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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Clawhammer Playing Styles


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/74686

Philj200 - Posted - 02/10/2007:  09:56:26


I had expected the bone-numbing cold to hold down the crowd. And maybe make some of the orchestra members reconsider leaving their homes on a night like this. Windy, a damp cold in the mid-teens feeling like the a lot less.

For me, I had to drive 45 minutes to the place where the dance was taking place, an historic barn deep into the next county set on a small historical pressure.

It may have been a barn at some earlier part of its life. I saw a large white clapboard structure glowing with light. The inside was basically one large room with nothing it but a few dancers. At the end was an actual proscenium set into the back wall. That’s where about a dozen band members were setting up and tuning.

They waved me over and I set up next to two guitar pickers. Between tuning and juggling chairs, music stand (purchased for the occasion), instrument stand for the alternate banjo making room for more members time began to fly.

A caller began to joss up the crowd… and I noticed they had become a crowd. He was instructing them in the steps and I noticed that their were a lot more and a lot more complicated than I expected.

And when I looked up, the few dancers had grown to an impressive room filling number. At least 60 of them.

The orchestra leader announces which set… they are all number J23, R32, W10 would mean the three jigs grouped for J23, the four reels for R32. Waltzes are one to a customer. One of the fiddlers kicks off a four bar introduction, the caller sets to work, the dancers are dancing and the orchestra is into it. About an eternity later… with several tune changes which for me means changing banjos. We’re finished. The dancers are whooping and hollering… everyone is grinning... and I realize we sounded good. Better than good. We sounded fine.

The evening progresses. The caller gave the mic to another caller and joined the dance. One of the orchestra members put down her guitar and danced a set. A ten minute break occurred sometimes during the night. That’s the time I went over to my bag o’ tricks for the plate resonator I made for the Vega LN I was playing in D. The Vega, beauty of an instrument isn’t very loud. The little Gibson open back was tuned to open G. It started life as a tenor in 1920, has been a 5-string since the 60’s with a Vega neck. projects better.

A note on playing. With all the chord changes these robustly and accurately pieces required frailing just didn’t do it. Playing at speed, changing chords and trying to sound good at the same time was a non-starter. I figured that out at rehearsal. While I did some frailing on one set that had three tunes (first in G, second in D, third in G) that I had written a note to frail the whole thing on the G-tuned banjo, it worked, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Mostly used fingerpicks and mostly played is a bluegrass style. The picks gave me the volume I needed and helped remind the dancers that they were listening to more than seven fiddlers. (One left early, I think she had a date.)

Six or seven fiddlers, hammered dulcimer, three guitars, keyboard, tenor banjo/octave mandolin (same person) and me on 5-strings. The orchestra leader said that controlling such a small group was much easier. Small?

We filled the stage. I don’t think we would have room for the penny whistler and the flute player, much less the bass, or the accordion guy.

The organization gives two of these dances a month if I understood them correctly. But it seems that there are at least two other bands besides this biggish orchestra that alternate the gigs. Just as well. Playing that often and with that intensity approaches something called works (Is anyone doing Maynard B. Crabs or whatever the character’s name was) at this point.

I worked just about enough for last night. The future hasn’t happened yet. I’ll probably be a member of this orchestra for the next whenever.

--
Sidebar:
The guitar picker necked to me is a part time luthier and has theparts I need to fix an old cello someone out on the curb for adoption. Neat.






Philj200

vrteach - Posted - 02/10/2007:  11:08:26


Thanks for the vivid description. It has been fun following your participation in this, and I wish I could have been there to hear the orchestra.


Erich
-------
http://vrteach.freepgs.com/banjo/

Philj200 - Posted - 02/10/2007:  11:31:16


Thanks Erich.
I wish they did record the performance. I'll ask. It is good stuff even if I say so myself. The had a sound setup with someone riding the gain on a few mics. There was one near me for the guitars that picked me up a little, I think. And at least one for the fiddles. Maybe another for the dulcimer which seemed to project pretty well for such a delicate instrument.

I'm told that miking for recording is different than for perfromance. So I don't know if a tape deck could be patched off the PA. Somethign to ask about. A reheasal is coming in a few weeks.

One of the callers actually fronts another and much smaller group. I wonder what his take on the size of this orchestra is?

Philj200

dbrooks - Posted - 02/10/2007:  15:08:48


I'm glad to hear the contra dance went well. Your event sounds similar to the weekly dances here in Louisville, though yours may be structured a bit more. The caller and the lead fiddler at our dances may consult briefly about the type of tune that would best fit a dance, but mostly the fiddler just picks two tunes right before we start playing. The dances run from 8:00 to 10:30 with a short break about 9:20. We play a waltz just before the break and one as the last dance of the night.

In addition to the weekly dances, there is a larger monthly dance with a featured caller and a hired band to provide the music.

By the way, I just picked up the Winter issue of Sing Out! magazine which has a cover story on contra dance. There's a fair amount of history covered in the article, none of which I knew.

I've played with this little volunteer band for nearly two years (with a year's break due to a class I was teaching). It has really helped my playing. I'm sure you'll find the same benefits.

David

banjo_brad - Posted - 02/10/2007:  15:18:45


Phil-
Made me feel like I was there! Sounds like your earlier fears were groundless.
Keep it up.

