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 Playing Advice: Bluegrass (Scruggs) Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Sally Ann Ain't That Simple


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/357064

Frisco Fred - Posted - 09/18/2019:  17:04:39


It's that crazy syncopation that alludes me. I think it's some kind of forward roll. I've heard allot of people play it wrong... and a few like Charley Cushman play it right, like in the attachment.  Where does the synco gap occur?  youtube.com/watch?v=P-H1oUMvJSk 

chuckv97 - Posted - 09/18/2019:  17:22:47


Starts like the Cripple Creek slide, except at the 12th to 17th frets. Then it’s forward rolls beginning on the 5th string so you hear the melody note late - on the downbeat of the 2 beat of the C measure. That’s the way I hear it,, and see it in the Scruggs book.


Edited by - chuckv97 on 09/18/2019 17:23:23

BrooksMT - Posted - 09/18/2019:  17:44:38


That's a really neat version, thanks for posting the url. I think synco is one of the coolest things about bluegrass banjo.

I slowed the song to 50% with youtube, and could identify some of the areas of synco...but have no idea how he played it...my excuse is I claw, but the real reason is Charley is too cool :-)

One thing I found learning synco on claw: I have to feel it, and let my fingers take control. I can't analyze the H***out of it and then try to tell my fingers what to do. If I just let the song flow, it will happen, but when I try to deliberately play synco, that usually fails. My explanation is that synco is right brain, analysis is left brain - right brain is non-verbal, and completely drops off-line once you start talking to yourself.

If this helps, great. If not, darn, but thanks for posting the neat song anyway.

Frisco Fred - Posted - 09/18/2019:  18:03:19


Thanks Chuck... I have a Scruggs book somewhere but can't find it. But what you wrote makes sense to me... cept, what's the downbeat? I think it's the "and" in the one and two and three and four timing count... right?



This is why what Brooks MT wrote also makes sense... it's like you get the feeling for the melody and then it just happens without thinking about it.



The Syncho Part I'm referring to happens at the 27 second mark in the attached video in the original post


Edited by - Frisco Fred on 09/18/2019 18:14:12

chuckv97 - Posted - 09/18/2019:  18:22:44


Hi Fred,, the downbeat is the first half of the beat, not the “and” which is usually called the upbeat. Here’s a tab of the first bit of the tune which closely follows what Charlie is playing.

chuckv97 - Posted - 09/18/2019:  18:26:56


At the :27 second mark is where he does the same “Cripple Creek” type of slide again. You have to time the start of that slide just right, if you remember. Look up the tab in the BHO tab archive,, it’s the one by Jim Pankey.

nitehawk0z - Posted - 09/18/2019:  20:47:24


I find the Scruggs book tab to have many errors on Sally Ann, I've had to figure out my own way. Anyone determine the same thing?

chuckv97 - Posted - 09/18/2019:  21:18:20


quote:

Originally posted by nitehawk0z

I find the Scruggs book tab to have many errors on Sally Ann, I've had to figure out my own way. Anyone determine the same thing?






Hi nitehawk,,, the old book or the revised one?  I find both had some errors,, but the revised one has the annoying “ghost slides” , as I like to call’em.  I haven’t checked the whole tab for Sally Ann against Earl’s recording on “Foggy Mountain Banjo”.  The first few measures look ok to me.

overhere - Posted - 09/19/2019:  04:41:22


I don’t read tab but always learned from what I heard. Saying that however I also realized long ago that as important was how you perceived that rhythm. Playing banjo is rhythm driven. If you can play while having that rhythm in your head things become easier. You have to remember these guys are playing with others that are providing the drive needed. Tab is ok to see where notes may go with what fingers I suppose. But an instrumental like Sally Ann needs that drive which allows your fingers to do what’s needed.
It’s very hard to explain….I usually can get something after I am completely warmed up and I have an out source rhythm either by someone playing bass or guitar…and now as I am older and no one’s around anymore I rely solely on a drum machine as my back ground rhythm. This frees up my brain to allow my fingers to flow through the beat not so much with the beat. As far as I see Sally Ann is majority forward roll…and is a simple tune repetitive.
For the beat, listen to it being played and tap your foot and you will hear and feel where that down beat is. Then you will also see and hear what those notes are doing. I like this video of Earl as it is clear and concise and easier to see what’s going on.
I don’t read tab but always learned from what I heard. Saying that however I also realized long ago that as important was how you perceived that rhythm. Playing banjo is rhythm driven. If you can play while having that rhythm in your head things become easier. You have to remember these guys are playing with others that are providing the drive needed. Tab is ok to see where notes may go with what fingers I suppose. But an instrumental like Sally Ann needs that drive which allows your fingers to do what’s needed.
It’s very hard to explain….I usually can get something after I am completely warmed up and I have an out source rhythm either by someone playing bass or guitar…and now as I am older and no one’s around anymore I rely solely on a drum machine as my back ground rhythm. This frees up my brain to allow my fingers to flow through the beat not so much with the beat. As far as I see Sally Ann is majority forward roll…and is a simple tune repetitive.
For the beat, listen to it being played and tap your foot and you will hear and feel where that down beat is. Then you will also see and hear what those notes are doing. I like this video of Earl as it is clear and concise and easier to see what’s going on.
youtube.com/watch?v=U8e4brXmMa0

