transcribing my music so that the folks at Warner Bros.
Publications would have something from which to work.
And finally, my wife, Amy White, helped every step of the way by being my best ~usical editor
and my best friend.


A number of varied techniques are represented in this book. Some come directly from my
blueslrock guitar past and others from playing lute in the university madrigal group or playing
funk bass with a top-40 dance band during the '70s. My acoustic guitar career began with some
serious flatpicking of bluegrass, newgrass, and swing during the '80s and eventually led to writing
and interpreting Celtic music for fingerstyle guitar in the '90s. I'm always amazed at how much of
each style stays with me when I sit down to write or arrange a tune for fingerstyle guitar.
Playing Celtic music in DADGAD tuning taught me new ways to approach the guitar and brought
me full circle to the blues and rock styles of my youth. I was struck with how easy it was to play
these styles on an acoustic guitar when three of the strings are tuned down a whole step and the
bottom two strings make an open fifth. Suddenly, I could bend notes as I did on electric guitars,
and with a bit of practice, I could even add bass and drum parts to accompany myself. A whole new
world opened to me.
Most of the tunes in this book are from my Shades of Blue album on Solid Air Records. I let the spirit
of improvisation carry me many times during the recording of that album, and most of the tunes
are played a bit differently each time I revisit them. In addition, there are three pieces that are more
from the Celtic side of the spectrum and are also included on the DVD Celtic, Blues and Beyond.
These tunes also differ somewhat from my original recordings. The important thing is to get the
melody and the feeling in each of the tunes. The rest is up for grabs. I think it's always best for each
guitarist to reinterpret the tune to fit his or her style and showcase his or her own strong points.
In every case, however, it is important to set up a hierarchy within the parts of an arrangement. The
melody is always played loudest, the bass line a bit softer, and the chord flll notes softer yet. This
approach helps separate the different parts and make everything clearer and easier to listen to.
Ballad tunes should be played as if they were being sung. The music should breathe and not feel
restricted by the meter.
The next few pages contain specific notes about each of the tunes included in this collection. I hope
you enjoy everyone of them.
AI Petteway


The Compositions

After Dark
This one is a relatively straightforward jazzy blues built from a melody and bass line. Note that the
first section is played with a swing feel as if the tune were in 12/8. The second part is played straight
and a bit faster. The transition back to the swing feel happens over a few measures and should be
gradual and smooth.

Alphonso Brown Is Back in Town
My name really is Alphonso Brown Petteway. I always fancied Alphonso Brown as my funk bass playing alias. The primary techniques used in this tune combine a funk bass sensibility with blues licks.
The hardest part (and the most satisfying) is keeping that downbeat happening at all times. The
intro and the funky rhythmic patterns that occur throughout the piece use a technique I came up
with to imitate bass and drums playing together. My right hand maintains a constant slap on the
strings by playing notes on the downbeat with the back of my nails and by pulling the string away
from the fingerboard with the flesh of my finger for any notes on the upbeat. With the addition of
hammer-ons and pull-offs, this technique can result in an incredible groove. You can teach yourself
this technique by playing simple melodies on one string while maintaining the downbeat hit on the
strings. It's not easy, but once you get it, you'll be able to improvise easily. During the main section
of the tune, I use a pretty straightforward technique of muting the bass string with my right-hand
palm while playing blues licks with my fingers. There's lots of bending and snapping going on.

The Darkest Hour
This one is a total improvisation. I used the trick of tuning the entire guitar down a step so that I
could bend the strings further and with more expression.

E Funk
Again the hierarchy of melody, bass, and chords comes into play. The "x" represents a rhythmic hit
on the strings. You can execute the funky bass lines by pulling the string away from the fingerboard
and letting it slap down for the note to sound. This technique takes very little effort but results in a
nice loud slap sound.

Eureka Hotel
Here's a great use for DADGAD tuning: Play the melody in parallel octaves on
three pairs of strings. The repeating bass notes on the downbeat keep this tune
rolling along, and the melody comes right out of the chords. Many times, my
fingers are holding down the entire chord even when I play only one or two notes
of it. That way, I'm safe if I hit one of the other strings by accident or if I want to
fill out the chord a bit more.

Lightning Rod
This tune evolved from an exercise I wrote for my students to teach them how
to jam with themselves. Learning to playa repeating quarter note on the low
E string while improvising on top can lead to hours of fun.

Meant to Be
In DADGAD, the key of Am lends itself nicely to blues styles. On this tune, I set up a rhythmic
pattern with my right hand hitting the strings on beats 2 and 4 rather than on every beat. This
creates a nice backbeat to play the melody over. The same technique is used as in "Alphonso
Brown," where any notes that fall on 2 or 4 must be played with the back of the nails to maintain
the rhythmic pattern. Many times I'll stretch notes up without releasing them or start
notes at the top of a stretch and bring them down. Both of these techniques sound great on
acoustic guitar.