Brad


"Banjos and Fiddles and Guitars, Oh My!" (me)
http://ezfolk.com/audio/bands/5
www.PricklyPearMusic.net

Philj200 - Posted - 02/10/2007:  16:54:13


Thanks Brad. You right. Neither the white (in my hair) or the white threatened on the ground) seemed to factor. The crowd dancers and musicans by the way, were all ages from teens to grandpas/mas.

Dbrooks. We ended the first half and the evening with a waltz as well. But in our case we have a rehearsed set list that the caller and the orchestra leader may (or may not) have agreed upon. There was very little spoken between them other than short hand signals. And they were obvious: slow it down, pick it up, two more choreses and out.

This was three solid hours of dancing, minus a ten minute break.

I have a stack of the small, old Sing Outs! I refers to every so often. I don't care for the politics that infuse the current editions. Albeit, their politics have remained constant. I think my tolerance has thinned. A friend passes along his copies of Sing Out!. I'll ask him for this one. That should be good for a raised eyebrow. Neither one us is a fan of theirs these days.

Philj200


Edited by - Philj200 on 02/11/2007 07:56:27

Philj200 - Posted - 02/10/2007:  09:56:26


I had expected the bone-numbing cold to hold down the crowd. And maybe make some of the orchestra members reconsider leaving their homes on a night like this. Windy, a damp cold in the mid-teens feeling like the a lot less.

For me, I had to drive 45 minutes to the place where the dance was taking place, an historic barn deep into the next county set on a small historical pressure.

It may have been a barn at some earlier part of its life. I saw a large white clapboard structure glowing with light. The inside was basically one large room with nothing it but a few dancers. At the end was an actual proscenium set into the back wall. That’s where about a dozen band members were setting up and tuning.

They waved me over and I set up next to two guitar pickers. Between tuning and juggling chairs, music stand (purchased for the occasion), instrument stand for the alternate banjo making room for more members time began to fly.

A caller began to joss up the crowd… and I noticed they had become a crowd. He was instructing them in the steps and I noticed that their were a lot more and a lot more complicated than I expected.

And when I looked up, the few dancers had grown to an impressive room filling number. At least 60 of them.

The orchestra leader announces which set… they are all number J23, R32, W10 would mean the three jigs grouped for J23, the four reels for R32. Waltzes are one to a customer. One of the fiddlers kicks off a four bar introduction, the caller sets to work, the dancers are dancing and the orchestra is into it. About an eternity later… with several tune changes which for me means changing banjos. We’re finished. The dancers are whooping and hollering… everyone is grinning... and I realize we sounded good. Better than good. We sounded fine.

The evening progresses. The caller gave the mic to another caller and joined the dance. One of the orchestra members put down her guitar and danced a set. A ten minute break occurred sometimes during the night. That’s the time I went over to my bag o’ tricks for the plate resonator I made for the Vega LN I was playing in D. The Vega, beauty of an instrument isn’t very loud. The little Gibson open back was tuned to open G. It started life as a tenor in 1920, has been a 5-string since the 60’s with a Vega neck. projects better.

A note on playing. With all the chord changes these robustly and accurately pieces required frailing just didn’t do it. Playing at speed, changing chords and trying to sound good at the same time was a non-starter. I figured that out at rehearsal. While I did some frailing on one set that had three tunes (first in G, second in D, third in G) that I had written a note to frail the whole thing on the G-tuned banjo, it worked, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Mostly used fingerpicks and mostly played is a bluegrass style. The picks gave me the volume I needed and helped remind the dancers that they were listening to more than seven fiddlers. (One left early, I think she had a date.)

Six or seven fiddlers, hammered dulcimer, three guitars, keyboard, tenor banjo/octave mandolin (same person) and me on 5-strings. The orchestra leader said that controlling such a small group was much easier. Small?

We filled the stage. I don’t think we would have room for the penny whistler and the flute player, much less the bass, or the accordion guy.

The organization gives two of these dances a month if I understood them correctly. But it seems that there are at least two other bands besides this biggish orchestra that alternate the gigs. Just as well. Playing that often and with that intensity approaches something called works (Is anyone doing Maynard B. Crabs or whatever the character’s name was) at this point.

I worked just about enough for last night. The future hasn’t happened yet. I’ll probably be a member of this orchestra for the next whenever.

--
Sidebar:
The guitar picker necked to me is a part time luthier and has theparts I need to fix an old cello someone out on the curb for adoption. Neat.






Philj200

nihilist37 - Posted - 02/06/2007:  07:21:22


Can I just say 'WOW' I just watched this clip ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeBVCGIwtx4 ) and I'm just in awe. It near brought me to tears. Listening to players like Adam Hurt, Zepp Mike Iverson, just really brings out the feelings in me (i guess we all get it). Question is how do they go from just simple tunes into something so darn purty.

Skill?
Practise?
Wisdom?
living in the right place (ie not so remote from where the OT is)

I don't know where it comes from but I sure hope someday I get it.


uncledelphi - Posted - 02/06/2007:  07:32:50


quote:
Originally posted by nihilist37


Skill?
Practise?
Wisdom?
living in the right place (ie not so remote from where the OT is)



All of the above. Just keep at it!

