Getting started in the most common key
This is the key you will most likely hear this song played in. A lot of people play it out of A as well, if that’s the case you’ll just put your capo on the second fret and use these same chord shapes. There are three basic walks in this arrangement. They are placed strategically to help move from one chord to another, establish the start of another phrase, and also stay out of the way of the vocal melody. This is just a place to get started. Depending on who is playing, singing, and how they are doing it, the amount and placement of your walks should adapt to support the musical situation.
The first walk leads us from G to C in measure 2. It comes just after the melody would finish. This does two things: fills space and leads everyone’s ear from one chord to another. The second walk is in measure 4. This is unique because it does not lead us from one chord to another. It comes just after the words “I’ll Fly Away” and before the start of the next vocal phrase. This fills space, and establishes that we are staying on the same chord, and starting a new phrase. The third walk is in measure 7 and leads from G to D. It comes during a long sustained vocal note which is a great time to add in a walk.
There are several different fingerings you could use for these chords. Watch the video Demonstration to see two different ways of playing through the song. There are many other walks in the lick switcher to try. Switch it up and have some fun, and try to pay attention when listening to your favorite bluegrass recordings. See if you can hear the walking bass on guitar or upright. You just may get some new ideas from it!
Now, let's play the same song in a different key.