AGACNP - Posted - 09/19/2019:  05:00:33


Fred,

Seems you are speaking specifically regarding the syncopated roll beginning at 0:27?

If so (as I hear it), fret the third string at 16, the second at 15, and the first at 14. The roll begins as a forward roll with thumb on third, index on second, middle on first.

Timing: I hear these rolls as sixteenth notes (if in 4/4 time). The roll begin with two sixteenth notes before the downbeat (thumb, index, as fretted above). The downbeat coincides with the middle finger noted on the 14th fret. Then continue with the same forward roll again, fretted the same way.

Next, theres a box roll, beginning with the 5th string, then followed by the second, third, and first strings as fretted above. Next, a forward roll on fifth, second, and finally the third fretted on the 17th fret.

stanleytone - Posted - 09/19/2019:  07:37:35


you ever listen to ralph stanley's "Fling Ding"? it sounds like his version of sally ann. he burns it up.

chuckv97 - Posted - 09/19/2019:  07:49:06


Here’s an album I had years ago with “Dine-E-O” , aka Sally Ann, on it, with Alan Shelton on banjo,,,, linked here.youtu.be/XMU6nE2wSxk


Edited by - chuckv97 on 09/19/2019 07:54:59

mander - Posted - 09/19/2019:  08:24:01


Sallys are never simple. Why should we be? :-)

sirtwangalot - Posted - 09/19/2019:  08:27:41


If you can play cripple creek, it's pretty simple.
Playing it at speed is another matter completely.

o2playlikeEarl - Posted - 09/19/2019:  11:03:33


quote:

Originally posted by Frisco Fred

It's that crazy syncopation that alludes me. I think it's some kind of forward roll. I've heard allot of people play it wrong... and a few like Charley Cushman play it right, like in the attachment.  Where does the synco gap occur?  youtube.com/watch?v=P-H1oUMvJSk 






I think Syncopation requires a 'feel'.  It's more than playing notes or tab.... feeling the sync is part of the 'it' factor that eludes many players.   A drummer (a good drummer) is a perfect example:  they aren't just clubbing on drums, they play the beat and feel (fill) the gaps with syncopation.   A person can listen to a song over and over and over and many times can finally get the feel which will help learn how to add syncopation.  


Edited by - o2playlikeEarl on 09/19/2019 11:07:34

monstertone - Posted - 09/19/2019:  13:27:23


I never bothered to learn Sally Ann for years, because the first issue Scruggs book had a mistake that made the timing sound goofy, and everyone played that goofy version which drove me nuts. It wasn't until I heard a vocal rendition of Sally Ann that made the timing, the breaks, everything gel, that I started playing it. By then I didn't need the tab, ears were good enough to make the fingers go where they needed to go. I think it was the Mugwamps Bill Keith & Jim Green album.

Frisco Fred - Posted - 09/19/2019:  13:45:43


quote:

Originally posted by 1929TB3

Fred,



Seems you are speaking specifically regarding the syncopated roll beginning at 0:27?



If so (as I hear it), fret the third string at 16, the second at 15, and the first at 14. The roll begins as a forward roll with thumb on third, index on second, middle on first.



Timing: I hear these rolls as sixteenth notes (if in 4/4 time). The roll begin with two sixteenth notes before the downbeat (thumb, index, as fretted above). The downbeat coincides with the middle finger noted on the 14th fret. Then continue with the same forward roll again, fretted the same way.



Next, theres a box roll, beginning with the 5th string, then followed by the second, third, and first strings as fretted above. Next, a forward roll on fifth, second, and finally the third fretted on the 17th fret.