Austin Rogers

RCCOOK - Posted - 02/06/2007:  07:56:04


Hi Friend:

I have never come across an instrument that plays to your soul like a clawhammer banjo does. It just gets you somewhere deep and hangs on until you can't hear enough of it. Clawhammer reminds me of my ancestors from the hills and the old country.

These fellows that play so well are very gifted. I believe if you practice daily and keep at it, someone will say the same about you too..........Rod

tonehead - Posted - 02/06/2007:  14:01:28


Watching that video a few dozen times wouldn't hurt either. =)


Be significant.

scottee - Posted - 02/06/2007:  15:09:55


Very instructive--for the right hand motion especially for me.



Edited by - scottee on 02/06/2007 15:25:04

rinemb - Posted - 02/06/2007:  15:11:19


While I was raised in the MIdwest, my family settled a Ridge in the (now) West Virginia Panhandle in the late 1700's. I keep hoping a little of that "hardscrabble" soul will creep into my playing. Brad

May not the incidence of success, nor the pretense of retirement-Lessen the want of enlightenment.

jasperr - Posted - 02/06/2007:  15:49:57


I'm a newbie, so I can ask this question. Who's playing in the clip?

Jim

ZEPP - Posted - 02/06/2007:  15:56:26


That's Captain Johnny Rawls of the Mississippi State Highway Patrol. (and a good friend and customer )

Cheers,
ZEPP


* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *

jasperr - Posted - 02/06/2007:  16:15:30


OK Zepp, I walked into that one. Anyway, beautiful playing.

Jim

ZEPP - Posted - 02/06/2007:  16:25:06


No kidding--that is Johnny Rawls, and he is a Captain in the Mississippi Highway Patrol! Really!

Cheers,
ZEPP


* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *

brokenstrings - Posted - 02/06/2007:  21:59:55


He's wasted on the Highway Patrol!

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

LEUllman - Posted - 02/06/2007:  23:18:26


What a glorious sound. And he makes it look so effortless! I think I'll go practice now . . .

"Ring, ring the banjo, I love that good old song."

wrangler - Posted - 02/07/2007:  09:07:49


I have a hard time with people saying "I am not musically inclined." I really believe that anyone with 2 hands can learn to play. I believe that some folks learn easier but I firmly believe that talent can be acquired.

Mike

To peace, happiness, banjos that stay in tune and people likewise.

Copo - Posted - 02/07/2007:  13:33:38


This topic is driving me crazy. Im stuck in work for another 3 and a half hours and the computer has no sound. Please stop writing about how great the clip is.... at least til i get home to watch it :-)

Limax - Posted - 02/07/2007:  17:45:47


Watching that video reminds me of how much I'm still suffering from "flying thumb" syndrome... :-/ Need to practice more...

A salted slug gathers no moss.

mainejohn - Posted - 02/07/2007:  19:01:12


The movement of his right hand is as pleasing to the eye as the sound of his banjo is to the ear.

Cheers,
John
Scarborough, Maine

nihilist37 - Posted - 02/08/2007:  04:24:53


Ok so I'm getting there with playing this tune. how is he getting all these nice little pieces of different timing into it? Is he playing a dead note then accenting the next 16th? It nearly sounds as if he's up picking on some of those accented notes. I know it should go in the tab section but is anyone willing to tab up a version of this? Is the tuning what people call cumberland gap tuning? gEADE?

chasgrav - Posted - 02/08/2007:  08:22:22


quote:
Originally posted by ZEPP

No kidding--that is Johnny Rawls, and he is a Captain in the Mississippi Highway Patrol! Really!

Cheers,
ZEPP



Which brings us to the question: what's the chance of a couple of Zepp videos out there? (For medicinal purposes only, of course)!

ZEPP - Posted - 02/08/2007:  13:19:59


Sure thing, Charlie--whachoo got in mind?

Cheers,
ZEPP


* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *

chasgrav - Posted - 02/08/2007:  13:50:56


quote:
Originally posted by ZEPP

Sure thing, Charlie--whachoo got in mind?

Cheers,
ZEPP


* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *



Zepp, as long as you're sporting the dreads, pretty much anything's gonna fly! How 'bout the 'Chicken Medley'?
(OTOH, the shell suit didn't look too shabby on ya!)


Edited by - chasgrav on 02/08/2007 14:02:08

ZEPP - Posted - 02/08/2007:  15:06:42


um... Just what "Chicken Medley" might that be? Sounds like a lunch dish at a chain restaurant...

Cheers,
ZEPP


* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *

brokenstrings - Posted - 02/08/2007:  19:25:50


Wrangler, I don't think talent can be acquired, but you sure can do a lot to compensate for the lack of it.

Jessy

Frailaway, ladies, frailaway!

chasgrav - Posted - 02/09/2007:  08:57:24


Zepp, I seem to recall that the chicken medley included Cluck Old Hen / Chicken Reel / C-H-I-C-K-E-N and maybe another one we came up with. Who remembers...? But actually, I think I like your "Cuckoo's Nest" and "Staten Island Hornpipe" as well as any I've heard. You've got a million of 'em.......Surprise us!

