Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

229
Banjo Lovers Online


Discussion Forum

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!

 All Forums
 Playing the Banjo
 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW (OT) 18 March 2016: Swingin' on a Gate (Update: tab added!)


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/316344

jenorma1 - Posted - 03/18/2016:  07:30:00


Hey everybody,



In honor of St Patrick's day (well actually that didn't occur to me until just now) I've picked the Irish tune "Swingin on a Gate" for Tune of the Week.  Since moving to Michigan, I've started going to an old time jam that follows a "round robin" format and tends to lean varying degrees of Irish depending on the attendance.  Rather than sitting back and sticking to rhythm, I've decided to jump right in and get at least a few of these tunes under my belt!



Swingin' on a Gate is one such tune that I've seen the same fiddler call several times and it really stuck out the first time I heard it.  I've found a couple good youtube videos:



Here's my favorite Irish Version (they call it "swinging on the gate")



youtube.com/watch?v=KXpmtxw0NtA



This mandolin player does a great job of playing it slowly as a lesson:



youtube.com/watch?v=GU3m3gvwoEI



I also got excited when I found Ken Perlman playing the tune, but unfortunately it was on guitar rather than banjo:



youtube.com/watch?v=o42vsCNmF38



As an aside: I had no idea Ken was such a great fingerstyle guitar player!



The 3-finger players seem to have it down:



youtube.com/watch?v=qkdqycy5Hy8



...but I can't find any clawhammer videos on youtube!  



I know there are a couple of mp3s on the hangout, and I hope you guys will step forward and share - but my example is attached (played in "old G" on Buckeye #159).  Also, I wrote a tab to this but left it at work - I will scan it and upload it later.



Can't wait to hear what you guys come up with!



Jeff



Edited by - jenorma1 on 03/19/2016 06:50:07



Swingin' on a Gate

   

jenorma1 - Posted - 03/19/2016:  06:44:33


Hey everybody - I've added a tab for my version of "Swingin on a Gate" (should be identical to how I played it in the MP3).



A couple of notes: I play this in "old G" (gDGDE), which is the tuning I use for all of my G tunes.  Also, I come from a cello background and am therefore big on hand positions: basically I keep my left hand in a single place and avoid moving up and down the fingerboard whenever possible - and I play with all of my fingers.  This tune uses 3 hand positions, which I've included in the tab and labeled A, B, and C - I've indicated where to switch positions on the tab as well.  



Just a little further explanation of this - for hand position A your index falls on the 2nd fret, your middle falls on the 3rd, your ring falls on the 4th and your pinky falls on the 5th (this is also indicated on the tab).  When you're "in hand position A," the goal is to simply use these particular fingers for the frets I've indicated - if you see a note on the 5th fret (whatever the string) you should try to use your pinky to  fret it.  Once again, this makes playing easier in my opinion.  However, if you dont like playing this way, then simply ignore the hand position notes and have fun : )




Swingin on a Gate tab - Jeff Norman

   

sellis - Posted - 03/19/2016:  15:31:07


Nice, Jeff.

Have things gone Irish since the only time I was able to make Wednesday night? At least I hope they have not started jumping around from key to key and started playing stuff in 6/8.

Be careful lest you start seeing wee people scurrying around the west side of the house! Erin go bragh! (a little late).

Stew

John D - Posted - 03/19/2016:  16:10:21


Finally, a TOTW I know.  A great tune.  Sounds nice in old G.  I'm playing in G tuning but low.




Swinging on a Gate

   

jenorma1 - Posted - 03/19/2016:  16:23:36


Really, really awesome version John!!  Love the harmonic tension in the B part - thanks for posting!


jenorma1 - Posted - 03/19/2016:  16:30:16


quote:




Originally posted by sellis

 

Nice, Jeff.



Have things gone Irish since the only time I was able to make Wednesday night? At least I hope they have not started jumping around from key to key and started playing stuff in 6/8.



Be careful lest you start seeing wee people scurrying around the west side of the house! Erin go bragh! (a little late).



Stew


 







Great to hear from you Stew!  You actually made your way to the jam on a fairly Old-time friendly night if I remember correctly - fairly frequent key jumping and 6/8 (sometimes even 3/4!) tunes can defintely par for the course!  As for the wee people - I think the clawhammer keeps them away but I'm sure they're around when I'm not : )



Hit me up next time you're coming through Lansing - we'll play a few tunes!


Don Huber - Posted - 03/20/2016:  09:54:03


Here is a clawhammer fragment of my fiddle partner and I playing on a public tourism TV documentary. This tune is a staple of our repertoire these days; not just around St. Pat's day.



My wife nd I have recorded an extended version of our arrangement which we hope to have posted soon.



John D's version is brilliant and the ornaments on that 3 finger version by Mr. Lowe are breathtaking!



 



 



youtu.be/wOIUrUmcrfE?t=13m40s


jenorma1 - Posted - 03/20/2016:  11:07:00


Sounds great Don!  I always love a fiddle/banjo duo and your version is solid - can't wait to hear the version you play with your wife!



 


JanetB - Posted - 03/20/2016:  18:34:40


A unique and new tune for me and a challenge to simplify Ken Perlman's lovely guitar picking with an open G arrangement for clawhammer.  I've enjoyed hearing the many versions here.  Thanks, Jeff!  Here's what the tune makes me think of:





Edited by - JanetB on 03/20/2016 18:35:09



Swinging on a Gate (CH) tab

   

JanetB - Posted - 03/20/2016:  21:58:41


For some reason the previous MP3 didn't upload correctly, so here it is again to match the tab above.




Swinging on a Gate

   

cmic - Posted - 03/21/2016:  01:05:00


quote:

Originally posted by John D

 

Finally, a TOTW I know.  A great tune.  Sounds nice in old G.  I'm playing in G tuning but low.