Yup, watching Jim Mills play it, it looks that's the allusive note.... heard on the attached video @ the 31 sec. mark and again @ the 1:21~22 mark is in fact the third string at the 16th fret.  Sounds like he's doubling back (maybe that's the downbeat (whatever that means)



I'm not going to try and figure out the timing... I'm not that good... either I get it or I don't.



youtube.com/watch?v=-jJpxBcMhQg

Frisco Fred - Posted - 09/19/2019:  13:55:24


quote:

Originally posted by chuckv97

quote:

Originally posted by nitehawk0z

I find the Scruggs book tab to have many errors on Sally Ann, I've had to figure out my own way. Anyone determine the same thing?






Hi nitehawk,,, the old book or the revised one?  I find both had some errors,, but the revised one has the annoying “ghost slides” , as I like to call’em.  I haven’t checked the whole tab for Sally Ann against Earl’s recording on “Foggy Mountain Banjo”.  The first few measures look ok to me.






Is there any right way? 



When I play it, I play it to the words, "ev...er see a crawdad, Sal...ly Ann"  "I'm a goin' to marry you, Sal...ly Ann" 



I'm no virtuoso, but either it rolls off the fingers in a danceable / singable rhythm or it doesn't 

Frisco Fred - Posted - 09/19/2019:  14:09:02


quote:

Originally posted by mander

Sallys are never simple. Why should we be? :-)






Never simple, but always confusing

chuckv97 - Posted - 09/19/2019:  14:35:14


I recall a few weeks back on this august forum that folks were having some of the same issues with the other Sally - the venerable “Sally Good(w)in”. It wasn’t until someone posted the words and a vid of a performer singing it that they got the gist of the melody and where/how it came to be sin-ko-pay-tid on the banjer

Jack Baker - Posted - 09/19/2019:  15:03:10


Hi Frisco,


There is nothing odd about Earl's version of Sally Ann. It just starts with a pickup note tied to the next measure....Earl plays this with a very straight beat, nothing syncopated about it...Jack


Sally Ann    As played by Earl Scruggs




Originally posted by Frisco Fred

It's that crazy syncopation that alludes me. I think it's some kind of forward roll. I've heard allot of people play it wrong... and a few like Charley Cushman play it right, like in the attachment.  Where does the synco gap occur?  youtube.com/watch?v=P-H1oUMvJSk 






 


Edited by - Jack Baker on 09/19/2019 15:07:06

stanleytone - Posted - 09/20/2019:  02:44:25


i think many make the same mistake with earls sally goodin. they mistake the two pick up notes for the the start of the first measure.(speaking from experience)


qu3ote:

Originally posted by Jack Baker

Hi Frisco,


There is nothing odd about Earl's version of Sally Ann. It just starts with a pickup note tied to the next measure....Earl plays this with a very straight beat, nothing syncopated about it...Jack


Sally Ann    As played by Earl Scruggs




Originally posted by Frisco Fred

It's that crazy syncopation that alludes me. I think it's some kind of forward roll. I've heard allot of people play it wrong... and a few like Charley Cushman play it right, like in the attachment.  Where does the synco gap occur?  youtube.com/watch?v=P-H1oUMvJSk 






 






 

Jack Baker - Posted - 09/20/2019:  10:47:02


Here's Earl's Sally Goodwin. Don't be fooled by where the melody starts. It starts on the 1st beat of the 2nd measure...


Sally Goodwin    Earl's version




Originally posted by Jack Baker

Hi Frisco,


There is nothing odd about Earl's version of Sally Ann. It just starts with a pickup note tied to the next measure....Earl plays this with a very straight beat, nothing syncopated about it...Jack


Sally Ann    As played by Earl Scruggs




Originally posted by Frisco Fred

It's that crazy syncopation that alludes me. I think it's some kind of forward roll. I've heard allot of people play it wrong... and a few like Charley Cushman play it right, like in the attachment.  Where does the synco gap occur?  youtube.com/watch?v=P-H1oUMvJSk 






 






 


Edited by - Jack Baker on 09/20/2019 10:47:39

overhere - Posted - 09/22/2019:  13:58:41


this will probably help a lot of people; youtube.com/watch?v=s3u_T3f2vMk
but seriously, I wouldn't try to copy anyone exactly....heck they don't even copy themselves half the time

tbab2057 - Posted - 09/30/2019:  12:01:25


quote:

Originally posted by nitehawk0z

I find the Scruggs book tab to have many errors on Sally Ann, I've had to figure out my own way. Anyone determine the same thing?






Years ago, I discovered many mistakes in the book also.  I just don't ever read tab, except to find a certain lick or roll that I heard some where.   Playing by ear so much easier IMO.

conic - Posted - 09/30/2019:  13:03:33


I got earls second edition book and was gonna learn sally ann next, i dont know what the errors are but if i learn it note for note will it sound like sally ann and pickup the syncopation?