Besides, once you break into video, it's much more about how you look. The music becomes secondary. Not to worry, though, the shell suit'll get you through just fine. ;)

ZEPP - Posted - 02/09/2007:  15:37:01


Hmmm... Guess I'll have to work on that. Meanwhile, here's a demo file I did for an 11" Custom Chuck Lee A scale that's partially fretted. Thought it might be fun to broaden the "Shady Grove Series" a bit.

http://zeppmusic.com/Clearhead/shady_12cherry2.wmv

A larger mpeg is on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAf0JoHxfQg

More photos of- and info about the banjo at http://zeppmusic.com/lee.htm#lee12a

Cheers,
ZEPP


* zepp@zeppmusic.com website: http://zeppmusic.com/ Skype us at zeppmusic *

chasgrav - Posted - 02/10/2007:  09:22:21


Outstanding! And greatly appreciated Zepp! Cheers!

flatfoot - Posted - 02/10/2007:  18:27:57


.

Notice the contrast between meliody and chords. One of my problems is the "bum" and the "titty" are about the same volume, so its hard tro separate the two and I get a mushy, indistinct rhythm. The player in the video holds the "titty" way back so that the melody on "Bum" comes through clearly.

.

Lewis! Do you hear a Banjo? Paddle Faster!

Philj200 - Posted - 02/10/2007:  09:56:26


I had expected the bone-numbing cold to hold down the crowd. And maybe make some of the orchestra members reconsider leaving their homes on a night like this. Windy, a damp cold in the mid-teens feeling like the a lot less.

For me, I had to drive 45 minutes to the place where the dance was taking place, an historic barn deep into the next county set on a small historical pressure.

It may have been a barn at some earlier part of its life. I saw a large white clapboard structure glowing with light. The inside was basically one large room with nothing it but a few dancers. At the end was an actual proscenium set into the back wall. That’s where about a dozen band members were setting up and tuning.

They waved me over and I set up next to two guitar pickers. Between tuning and juggling chairs, music stand (purchased for the occasion), instrument stand for the alternate banjo making room for more members time began to fly.

A caller began to joss up the crowd… and I noticed they had become a crowd. He was instructing them in the steps and I noticed that their were a lot more and a lot more complicated than I expected.

And when I looked up, the few dancers had grown to an impressive room filling number. At least 60 of them.

The orchestra leader announces which set… they are all number J23, R32, W10 would mean the three jigs grouped for J23, the four reels for R32. Waltzes are one to a customer. One of the fiddlers kicks off a four bar introduction, the caller sets to work, the dancers are dancing and the orchestra is into it. About an eternity later… with several tune changes which for me means changing banjos. We’re finished. The dancers are whooping and hollering… everyone is grinning... and I realize we sounded good. Better than good. We sounded fine.

The evening progresses. The caller gave the mic to another caller and joined the dance. One of the orchestra members put down her guitar and danced a set. A ten minute break occurred sometimes during the night. That’s the time I went over to my bag o’ tricks for the plate resonator I made for the Vega LN I was playing in D. The Vega, beauty of an instrument isn’t very loud. The little Gibson open back was tuned to open G. It started life as a tenor in 1920, has been a 5-string since the 60’s with a Vega neck. projects better.

A note on playing. With all the chord changes these robustly and accurately pieces required frailing just didn’t do it. Playing at speed, changing chords and trying to sound good at the same time was a non-starter. I figured that out at rehearsal. While I did some frailing on one set that had three tunes (first in G, second in D, third in G) that I had written a note to frail the whole thing on the G-tuned banjo, it worked, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Mostly used fingerpicks and mostly played is a bluegrass style. The picks gave me the volume I needed and helped remind the dancers that they were listening to more than seven fiddlers. (One left early, I think she had a date.)

Six or seven fiddlers, hammered dulcimer, three guitars, keyboard, tenor banjo/octave mandolin (same person) and me on 5-strings. The orchestra leader said that controlling such a small group was much easier. Small?

We filled the stage. I don’t think we would have room for the penny whistler and the flute player, much less the bass, or the accordion guy.

The organization gives two of these dances a month if I understood them correctly. But it seems that there are at least two other bands besides this biggish orchestra that alternate the gigs. Just as well. Playing that often and with that intensity approaches something called works (Is anyone doing Maynard B. Crabs or whatever the character’s name was) at this point.

I worked just about enough for last night. The future hasn’t happened yet. I’ll probably be a member of this orchestra for the next whenever.

--
Sidebar:
The guitar picker necked to me is a part time luthier and has theparts I need to fix an old cello someone out on the curb for adoption. Neat.






Philj200

nihilist37 - Posted - 02/06/2007:  07:21:22


Can I just say 'WOW' I just watched this clip ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeBVCGIwtx4 ) and I'm just in awe. It near brought me to tears. Listening to players like Adam Hurt, Zepp Mike Iverson, just really brings out the feelings in me (i guess we all get it). Question is how do they go from just simple tunes into something so darn purty.

Skill?
Practise?
Wisdom?
living in the right place (ie not so remote from where the OT is)

I don't know where it comes from but I sure hope someday I get it.


