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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 3 months in and looking for some suggestions (includes recording)

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sish

8 posts
since 3/7/14

05/19/2017 05:49:15 Reply with Quote

First I have to say, this clawhammer music is SO MUCH FUN! Coming from Mandolin and some overwhelmingly painful violin lessons Clawhammer is so much fun! I just wish there were more people down here in Tampa, FL that played..

Anyway, I've done what most newbies do, you-tube, various books, online and offline resources. I set my heart to learning cripple creek and being able to play the simplest of melodies. Well last weekend while sitting on the back porch with my dog, my 10 year old daughter came out, I started playing Cripple Creek, and before you knew it.. she and I were making up lyrics to the "Jack the Dog" song.

I recorded it on my phone (please forgive the audio quality), and I shared it with her friends and grandparents.. however, I feel like it's not right, something is missing. I am guessing the bum-ditty isn't perfect, and while I can accept it may never be I would like to get on the road to improving it.

I've included a sound cloud link to it below that I shared with family, would love to hear what I can do to improve, just not 100% pleased with where I am at. Now I am 100% pleased that I got my 10 year old interested in making up goofy song lyrics and singing with her Dad, I'll take the small wins where I can get them.

https://soundcloud.com/mmshann/jack-the-dog-based-on-cripple-creek

Matt

thisoldman

United States
1046 posts since 5/2/12

05/19/2017 07:23:45 View thisoldman's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Banjo playing aside, what a great listen.  I think you have hit on the best things about making music -- sharing it with others, making your own music (lyrics) and best of all, having fun with it (which really comes through). 
You asked about your banjo playing.  The notes are there, but timing and dynamics  are things that came to mind, and the breaks seemed a bit rushed.  So my suggestion, and take it for what it's worth, is to slow down, hum or sing along (or better yet, have your daughter sing) , and fine tune  your playing to match up with the nuances of the melody.  That said, to get where you are now, accompanying your singing (and your daugher's singing), making up your own lyrics, is way awesome.   And making up lyrics with your daughter and singing this goofy song is a treasure to keep, for sure. 

 

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sish

8 posts since 3/7/14

05/19/2017 07:52:26 Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by thisoldman
 

Banjo playing aside, what a great listen.  I think you have hit on the best things about making music -- sharing it with others, making your own music (lyrics) and best of all, having fun with it (which really comes through). 
You asked about your banjo playing.  The notes are there, but timing and dynamics  are things that came to mind, and the breaks seemed a bit rushed.  So my suggestion, and take it for what it's worth, is to slow down, hum or sing along (or better yet, have your daughter sing) , and fine tune  your playing to match up with the nuances of the melody.  That said, to get where you are now, accompanying your singing (and your daugher's singing), making up your own lyrics, is way awesome.   And making up lyrics with your daughter and singing this goofy song is a treasure to keep, for sure. 


Yes, I most certainly rushed the breaks. However is that how it's typically played? strum.. then breaks...then strum.. then breaks? I remember that from my mandolin days and just went with it. The breaks themselves were rushed, there's something about recording that makes me clamp down like a crazy person. Perhaps more recording will cure me of that through constant exposure.

The best part was the following morning she was singing the song on our way to school. She said "Dad, can we do a song about too much homework next?" I said.. "Sure thing kiddo, just get your homework done first" wink

I'll keep working on bum ditty and getting more comfortable.

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thisoldman

United States
1046 posts since 5/2/12

05/19/2017 08:47:33 View thisoldman's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Whatever form you want to take - singing, break, singing - is up to you.  Your recording sounded just fine.  If you wanted to up the production value, you might look at the tabs here http://www.banjoutah.com/styled-14/iframe/  His (very) easy version has a little intro, followed by a simple arrangement - you could play that first, then sing, then play a more challenging arrangement as a break, then finish with more singing.  That might be worth your while if you are going to self- record your own CD, with this song and the homework song as your first 2 tracks smiley  Maybe a Christmas gift for relatives and friends - wouldn't that be a fun project to share with your daughter.


Edited by - thisoldman on 05/19/2017 08:50:58

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AndrewD

United Kingdom
653 posts since 4/29/12

05/19/2017 12:23:10 View AndrewD's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Coming along very nicely. I could suggest that you might find it easier to continue the clawhammer bump-a-diddy for the accompaniment as well as the breaks - just keep it simpler when singing but don't change the rhythm or pattern - just bump-diddy on the basic chords. "Breaks" are more a bluegrass thing than an old time thing.

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sish

8 posts since 3/7/14

05/19/2017 15:11:19 Reply with Quote

Thanks! If bluegrass is more "breaky" then how would the same song be played in a more old time fashion? I'd love to experiment with it a bunch of different ways.

Matt

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thisoldman

United States
1046 posts since 5/2/12

05/19/2017 16:45:21 View thisoldman's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

AndrewD is right, "break" is a bluegrass term.  In the Old Time world, I'm not sure if what you played in the middle of "Jack the Dog" would be called a solo (probably not), and instrumental, or something else. And It really doesn't make a difference.  You might find this tongue-in-cheek explanation of the difference between the 2 styles (, bluegrass, old time, plus Celtic) http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/229021  Bluegrass/Scruggs style and Old-Time sort of refer more to playing styles (and the resulting differences in the arrangements), I think,  although there are differences in the  format of the playing in a group/jam  if you listened to a bluegrass band and an Old Time group playing the same song.  I don't know how representative these 2 examples are, but here is Cripple Creek played by Borderline Old Time Band https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqJDoW7XG8s and here it is played by Blue Ribbon Bluegrass https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fur0tMNXh_g


Edited by - thisoldman on 05/19/2017 16:59:50

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