WoW, that guy called jim mills will be a good picker one day , hehehe

nitehawk0z - Posted - 09/30/2019:  19:07:58


All, I tabbed out tonight exactly what I hear on the main part of Earl's Sally Ann (from the Foggy Mountain Banjo album). To my ears, it sounds right. I'd love feedback on this to nail it down perfectly if others have figured it out note-for-note and are willing to share. I tried to follow what's tabbed in the Scruggs book and I couldn't get it to sound accurate. I've seen other tabs out there on the internet and those don't seem quite right either. This is a crude, hand-written tab, bear with me, but I'd love to get feedback if people are inclined.



Sally Ann tab



-- Jeff


Frisco Fred - Posted - 10/02/2019:  18:46:07


quote:

Originally posted by nitehawk0z

All, I tabbed out tonight exactly what I hear on the main part of Earl's Sally Ann (from the Foggy Mountain Banjo album). To my ears, it sounds right. I'd love feedback on this to nail it down perfectly if others have figured it out note-for-note and are willing to share. I tried to follow what's tabbed in the Scruggs book and I couldn't get it to sound accurate. I've seen other tabs out there on the internet and those don't seem quite right either. This is a crude, hand-written tab, bear with me, but I'd love to get feedback if people are inclined.



Sally Ann tab



-- Jeff






I don't play off the written page, but like some others, I do use the written page to get the key and the notes.  Then I just run my fingers till the timing sounds right. 



I think timing is everything.  Well almost everything, touch is important too.  And then there's the notes.  But I think songs are mostly identified by their melody, rhythm and beat... for me, that translates into timing.  The actual notes are secondary.



Regarding Jack's comment:  I must have mistaken what I heard on Charley Cushman's version for what I thought was syncopation. 



************EDIT***********



BTW  Jeff:  I played your tab... the forward roll at the 9th and 11th makes for a cool sound... I'm going to practice it interlaced with the riff on the 14th and 15th 


Edited by - Frisco Fred on 10/02/2019 18:50:49

tbab2057 - Posted - 10/20/2019:  14:46:26


I don't play off the written page, but like some others, I do use the written page to get the key and the notes.  Then I just run my fingers till the timing sounds right. 

I think timing is everything.  Well almost everything, touch is important too.  And then there's the notes.  But I think songs are mostly identified by their melody, rhythm and beat... for me, that translates into timing.  The actual notes are secondary.



Regarding Jack's comment:  I must have mistaken what I heard on Charley Cushman's version for what I thought was syncopation. 



************EDIT***********



BTW  Jeff:  I played your tab... the forward roll at the 9th and 11th makes for a cool sound... I'm going to practice it interlaced with the riff on the 14th and 15th 






I've heard it said that there are 3 aspects to music.  Melody, rhythm, and temp.  But IMO timing is the most important.



 

1ST GEN CUMMINS - Posted - 10/22/2019:  14:33:13


How is the best way to improve your timing?

monstertone - Posted - 10/23/2019:  10:47:25


You'll get a lot of people recommending the metronome but in imho, learn to feel the pulse of the music. The best way I know to do that, is to play a lot, with good musicians.

Jack Baker - Posted - 10/23/2019:  11:48:18


Hi JD,


Not quite. I always use a metronome to teach evenly counted timing. You won't find any music school or most teachers that don't use metronomes if needed. You are probably experienced enough to do that but most beginners are not...Jack




Originally posted by monstertone

You'll get a lot of people recommending the metronome but in imho, learn to feel the pulse of the music. The best way I know to do that, is to play a lot, with good musicians.






 


Edited by - Jack Baker on 10/23/2019 11:50:51

kjcole - Posted - 10/23/2019:  12:34:48


quote:

Originally posted by chuckv97

Here’s an album I had years ago with “Dine-E-O” , aka Sally Ann, on it, with Alan Shelton on banjo,,,, linked here.youtu.be/XMU6nE2wSxk






Scrugg's version is seminal, and it is a great version to learn.  But it is his interpretation of the old fiddle tune and is remarkable (and challenging) for its interesting rhythmic feel, and for the fact that it stays up-the-neck.  Of course, Sally Ann can be played in a more straightforward way, like Shelton's appealing version noted above that spends time in the lower positions.  Check out Tony Trischka's versions in his old tab book "Banjo Song Book" (Oak, 1977) that starts down the neck and goes up the neck for some melodic phrases.   While, like everyone else, I've worked through note-by-note Scrugg's tunes/breaks as a learning tool (Jack Hatfield's transcriptions are amazing!!!), it is also refreshing to play a version that's not an attempt at a note-by-note rendition.  The problem of trying to recreate Scrugg's recorded version of a tune like Sally Ann in a jam is that you are held to an impossibly high standard.  


