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Advance Australia Fair - A fingerstyle guitar lesson.

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Brass guitar slides
Here's one for us Aussies: Advance Australia Fair, our national anthem. I'm sure many non Aussies know it as a high rotation anthem at the Olympics. We do well there.

It's been the subject of much debate over the years. Most Aussie believe we need a new anthem, that this one is boring, if not silly. "Our home is girt by sea" surely is the only sentence in the English language that uses the word 'girt'. Musically, though, it's pretty much like all anthems, lots of I-IV-V chords. I threw in a couple of vi and ii chords and even a II (E7) but they're optional.

My arrangement is in Dropped D tuning, which lends itself well to these anthems, lots of open strings jangling away. So before launching into it, lower that bass string by a whole tone to D.

The opening phrase is pure chord tones. 5-1-5-3-1-5 ... you'll notice that I do a pinkie pull-off in that line. You don't have to, of course, but it did seem a natural move to my fingers. I do a couple more later on. Mere detail.

There's no much to report in this but you might wonder why I travelled up the neck in bar 8. I could have stayed down at the nut for the whole phrase but after experimenting I found that it all flowed better if I moved up the neck for the last part of the E7 chord and the next bit over the Asus4. I encourage you to try staying down near the nut and to work out how to play it there. I think you'll agree with me that move up the neck is worth it.

I do a similar move a bit later to get to that Bm at bar 15. Again, it seems to flow better.

(many teachers will tell you to keep in position whenever possible, to steer clear of big moves up or down the fretboard. I don't agree. I always opt for the most musical way of playing a line or phrase, not the most compact way, and by 'musical' I mean 'flowing'. The flow is the music, not the notes.)

I hope you like this arrangement, it's pretty straight forward and it's all good practice.

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

Kirk LorangeAs well as putting together these fingerstyle guitar lessons, I am also the author of PlaneTalk - The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Package, which teaches a mindset, a way of thinking about music and a way of tracking it all on the guitar fretboard. Yes, there IS a constant down there in the maze of strings and fret wire, a landmark that points to everything at all times. I call it The Easiest Yet Most Powerful Guitar Lesson You Will Ever Learn and many testimonials at my site will back up that rather superlative description. If your goal as a guitar player is to be able to truly PLAY the guitar, not just learn by rote; to be able to invent on the fly, not memorize every note; to be able to see the WHOLE fretboard as friendly, familiar territory, not just the first 5 frets and to do it all without thinking about all those scales and modes, then you should read more here.