Copo - Posted - 02/07/2007:  13:26:46


Welcome paddy, fellow banjoist. Look forward to your expert opinions on this site. A pleasure as always

rinemb - Posted - 02/07/2007:  16:54:51


Derek, Welcome to the BHO. As you are discovering you will get much benefit from this site. I was in Ireland several years back for pleasure and the music. I hope to return and visit some of the places I have been before, as well as many places I have not been. I particularly enjoyed Sligo, and following around Dervish at various small pub sessions. I did find it difficult to find enough "traditional" Irish Music while driving all over West of Ireland, Dublin area, and even Northern Ireland. Brad

May not the incidence of success, nor the pretense of retirement-Lessen the want of enlightenment.

paddylazio - Posted - 02/09/2007:  08:03:55


thanks copo ye legend' im buyin a mandolin since i sent my other one to heaven

Copo - Posted - 02/11/2007:  07:23:25


Janolov, just curious as to why u put quote marks on the word traditional when talking about irish music. Its seems to be an endless debate as to what exactly tradition means, and maybe u have ur own take on it.

Philj200 - Posted - 02/10/2007:  09:56:26


I had expected the bone-numbing cold to hold down the crowd. And maybe make some of the orchestra members reconsider leaving their homes on a night like this. Windy, a damp cold in the mid-teens feeling like the a lot less.

For me, I had to drive 45 minutes to the place where the dance was taking place, an historic barn deep into the next county set on a small historical pressure.

It may have been a barn at some earlier part of its life. I saw a large white clapboard structure glowing with light. The inside was basically one large room with nothing it but a few dancers. At the end was an actual proscenium set into the back wall. That’s where about a dozen band members were setting up and tuning.

They waved me over and I set up next to two guitar pickers. Between tuning and juggling chairs, music stand (purchased for the occasion), instrument stand for the alternate banjo making room for more members time began to fly.

A caller began to joss up the crowd… and I noticed they had become a crowd. He was instructing them in the steps and I noticed that their were a lot more and a lot more complicated than I expected.

And when I looked up, the few dancers had grown to an impressive room filling number. At least 60 of them.

The orchestra leader announces which set… they are all number J23, R32, W10 would mean the three jigs grouped for J23, the four reels for R32. Waltzes are one to a customer. One of the fiddlers kicks off a four bar introduction, the caller sets to work, the dancers are dancing and the orchestra is into it. About an eternity later… with several tune changes which for me means changing banjos. We’re finished. The dancers are whooping and hollering… everyone is grinning... and I realize we sounded good. Better than good. We sounded fine.

The evening progresses. The caller gave the mic to another caller and joined the dance. One of the orchestra members put down her guitar and danced a set. A ten minute break occurred sometimes during the night. That’s the time I went over to my bag o’ tricks for the plate resonator I made for the Vega LN I was playing in D. The Vega, beauty of an instrument isn’t very loud. The little Gibson open back was tuned to open G. It started life as a tenor in 1920, has been a 5-string since the 60’s with a Vega neck. projects better.

A note on playing. With all the chord changes these robustly and accurately pieces required frailing just didn’t do it. Playing at speed, changing chords and trying to sound good at the same time was a non-starter. I figured that out at rehearsal. While I did some frailing on one set that had three tunes (first in G, second in D, third in G) that I had written a note to frail the whole thing on the G-tuned banjo, it worked, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Mostly used fingerpicks and mostly played is a bluegrass style. The picks gave me the volume I needed and helped remind the dancers that they were listening to more than seven fiddlers. (One left early, I think she had a date.)

Six or seven fiddlers, hammered dulcimer, three guitars, keyboard, tenor banjo/octave mandolin (same person) and me on 5-strings. The orchestra leader said that controlling such a small group was much easier. Small?

We filled the stage. I don’t think we would have room for the penny whistler and the flute player, much less the bass, or the accordion guy.

The organization gives two of these dances a month if I understood them correctly. But it seems that there are at least two other bands besides this biggish orchestra that alternate the gigs. Just as well. Playing that often and with that intensity approaches something called works (Is anyone doing Maynard B. Crabs or whatever the character’s name was) at this point.

I worked just about enough for last night. The future hasn’t happened yet. I’ll probably be a member of this orchestra for the next whenever.

--
Sidebar:
The guitar picker necked to me is a part time luthier and has theparts I need to fix an old cello someone out on the curb for adoption. Neat.






Philj200

nihilist37 - Posted - 02/06/2007:  07:21:22


Can I just say 'WOW' I just watched this clip ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeBVCGIwtx4 ) and I'm just in awe. It near brought me to tears. Listening to players like Adam Hurt, Zepp Mike Iverson, just really brings out the feelings in me (i guess we all get it). Question is how do they go from just simple tunes into something so darn purty.

Skill?
Practise?
Wisdom?
living in the right place (ie not so remote from where the OT is)

I don't know where it comes from but I sure hope someday I get it.


Copo - Posted - 02/07/2007:  13:26:46


Welcome paddy, fellow banjoist. Look forward to your expert opinions on this site. A pleasure as always

DelusionsOBanjer - Posted - 01/31/2007:  21:19:33


I saw a reference somewhere to Tommy Jarrell's tuning on "John Brown's Dream" ("Pretty Little Girl").

Anybody know what that tuning is? Thanks!


......................................................................................................
"Hell, how 'bout a hand for absolutely no reason whatsoever..."
--John Hartford

FretlessFury - Posted - 01/31/2007:  21:31:29


I think you're talking about "triple A" tuning:

aAAC#E

It's standard A tuning with the bass string tuned waaaaay down. It gives a nice, slack string effect for the low notes.

