Musician and eTown founder Nick Forster called up Billy Strings on the latest installment of his “Teach Me One Thing” series. The internet serial features the Hot Rize founder learning from musicians across the audible spectrum.
The previous two installments of “Teach Me One Thing” have featured lessons from Steve Martin and Mike Gordon. Forster started the series earlier this month with the simple goal of staying connected to his musical friends during quarantine.
The video opens with some friendly chitchat between Strings and Forster, who normally only see each other in a festival setting. Strings says that now, with self-mandated quarantines still in full effect, he finds himself getting in touch with people more than ever before, as he calls up old friends. Forster also suggests that “the guitar is probably in your hands more than usual,” to which Strings coyly responds that he has “taken a few days off here and there.” Audiences also get a glimpse of the rose bushes budding around Strings’s porch, which are just as new to him as they are to us as he is usually on tour when they come into bloom, “I didn’t know we had all these flowers n’ s–t” he says with a laugh.
It also turns out that quarantine came at an opportune time for Strings and his band. Earlier this week, bassist Royal Masat got into a bike accident that currently prevents him from playing his instrument. Masat is okay, but this injury would have put a serious damper on any touring plans with which the band would have been involved.
Eventually, the musicians get down to business as Strings teaches Forster a guitar playing trick he picked up from listening to Doc Watson. Specifically, the maneuver comes from how Watson plays “Ragtime Annie”. What Strings proceeds to show audiences is a kind of alternating, up-down-up-down picking style that increases mobility on the fretboard. Once Strings puts the technique into action at full speed, it’s immediately apparent how much he uses the skill in his own music. Strings then takes it back down to a slow pace to teach Forster, and by association the viewer, how to pick up this skill.
Watch Billy Strings and Nick Forster on “Teach Me One Thing”.
Nick Forster’s “Teach Me One Thing” (episode 3) — Billy Strings
Even though Billy Strings is off the road for the foreseeable future, he has managed to stay busy. In addition to giving free guitar lessons to Forster and viewers everywhere, Strings has launched his own podcast, On The Line With Billy Strings. Listen to the first three installments here.