She Moved Through the Faire
Traditionally sung a cappella, this melody in the Mixolydian mode falls nicely under the fingers
without having to change positions. Remember to breathe and let the tempo relax at the ends of
phrases. These kinds of tunes just don't sound right if they are played with a metronomic feel. In
measure 23, the triplet can be played by alternating the thumb and first finger or using all three
fingers on the right hand in quick succession on the one note.

This tune needs lots of space as well. The ornaments are very Celtic, but the chord structure is not.

Slinky Soozie
I cheated on this one by tuning the entire guitar down a whole step. Many of my favorite blues
techniques involve stretching pairs of strings. On an electric, it's easy, but with a wound mediumgauge
third string on an acoustic, it's nearly impossible unless you tune down. Since I wanted
to play in standard tuning, this meant tuning down all six strings. It really feels slinky when
you do this.

Smoky Mountain Morning
This Celtic-sounding piece evolves into more of a mountain tune complete with the sound of
a frailing banjo. DAD GAD tuning is wonderful {or these kinds of things because of its modal
character. The melody in the frailing section is played with the thumb while the backs of the first
and second fingernails are used to strum in a down-up pattern creating a banjo-like drone.

The right-hand arpeggio in measures 3 and 7 is played T 1 2 3 2 1 T. Practice this
move slowly until it becomes relaxed and flows easily from the tips of your fingers.
I used this arpeggio to relax my right hand when warming up since it's almost
impossible to do when the muscles in your hand are tensed.

St. Clair's Rag
Simple alternating bass lines drive this Am rag.

Station to Station
The technique used here is the same as the one in the second half of "Smoky Mountain
Morning:' The melody is played in octaves, and the chords are strummed with the fingertips
using a down-up pattern. The intent is to imitate a train speeding up to full speed before pulling
into the next station. The rhythm should be kept even as it speeds up and then slows down. On
some of the double-stops, use vibrato to emulate a slide guitar.

Tony's Rag
This one is just a fun rag based on thousands of similar rags I've heard. The time signature says
4/4, but it feels more like it is in 2/4 when played up to speed. If you tap your foot, tap on beats
1 and 3 instead of all four to get this feel. Pay close attention to the cascading line that appears in
measures 43 and 44. It's a tricky one since some of the higher notes are played on the lower
strings. Using open strings in conjunction with fingered notes can be really effective, especially
in fast passages like this one.

The West Wind
Better known as an Irish tune called "The South Wind," this old Celtic piece is claimed under
different names by all of the Celtic nations. Since I learned it from a piping record, it had a
decidedly Scottish flavor. One of the typical musical figures in Scottish music is the "Scottish
Snap." Typically written as a 16th-dotted-eighth-note pattern, it appears here as a 32nd-dotted16th-
note figure due to the tune being transcribed in 6/8 rather than 3/4. It still sounds exactly
the same.

DADGAD Tuning Track
DADDAD Tuning Track
DGCFAD Tuning Track
Standard Tuning Track

Introduction :
Performance Notes
After Dark
Alphonso Brown Is Back in Town
The Darkest Hour
E Funk
Eureka Hotel
Lightning Rod
Meant to Be
She Moved Through the Faire
Slinky Soozie
Smoky Mountain Morning
St. Clair's Rag
Station to Station
Tony's Rag
The West Wind
Page CD Track


AI Petteway
The Guitarist
AI Petteway has played music professionally since he was 12 years old, performing nearly
every type of popular, folk, and classical music. Though his primary instrument has always
been the guitar, he has also studied lute, string bass, percussion, and music composition. His
compositions for acoustic fingerstyle guitar are strongly influenced by his love of Celtic
music and his own roots in folk, rock, and blues. His recordings, music books, and instructional
videotapes have helped to win him international acclaim and appearances on National
Public Radio. Before relocating from Takoma Park, Maryland, to the mountains of western
North Carolina, AI was awarded 45 Wammies by the Washington Area Music Association,
including the top honors of Artist of the Year and Musician of the Year. He was the recipient
of two Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards for Music Composition and has
performed at the Vice President's Residence and the White House. His playing is featured on
more than 60 recordings by some of the world's best-known folk and Celtic musicians, and
his music is heard daily between segments on NPR. He performs extensively with his wife,
Amy White. He teaches private lessons and records acoustic music in their home studio in
Fairview, North Carolina. He is also the Guitar Week coordinator for the world-famous
Swannanoa Gathering music camp at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, North Carolina. 


Price: €39,99
SKU: 5135
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