Tom Collins

--------------------------
www.newhottimes.com

Red hot old time music.

DelusionsOBanjer - Posted - 01/31/2007:  23:44:43


Cool. Thanks!

......................................................................................................
"Hell, how 'bout a hand for absolutely no reason whatsoever..."
--John Hartford

janolov - Posted - 02/01/2007:  02:51:27


Bart Veerman has put out the tabs for Tommy Jarrels version on his homepage, see http://www.haruteq.com/johnbrownsdream.pdf.

Janolov

Richard - Posted - 02/03/2007:  07:01:00


the Leftwich book also has some details on the tuning, and remarks that it also works quite well in g tuning, which is how i play it, for conveneince's sake.

dwight diller's site had a tab in the g tuning, i think.

never actually tried the a tuning, though.

Richard

"There is nothing whatsoever that does not become easier with acquaintance" - Santideva

see my band UPDATED and IMPROVED SITE ! http://www.geocities.com/bottleneck...atitude.html

DelusionsOBanjer - Posted - 02/05/2007:  09:03:16


Thanks, Janolov.
Just printed it and will give it a try.
G 12-435 gGGBD aAAC#E "John Brown's Dream," Jarrell (capo 2)

......................................................................................................
"Hell, how 'bout a hand for absolutely no reason whatsoever..."
--John Hartford

ramblin - Posted - 02/10/2007:  21:42:17


quote:
Originally posted by FretlessFury

I think you're talking about "triple A" tuning:

aAAC#E

It's standard A tuning with the bass string tuned waaaaay down. It gives a nice, slack string effect for the low notes.



Samantha Bumgarner used that same tuning for "The Worried Blues" (1924), but tuned waaay in the basement - down to E:

eE'EG#B

frankie


--
http://donegone.net

janolov - Posted - 02/11/2007:  05:42:20


Anita Kermods tuning page (http://www.zeppmusic.com/banjo/aktuning.htm) says this about the aAAC#E tuning

quote:
aAAC#E
"Tommy Jarrell's Open-A"
The G-bass tuned up to the key of A. (On another County recording, Tommy Jarrell's Banjo Album: "Come & Go With Me", it is claimed that Tommy was responsible for this "fantastic tuning". Perhaps Fred invented it in G, and Tommy in A.)
Tommy Jarrell, John Brown's Dream ("More Clawhammer Banjo"). Tommy Jarrell & Paul Brown, Roundtown Gals ("Appalachia, The Old Traditions, vol 2"). Jont Blevins, Train 45 (I can't find my source). Art Rosenbaum, John Henry ("Five String Banjo"). John Herrmann, Polly Grant; Brushy Fork of John's Creek ("Dirk Powell & John Herrmann").


gGGBD and eEEG#B is not mentioned at all.


Janolov

ramblin - Posted - 02/11/2007:  20:57:28


quote:
Originally posted by janolov

gGGBD and eEEG#B is not mentioned at all.



I'm not sure it makes sense to consider them different tunings just because the absolute pitch is different - to an unaccompanied banjo player (or an entire string band, for that matter), all that matters is the relationships between the strings.

It's sad that Samantha Bumgarner isn't mentioned, though. Having been recorded in 1924 makes her a pretty early example.

frankie

--
http://donegone.net

Philj200 - Posted - 02/10/2007:  09:56:26


I had expected the bone-numbing cold to hold down the crowd. And maybe make some of the orchestra members reconsider leaving their homes on a night like this. Windy, a damp cold in the mid-teens feeling like the a lot less.

For me, I had to drive 45 minutes to the place where the dance was taking place, an historic barn deep into the next county set on a small historical pressure.

It may have been a barn at some earlier part of its life. I saw a large white clapboard structure glowing with light. The inside was basically one large room with nothing it but a few dancers. At the end was an actual proscenium set into the back wall. That’s where about a dozen band members were setting up and tuning.

They waved me over and I set up next to two guitar pickers. Between tuning and juggling chairs, music stand (purchased for the occasion), instrument stand for the alternate banjo making room for more members time began to fly.

A caller began to joss up the crowd… and I noticed they had become a crowd. He was instructing them in the steps and I noticed that their were a lot more and a lot more complicated than I expected.

And when I looked up, the few dancers had grown to an impressive room filling number. At least 60 of them.

The orchestra leader announces which set… they are all number J23, R32, W10 would mean the three jigs grouped for J23, the four reels for R32. Waltzes are one to a customer. One of the fiddlers kicks off a four bar introduction, the caller sets to work, the dancers are dancing and the orchestra is into it. About an eternity later… with several tune changes which for me means changing banjos. We’re finished. The dancers are whooping and hollering… everyone is grinning... and I realize we sounded good. Better than good. We sounded fine.

The evening progresses. The caller gave the mic to another caller and joined the dance. One of the orchestra members put down her guitar and danced a set. A ten minute break occurred sometimes during the night. That’s the time I went over to my bag o’ tricks for the plate resonator I made for the Vega LN I was playing in D. The Vega, beauty of an instrument isn’t very loud. The little Gibson open back was tuned to open G. It started life as a tenor in 1920, has been a 5-string since the 60’s with a Vega neck. projects better.