Nice playing. Makes my feet stomping louder, can't stop it. Such a feeling !


jenorma1 - Posted - 03/21/2016:  06:48:31


quote:

Originally posted by JanetB

 

For some reason the previous MP3 didn't upload correctly, so here it is again to match the tab above.







Hey Janet - thanks for fixing this!  



Your version captures the feeling of Ken's playing perfectly - super creative and smooth playing!  



I love how different all of these versions sound - great work all around and keep them coming!


Zischkale - Posted - 03/23/2016:  06:11:34


Good post Jeff. I like the sound of it in Old G, I'm totally on board with doing my G tunes in that atmosphere but haven't crossed over there yet (lowering that third string really whacks my banjo out of tune--probably need to consider a new mix of strings or let the BAS take over and buy another instrument that can handle the retuning!). 



Your tab is sharp too, maybe the most detailed I've seen, really cool that you've taken the time to note your finger positions (even cooler that you include the option to ignore 'em if it suits the player)!


Feo - Posted - 03/23/2016:  07:28:16


This Swinging on the Gate totw was just at the right time... I've been working on Irish G-tuning tunes lately , so it fit right in , all I had to do was hook up my mic and give it an improv whirl .... I'm playing a combination of thumb-pick + 2-finger rolls .... Im also trying banjo backup to my banjo - shows you that 2 banjos CAN play at the same time :-)



Swinging on the Gate TOTW

   

bhniko - Posted - 03/23/2016:  09:25:04


As always...enjoyed everyone playing and the tab from Janet and of course the history lesson. Thanks.


jenorma1 - Posted - 03/23/2016:  13:46:48


quote:

Originally posted by Zischkale

 

Good post Jeff. I like the sound of it in Old G, I'm totally on board with doing my G tunes in that atmosphere but haven't crossed over there yet (lowering that third string really whacks my banjo out of tune--probably need to consider a new mix of strings or let the BAS take over and buy another instrument that can handle the retuning!). 




Your tab is sharp too, maybe the most detailed I've seen, really cool that you've taken the time to note your finger positions (even cooler that you include the option to ignore 'em if it suits the player)!







Thanks Aaron!



I find Old G really useful b/c, along with the cool atmosphere it gives your G tunes, I tune up to A/D rather than using a capo and I hate tuning all the way back down to open G.  Going all the way to Open G really throws my neck out of whack, but theres still a bit of this going down to Old G (as you've mentioned); old G takes about a tune to settle into, but open G takes 4 or 5 and some nights I feel it never really gets there!  Another solution is to use what Adam Hurt calls "Sandy river belle G" (gEADE) for G tunes, but I really miss that low D note that Old G gives me.  



Anyways, there are bound to be some disadvantages to playing an instrument in a bunch of different tunings, but I think thats part of the banjo's charm!



Glad you liked the tab - hopefully we'll hear your version of swingin on a gate eventually!



I checked out your videos and found the reggae "boatman" - glad to see I'm not the only one who took a detour through reggae/ska on the way to the banjo : )


jenorma1 - Posted - 03/23/2016:  13:50:12


quote:

Originally posted by Feo

 

This Swinging on the Gate totw was just at the right time... I've been working on Irish G-tuning tunes lately , so it fit right in , all I had to do was hook up my mic and give it an improv whirl .... I'm playing a combination of thumb-pick + 2-finger rolls .... Im also trying banjo backup to my banjo - shows you that 2 banjos CAN play at the same time :-)







Super cool to hear a 2 finger (and 2 banjo) version!  What tuning did you use - also what type of banjo are you playing? (the low notes on your backup track sound nice!!)



I jam weekly with another banjo player and I find that it makes me more creative (finding interesting harmonies/playing the melody in 2 octaves) - maybe we'll post a recording at some point!


Don Huber - Posted - 03/24/2016:  01:40:54


Jimmy- As usual you get all the notes in! I hope the OP won't mind that I repost this O'Carolan tune in G that we play all the time these days. And we usually go into Swinging on A Gate.



 



youtu.be/mysxw2hLCK8


Feo - Posted - 03/24/2016:  06:40:37


quote:

Originally posted by jenorma1

 
quote:


Originally posted by Feo

 


This Swinging on the Gate totw was just at the right time... I've been working on Irish G-tuning tunes lately , so it fit right in , all I had to do was hook up my mic and give it an improv whirl .... I'm playing a combination of thumb-pick + 2-finger rolls .... Im also trying banjo backup to my banjo - shows you that 2 banjos CAN play at the same time :-)








Super cool to hear a 2 finger (and 2 banjo) version!  What tuning did you use - also what type of banjo are you playing? (the low notes on your backup track sound nice!!)




I jam weekly with another banjo player and I find that it makes me more creative (finding interesting harmonies/playing the melody in 2 octaves) - maybe we'll post a recording at some point!







Glad you guys liked the tune ...  Don knows that I experiment with different banjos and tunings ...  I use a cobbled-together Pete Seeger type long neck banjo to reach low notes ... I  used a Chinese  junk banjo here  too ( terrible rim construction - no QC in the factory ) people don't like them but they are playable if set up right ... Ive been using a plastic rim banjo lately ....  I have an expensive Deering banjo that mostly goes unused because of the heavy weight LOL  ... guess as we get older we gravitate towards the lighter stuff .


jenorma1 - Posted - 03/24/2016:  09:57:55


Thanks Jimmy and Don - no prob about posting other tunes, maybe I'll learn that one next!  Sounds like you've got quite the quiver of banjos, Jimmy!  My buckeye is a thin wood rim with a rosewood tonering - I defintely appreciate how light weight it is.



 


Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

7.910156E-02