Guitar Styles of the Carter Family

Mike Seeger
85-minute video, includes music and tab on pdf file to view or print. With Janette Carter
  • Code:DLSEGCF21
  • Skill Level:Near-Beginner (2)

The Carter Family (A.P., Sara and Maybelle) of southwestern Virginia has been a seminal force in the history of recorded country music. Maybelle's dynamic "thumb-lead" style in particular is essential knowledge for anyone interested in playing traditional American folk or country guitar.

In the 1960s and early 70s, Mike Seeger toured with Maybelle Carter and visited with Sara on several occasions, learning their styles intimately. He teaches you how to get the famous Carter Family guitar sound and incorporate it into some of their most significant songs. Even near-beginners will be able to learn these pieces, while more experienced guitarists will enjoy the subtleties of Maybelle's style. Mike is joined by Janette Carter, who offers reminiscences of the family, demonstrates her mother Sara's guitar playing, and sings on most of the songs.

Maybelle developed several innovative picking techniques, and they are each taught here, along with an appropriate song. They include two of the most famous pieces in the thumb-lead style, "Wildwood Flower" and "Jimmie Brown the Newsboy." Others include country blues style (The Cannonball), Hawaiian style (Little Darling Pal of Mine), and flat-pick style (You Are My Flower). Also included is Sara Carter's back-up style (Pretty Polly) and A.P. Carter's guitar style (I Never Will Marry).


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