Make Me a Pallet, Two-Lesson Set

Happy Traum

43 minutes, includes tab

  • Code:DLHAPPA23
  • Skill Level:Intermediate (4)

Make Me a Pallet On Your Floor can be traced back to the 19th Century, but it has been a standard of the folk and blues revival for over 50 years. It has been recorded by numerous artists through the years, including Mississippi John Hurt’s famous version (called Ain’t No Tellin’) from 1927, as well as renditions by Big Bill Broonzy, Jelly Roll Morton, Brownie McGhee, Odetta, Doc Watson, David Bromberg, and dozens more. It is one of the standards in the repertoire of fingerpickers and is a wonderful song to learn. 

Lesson One:

John Hurt’s seminal version is played it out of the C position, but Happy’s arrangement is in E (capoed to G). In this first lesson, he methodically breaks down the basics with a crash course in alternate-bass fingerpicking and adding hammer-ons, a bass walk, a flat 4 chord and some great runs that can be applied to other songs out of the E position. He teaches a syncopated E chord lick that can be used in many songs and will add to any player’s bag of tricks.

Lesson Two:

In his second, slightly more advanced lesson, Happy expands the fretboard by moving up the neck and playing some great licks using the F shape. He shows some double-stops, bass runs, a diminished chord and some great single-string licks to build movement into this fingerpicking standard. Happy caps off the lesson with a 6-2-5-1 turnaround that you can add to the arrangement and build depth and movement. 

This song provides a terrific opportunity for you to build your repertoire and add some excitement to your playing in a short time. You’ll get insight into this great tune and get some tasteful ideas that will set you on the path to making this song your own. 


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