Edited by - kjcole on 10/23/2019 12:39:18

Old Hickory - Posted - 10/23/2019:  12:37:17


quote:

Originally posted by Knothead

How is the best way to improve your timing?






Metronome.

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 10/23/2019:  18:41:28


quote:

Originally posted by conic

I got Earl's second edition book and was gonna learn Sally Anne next, i don't know what the errors are but if i learn it note for note will it sound like Sally Anne?






Here's what I hear for the version from the FOGGY MOUNTAIN BANJO (A PART) which differs from all others I've seen.


conic - Posted - 10/24/2019:  07:40:29


Thanks Rick, thats very close to the scruggs book, I learnt the down the neck part quite easy, in a couple of hours from Jim Pankey then changed a few bits on the fly to how I like it.
Now the UTN is a bit tricky to get your fretting fingers moving in the right order to get the smooth syncopation and timing.

tbab2057 - Posted - 10/24/2019:  12:00:58


quote:

Originally posted by Knothead

How is the best way to improve your timing?






Most pro pickers and instructors seem to recommend using a metronome.  Although I've never worked with one myself, I'm not anti-metronome.  If it works for the individual then by all means utilize it IMO.  But for myself I play along with pro recordings to work on timing  and practicing on my own.  It's more fun to me to play against the other instruments and singers.  It's like practicing for real.  



Todd


Edited by - tbab2057 on 10/24/2019 12:01:40

Old Hickory - Posted - 11/25/2019:  09:05:18


quote:

Originally posted by tbab2057

I've heard it said that there are 3 aspects to music.  Melody, rhythm, and temp.  But IMO timing is the most important.



Melody, rhythm and tempo are aspects of music.



Timing is an aspect of performance.

woodtonemusic - Posted - 12/30/2019:  13:34:28


I’ve always liked the old way going to the Em and the D chords. That’s the way my grandpaw Al Wood recorded it.

woodtonemusic - Posted - 12/30/2019:  13:35:18


It is all about timing... agreed

Richard Hauser - Posted - 12/31/2019:  08:09:14


On his website Mike Hedding describes syncopation and demonstrates syncopation. For me, this solved the question. The answer was very simple.

That work syncopation gets "thrown" around a lot. I used to think other players were smarter than I was. Later my attitude changed to thinking they didn't know any more than I did.

monstertone - Posted - 01/06/2020:  12:05:42


Sally Ann(e), Sail Away Ladies, Din eo, has been around, redone with different verses etc for eons. It probably came over on the Mayflower, it's that old. Keep in mind guys like Earl had heard it & played it, all their lives. By the time Earl recorded it, he knew that song forwards, backwards, & inside out. He could, & did, take quite a few liberties the the straight melody adding his hot licks.



Not so cut & dry for those of us not brought up around that music, especially when it comes to something you've never even heard of. Then to make it even more difficult, the words are dropped & it becomes a show tune, or a dance tune, done at breakneck speeds.



The written word (music/tab) can only take you so far. To get beyond that, you have to feel it in your bones, just like Earl did, by listening to it as done by a lot of different people,,,,,for a long time.   

whistlinghen - Posted - 01/10/2020:  19:57:36


I just worked through both versions and they both play okay, though I prefer the version in the older book, they're pretty much the same notes.

whistlinghen - Posted - 01/10/2020:  20:18:05


The REALLY tricky thing about the rhythm on this is that it's not really in 2/4 time. Like most Bluegrass vocal tunes, it's actually in 4/4, and the whole "Foggy Mountain Banjo" album is like this. And it's not only a showcase for Earl, it REALLY shows off "Cousin Jake" Tulloch's bass playing. So instead of thinking of the first two full measures (after the pickup) as two measures of 2/4 time,

"boom-chuck, boom-chuck / boom-chuck, boom chuck

I think of the same time period as being ONE measure of 4/4 time

"ONE two THREE four

As "simple" as this tune may (or may not) be, it REALLY shows Earl's genius in his use of timing and bringing out the melody. He makes those notes sustain like an Allman Brothers' guitar solo.

Richard Hauser - Posted - 01/11/2020:  07:05:31


I play fiddle and guitar as well as banjo. As far as playing fiddle tunes on the guitar and/or melodically on the banjo, I have found that it helps to play along with downloaded Youtube fiddle videos. First of all, I think it helps me get a better "feel" for the fiddle tunes. In addition I am sometime able to "steal" some licks and ideas from the recorded music. It is also close to playing the music in a real time environment.

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