Flatpick 101 (21F-MUS-001)

Level: Beginner/Low Intermediate

Date: September 13 – October 21, 2021
Location: Hillside Jr. High School
Day: : Mondays
Time: 6:30 – 7:30
Duration: 45 Minutes (+ 15 minutes of house keeping or jam pending schedule adjustments)
Cost: $60.  for 6 week workshop + Text ($24.95)
9/9/21:  Waiting List Only

Check the  Community Education Office website for updates.


Flatpick guitar has been a fundamental style for Rock’n Roll, Traditional Country, Folk, Celtic, Old Time, Irish, Bluegrass, Classic as well as other genres of music. This course will explore flatpicking songs using American roots music but, is transferable to other genres and a valuable staple for singer/songwriters.

Flatpick 101 is a 6 week introductory level workshop designed to teach basics in the art of flatpicking acoustic guitar using a sequential, step-by-step method that builds guitar skills while leaving no gaps nor, holes in your playing abilities. Course content is beneficial to beginners and guitar players working on developing their flatpick skills.

The intent of the course is to build a strong foundation so that you can easily maintain consistent forward progress in your study of flatpicking. The workshop focus will be specifically on Rhythm, Bass Runs, and Fill Licks.

Acoustic Guitar: 6 string flat top (steel string) no 12 strings! Round-neck resonators are OK.
Recommended Strings: D’Addarios 80/20 Bronze – EJ12
Metronome: Yes – required. Phone app OK.
Plectrum/Pick: .88 to 1.5mm
Text: Flatpick Essentials — Rhythm, Bass Runs and Fill Licks.
By Dan Miller
Flatpick Image
Text Book Cost: $24.95
Nota Bene: 20% discount for participants who register for this workshop. Instructor will send discount code to registered students.  Enter this when you are checking out and it will take 20% off the order.

Instructor: Alan Anderson

Special Thanks To Workshop Sponsors:
Boise Schools, Community Education
Flatpick Guitar Magazine
D’Addario Guitar Strings


Course Syllabus


Workshop Presentation

Week 1


  • Introductions
  • Flatpick Example
  • Syllabus Review
  • Holding Your Guitar When You Play
  • Right Hand Mechanics
  • Left Hand Mechanics
  • Plectrum Techniques
    Swing Stroke (p. 28)
    Rest Stroke (p.28)
  • Notes on the Staff
  • Notes on the First 4 Frets, Across 6 Strings
  • Reading Tab (p.82)
  • Metronome (P.87)
  • Rhythm (p.88)


Brad Davis Right Hand Technique for the Acoustic Guitar
Clarence White – Bluegrass Guitar Picking Technique
Tony Rice “Shenandoah”
Handout #1: Introductions to Chords
Handout #2: Music Notes and Notation
Handout #3: G-C-D Chord Forms


Week 2


The Role of Rhythm and the Guitar Player
Major Scales, Chords and Arpeggio
G Major Open Position, Lower and Upper Octave, (p. 93)
G Major 2nd Position, Lower and Upper Octave, (p. 93)
Handout #4: Major Scales (Open Position)
Handout #5: Arpeggios


Jennifer Batten: Lesson – Building Stamina & Speed

Handout #3: Notes on the Staff
Review Notes on the Guitar Fingerboard (p.90)
Review the Whole Step, Half Step process #1.) #2.)  and #3.) (p.90)
Reading Tab (p. 82)
Metronome (p. 87)
Rhythm (p.88)
Handout #6: Guitar Notes
Handout #7: Capo Chart

Week 3


Techniques, Examples and Exercises
Adding A Little Texture — The Alternating Bass Line p.15 – 17
Guiding the Listener’s Ear: […] p.18 – 26


Handout #1: Chord Rhythm with Repeating Bass Note
Handout #2:  I – IV -V Progressions Rhythm with Repeating Bass Notes in the Keys of G, C & D

Week 4



DANNY BOY – Melody & Rhythm
Melody & Rhythm
Melody Loop – Play the rhythm part
Rhythm Loop – Play the melody part

Week 5


  • Alternating Pick Directions and Eighth Note Practice
  • Rhythm with Eight Note Runs
  • 12 Bar Blues (Bass Line)


Alternating Pick Directions p. 29 – 31
HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN – Arpeggio Accompaniment

AURA LEE – Melody & Rhythm
Nota Bene: May sound very much like Elvis Presley’s LOVE ME TENDER from the film THE TROUBLED GIRLS
Melody and Rhythm
Melody Loop
– Play the rhythm part
Rhythm Loop – Play the melody part

Week 6


  • G-Run Embellishments, Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs and Slides
  • Integrating What You’ve Learned
  • Creating Movement
  • Creating Movement while staying on 1 Chord
  • Syncopation
  • Additional Topics
  • Wrap up

Bluegrass Boogie – Melody & Rhythm

Supplemental Material

ROLLING IN MY SWEET BABY’S ARMS, Key of G. Melody, Lyrics, Chords
Rhythm (Based on p.58)

SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD, Key of G. Melody, Lyrics, Chords

BAD MOON RISING, Key of G. Melody, Lyrics, Chords
Rhythm (Based on studies from text)

SHENANDOAH, Key of D, Melody Lyrics, Chords
Rhythm Worksheet
Nota Bene: Workshop participants will develop their own rhythm bed/arrangement based on what they’ve learned in the workshop.