A note on playing. With all the chord changes these robustly and accurately pieces required frailing just didn’t do it. Playing at speed, changing chords and trying to sound good at the same time was a non-starter. I figured that out at rehearsal. While I did some frailing on one set that had three tunes (first in G, second in D, third in G) that I had written a note to frail the whole thing on the G-tuned banjo, it worked, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Mostly used fingerpicks and mostly played is a bluegrass style. The picks gave me the volume I needed and helped remind the dancers that they were listening to more than seven fiddlers. (One left early, I think she had a date.)

Six or seven fiddlers, hammered dulcimer, three guitars, keyboard, tenor banjo/octave mandolin (same person) and me on 5-strings. The orchestra leader said that controlling such a small group was much easier. Small?

We filled the stage. I don’t think we would have room for the penny whistler and the flute player, much less the bass, or the accordion guy.

The organization gives two of these dances a month if I understood them correctly. But it seems that there are at least two other bands besides this biggish orchestra that alternate the gigs. Just as well. Playing that often and with that intensity approaches something called works (Is anyone doing Maynard B. Crabs or whatever the character’s name was) at this point.

I worked just about enough for last night. The future hasn’t happened yet. I’ll probably be a member of this orchestra for the next whenever.

--
Sidebar:
The guitar picker necked to me is a part time luthier and has theparts I need to fix an old cello someone out on the curb for adoption. Neat.






Philj200

nihilist37 - Posted - 02/06/2007:  07:21:22


Can I just say 'WOW' I just watched this clip ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeBVCGIwtx4 ) and I'm just in awe. It near brought me to tears. Listening to players like Adam Hurt, Zepp Mike Iverson, just really brings out the feelings in me (i guess we all get it). Question is how do they go from just simple tunes into something so darn purty.

Skill?
Practise?
Wisdom?
living in the right place (ie not so remote from where the OT is)

I don't know where it comes from but I sure hope someday I get it.


Copo - Posted - 02/07/2007:  13:26:46


Welcome paddy, fellow banjoist. Look forward to your expert opinions on this site. A pleasure as always

DelusionsOBanjer - Posted - 01/31/2007:  21:19:33


I saw a reference somewhere to Tommy Jarrell's tuning on "John Brown's Dream" ("Pretty Little Girl").

Anybody know what that tuning is? Thanks!


......................................................................................................
"Hell, how 'bout a hand for absolutely no reason whatsoever..."
--John Hartford

carrie - Posted - 02/11/2007:  21:07:04


I am a relatively new player and need to build up my repertoire and my ear to help me at jams.

I would like to learn most of the common/popular old time songs you might be likely to hear at jams. What CD(s) or book(s) would you recommend? I'm looking for something that's a compilation of a lot of songs in an easy/medium format, mainly in D and A.

Thanks for your recommendations.

chip arnold - Posted - 02/11/2007:  21:28:14


Go here:
http://www.folknet.org/dan/FestTunesBJBook.htm
Order this from Dan. Dan is a member here and is always available to help and answer questions for you.

Play with a plan
Chip

LEUllman - Posted - 02/11/2007:  21:37:03


Carrie:

For a great list of common tunes nicely organized by key (each accompanied by a cool MIDI arrangement you can play back on your computer), check out Hetzlers Fakebook http://www.hetzlersfakebook.com/music_2.html.

As for a book/CD, try Dan Levenson's "Old-Time Festival Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo." It has 117 tunes, each with "Basic" and "Advanced" tab versions plus a third staff with the tune in standard musical notation. Dan calls this a "repertoire book, not an instruction book." All the tunes are jam favorites in A or D.

"Ring, ring the banjo, I love that good old song."

Philj200 - Posted - 02/10/2007:  09:56:26


I had expected the bone-numbing cold to hold down the crowd. And maybe make some of the orchestra members reconsider leaving their homes on a night like this. Windy, a damp cold in the mid-teens feeling like the a lot less.

For me, I had to drive 45 minutes to the place where the dance was taking place, an historic barn deep into the next county set on a small historical pressure.

It may have been a barn at some earlier part of its life. I saw a large white clapboard structure glowing with light. The inside was basically one large room with nothing it but a few dancers. At the end was an actual proscenium set into the back wall. That’s where about a dozen band members were setting up and tuning.

They waved me over and I set up next to two guitar pickers. Between tuning and juggling chairs, music stand (purchased for the occasion), instrument stand for the alternate banjo making room for more members time began to fly.

A caller began to joss up the crowd… and I noticed they had become a crowd. He was instructing them in the steps and I noticed that their were a lot more and a lot more complicated than I expected.

And when I looked up, the few dancers had grown to an impressive room filling number. At least 60 of them.

The orchestra leader announces which set… they are all number J23, R32, W10 would mean the three jigs grouped for J23, the four reels for R32. Waltzes are one to a customer. One of the fiddlers kicks off a four bar introduction, the caller sets to work, the dancers are dancing and the orchestra is into it. About an eternity later… with several tune changes which for me means changing banjos. We’re finished. The dancers are whooping and hollering… everyone is grinning... and I realize we sounded good. Better than good. We sounded fine.

The evening progresses. The caller gave the mic to another caller and joined the dance. One of the orchestra members put down her guitar and danced a set. A ten minute break occurred sometimes during the night. That’s the time I went over to my bag o’ tricks for the plate resonator I made for the Vega LN I was playing in D. The Vega, beauty of an instrument isn’t very loud. The little Gibson open back was tuned to open G. It started life as a tenor in 1920, has been a 5-string since the 60’s with a Vega neck. projects better.

