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World Virtual Flatpicking Contest

While COVID has cancelled all of the in person guitar contests such as the National Flatpicking Contest in Winfield, Kansas and the contest at the Wayne Henderson Festival, guitar pickers have been home playing up a storm and are ready to share their new tunes.

Flatpicking virtuosos Steve Kaufman and Marcy Marxer have cooked up a remedy,the 1st World Virtual Flatpicking Contest. In fact, as a virtual eventany guitar picker in the world with an internet connection and a way to videotape can enter.


The contest will build community, share music and help keep the tradition of friendly music contests vibrant. The major sponsor is COME HEAR NORTH CAROLINA

. Raffle and prize contributions have been donated by Ear Trumpet Labs

, Elderly Instruments

, Fishman,,

, Down Home Guitars, Acoustic Vibes Music, Fret and Fiddle, Tonal Park:Recording, Mixing and Mastering and Gold Tone Instruments.


Submissions will be accepted starting on Monday, September 21, 2020 at 9:00 AM EDT (US Eastern Daylight Savings Time) and will CLOSE on Monday, September 28, 2020 at NOON EDT.

To register, first visit and click the TAB at the top of the page for 1st World Virtual Flatpicking Contest and pay the $20.00 registration fee.
Limit 150 Contest Players. All submissions can be viewed in the Facebook Event at:

There is also a Raffle Drawing only link so that non-contest supporters can participate in the raffle. Visit and click the TAB at the top of the page for 1st World Virtual Flatpicking Contest.  See the RAFFLE and Donate buttons. And ANYONE can make a tax-deductible donation to the Institute of Musical Traditions.


Additional details and judging criteria and be found here:

The FINALS will be broadcast on FACEBOOK and YouTube on Saturday, October 3 at 7pm eastern time.


Logo and art work created by former Martin Guitars artist liaison, DickBoak. Fiscal sponsor Institute of Musical Traditions, a 501c3 non-profit organization.

For more information contact:

Marcy Marxer,  Steve Kaufman,

The Rules and Regulations


Step 1:  To register, first visit and click the TAB at the top of the page for the 1st World Virtual Flatpicking Contest and pay the $20.00 registration fee.
Limit 150 Contest Players.


Step 2: After registering, paid entrants will be emailed the submission email for Dropbox, an email for YouTube, and the link for theFacebook event. 


Step 3: POST YOUR VIDEO! Video Submissions will be accepted starting on Monday, September 21, 2020 at 9:00 AM EDT (US Eastern Daylight Savings Time) and will CLOSE on Monday, September 28,2020 at NOON EDT.


* Late Video submissions will not be considered even if the registration fee has been paid.

NO refunds will be issued.


* Any video submissions received without payment will be deleted.



Preliminary-round contestants should submit One Registration and ONE video of ONE tune or song of no more than THREE MINUTES in length. Contest entries may be played solo or mayfeature one accompanist. The contestant must be easily heard.


At the beginning of the video entry, contestants MUST announce their name and the date of submission, and they should indicate that the video is for the Virtual World Flatpicking Contest. This protocol is meant to eliminate the possibility of old videos being used. The judges want to hear new performances!Contestants' faces and their instruments should be in full view of the camera throughout the performance.


Videos MUST be linked to the contest World Virtual Flatpicking 2020 Facebook page at will appear on the Community TAB at the top of the page.  Submissions may also be emailed as unlisted YouTube links to




    -A Medley of tunes or songs is not permitted.


    -Players who have won 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in the National Flatpicking Contest at the Winfield, Kansas are not eligible to enter.


   -Players must play with a Flatpick.  No fingerpicking allowed or combination of pick and fingers.


   -Players must play in Standard Tuning at 440 PITCH E, A, D, G, B, E WITH THE EXCEPTION OF The low 6th string can be tuned to Low D.




1.     40 pointsARRANGEMENT – Contestant’s version of the tune selected. Is it appropriate to the tune and arrangement? Is the tune selected in keeping with the flavor of the Contest? Is the arrangement original, for the most part, to the contestant, or is it someone else’s known arrangement? 


2.     40 points - EXECUTION& ARTICULATION – Are the notes buzzing and muddy, or are they clear and distinct? Tone – Are the notes full or thin sounding? Timing – Is the tempo steady and constant? Dexterity – Are the notes played in difficult positions up and down the fingerboard or is the piece played for the most partin first and/or second position? Tuning – Is the instrument in tune with itself and relatively close to concert pitch of A=440? 


3.     10 points - EXPRESSION, DYNAMICS – The music should be played with life and feeling.


4.     10 points - OVERALL IMPRESSION – Paragraphs 1 through 3 are considered at this point.





The judging panel will consist of three judges with considerable professional experience playing and judging Flatpicking. Each judge will keep separate scores and will not discuss scoring during the contest. The three judges scores will be added together to determine the total score for each contestant.Contestant scores will not be made publicly available. All decisions made by the judges are final.


The TOP FIVE contestants will be determined and announced on Tuesday, September 29 at 3:00PM Eastern time on the World Virtual Flatpicking Contest Facebook Page, in the Community tab:

Incase of a tie for 5th or 6th place in the finals a second submission will be requested.



The top five contestants will enter a separate final round of competition.Finalists should submit ONE video of TWO tunes with a MAXIMUM OF 5 MINUTES inlength. Finalists can re-tune or change guitars between selections; however, the camera and recording must remain rolling. This requirement is meant to mimic the final round of a “live”contest, in which the two selections are played back-to-back, and to encourage a timely transition from one selection to the next. Otherwise, the same rules,video submission guidelines, and judging criteria will apply to this round;however, each tune or song will be separately judged.


Instructions for submitting final-round videos will be provided to finalists. Submissions will be accepted starting on Thursday, October 1, at 9:00 AM EDT and will CLOSE on Friday, October 2, at 3:00 PM EDT. Late submissions will not be considered.


The final-round videos will be LIVE-STREAMED to the World Virtual Flatpicking Contest Facebook page on Saturday, October 3, beginning at 7:00 PM EDT.  

The AWARDS to be determined and announced at the conclusion of the broadcast.