Guitar, Crosspicking, Levels 2/3

Kathy Barwick

We'll explore the technique known as "crosspicking" in flatpick guitar, in particular the styles of Doc Watson, Norman Blake, and Clarence White. We’ll cover as much as we can of the following:

Basic crosspicking technique, including the DUDU (down-up-down-up) and DDU patterns. Explore several "uses" for crosspicking within the flatpicking guitar technique, including:

  • Expressing a descending or ascending fiddle tune melody line
  • Embedding a song melody within a crosspicking pattern
  • Filling time between melodic phrases (as a banjo would do)

Explore how Doc Watson, Norman Blake, and Clarence White used crosspicking in their music, including how each adapted the technique for their unique style.

Prerequisites: Students should be able to move fluidly between the open chords commonly used in bluegrass (G, C, D, F, A, Em, Am); know a few solos to common bluegrass tunes and songs (e.g., Whiskey Before Breakfast, Arkansas Traveler, Wildwood Flower), and be familiar with the "founding fathers" of crosspicking, including Doc Watson, Norman Blake, and Clarence White. Other guitarists of interest related to crosspicking include George Shuffler and Tony Rice.

About Kathy Barwick

Since 1978, Kathy has taught private and group lessons, and is a sought-after music camp instructor. Kathy was a long-time contributor to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and FGM publisher Dan Miller says Kathy was perhaps his most popular columnist. This work has made her an in-demand instructor across the country, as well as in Canada and Ireland. Music camp credits include two stints at Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp, many turns at the California Bluegrass Association’s and the American River Acoustic Music camps on both dobro and guitar, the California Coast Music Camp, Walker Creek Music Camp, the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, Colorado Roots Music Camp, the Georgia Strait Guitar Workshop and the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop. Kathy’s unique approach to crosspicking was featured in Acoustic Guitar Magazine in January 2012.

Kathy’s recordings include:

Heart’s Desire, The All Girl Boys
It’s About Time, Trouble In The Mine, and Another Sunny Day in California, Mountain Laurel Bluegrass Band
Two "solo" albums, In My Life and Braeburn
West of Ireland and Out on the Ocean, Nine-8ths Irish
Barroom Philosopher, One Foot In, Live at Wendalls, The Mike Justis Band

Kathy’s approach to teaching focuses on providing students with the tools to learn recorded solos by ear, create their own arrangements, and, ultimately, improvise. Kathy’s ability to break down both technique and theory in the service of playing traditional music has resulted in many "aha" moments for her students.

Kathy is very highly regarded as a teacher for her clear and systematic approach, and always gets outstanding reviews from students, so we're excited to have her teaching her specialty, crosspicking, at Walker Creek this spring!