A note on playing. With all the chord changes these robustly and accurately pieces required frailing just didn’t do it. Playing at speed, changing chords and trying to sound good at the same time was a non-starter. I figured that out at rehearsal. While I did some frailing on one set that had three tunes (first in G, second in D, third in G) that I had written a note to frail the whole thing on the G-tuned banjo, it worked, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Mostly used fingerpicks and mostly played is a bluegrass style. The picks gave me the volume I needed and helped remind the dancers that they were listening to more than seven fiddlers. (One left early, I think she had a date.)

Six or seven fiddlers, hammered dulcimer, three guitars, keyboard, tenor banjo/octave mandolin (same person) and me on 5-strings. The orchestra leader said that controlling such a small group was much easier. Small?

We filled the stage. I don’t think we would have room for the penny whistler and the flute player, much less the bass, or the accordion guy.

The organization gives two of these dances a month if I understood them correctly. But it seems that there are at least two other bands besides this biggish orchestra that alternate the gigs. Just as well. Playing that often and with that intensity approaches something called works (Is anyone doing Maynard B. Crabs or whatever the character’s name was) at this point.

I worked just about enough for last night. The future hasn’t happened yet. I’ll probably be a member of this orchestra for the next whenever.

--
Sidebar:
The guitar picker necked to me is a part time luthier and has theparts I need to fix an old cello someone out on the curb for adoption. Neat.






Philj200

nihilist37 - Posted - 02/06/2007:  07:21:22


Can I just say 'WOW' I just watched this clip ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeBVCGIwtx4 ) and I'm just in awe. It near brought me to tears. Listening to players like Adam Hurt, Zepp Mike Iverson, just really brings out the feelings in me (i guess we all get it). Question is how do they go from just simple tunes into something so darn purty.

Skill?
Practise?
Wisdom?
living in the right place (ie not so remote from where the OT is)

I don't know where it comes from but I sure hope someday I get it.


Copo - Posted - 02/07/2007:  13:26:46


Welcome paddy, fellow banjoist. Look forward to your expert opinions on this site. A pleasure as always

DelusionsOBanjer - Posted - 01/31/2007:  21:19:33


I saw a reference somewhere to Tommy Jarrell's tuning on "John Brown's Dream" ("Pretty Little Girl").

Anybody know what that tuning is? Thanks!


......................................................................................................
"Hell, how 'bout a hand for absolutely no reason whatsoever..."
--John Hartford

carrie - Posted - 02/11/2007:  21:07:04


I am a relatively new player and need to build up my repertoire and my ear to help me at jams.

I would like to learn most of the common/popular old time songs you might be likely to hear at jams. What CD(s) or book(s) would you recommend? I'm looking for something that's a compilation of a lot of songs in an easy/medium format, mainly in D and A.

Thanks for your recommendations.

arnie - Posted - 02/10/2007:  10:29:19




Hello Erynn! We love your fiddlin' - and now we get to talk banjos!


Arnie Naiman
http://www.merriweather.ca/Records.aspx?ID=2

vrteach - Posted - 02/10/2007:  10:54:00


Welcome to the hangout, Erynn! I love your Calico CD. You can tell some banjo jokes, we like them.

I'm so proud, I'm right between (and behind) you and Chris Coole in the group picture from last years Midwest Banjo Camp. I bask in your talents.


Erich
-------
http://vrteach.freepgs.com/banjo/

wallnutsbanjo - Posted - 02/10/2007:  11:17:10


Erynn, Welcome to the hangout. I just put Calico in my cd player for what I'm guessing is the 100th time. I love it. Mary

wallnutsbanjo

Erynn Marshall - Posted - 02/10/2007:  12:18:32


Aw shucks fellers!

So you caught me lurking around spying on you banjoists. I love the banjo - it's true. In fact, I've been playing a lot more myself mostly on my fretless Fairbanks & Cole as of late.

Those of you who liked Calico will hopefully enjoy Chris Coole and my new CD "Meet Me in the Music" which is due for release this May 2007.

I just signed up a couple of days ago so you're welcome to hangout on my page and link up if you're banjo buds.

Fiddlingly, Erynn

Erynn Marshall
www.hickoryjack.com
http://www.myspace.com/erynnmarshall

Erynn Marshall - Posted - 02/10/2007:  12:20:10


Thank you too Mary! You're no feller. I just saw Walnut... when I replied. cheers, Erynn

Erynn Marshall
www.hickoryjack.com
http://www.myspace.com/erynnmarshall

dbrooks - Posted - 02/10/2007:  14:58:24


Welcome to the Hangout, Erynn. It's a friendly place with lots of knowledgeable folks. I look forward to hearing from you.

I noticed in your schedule on your BHO homepage that you, Arnie and Chris will be playing at Berea in May. I have marked my calendar.

David

clawhamper - Posted - 02/10/2007:  21:55:48


Wow! It's a full-on Canadian invasion! This is great

I was at the Banjo Camp in Michigan last June and really enjoyed the Chris, Arnie, Erynn contingent.

I've been enjoying Calico for some time...better than that, my 5-year-old daughter who is loving her suzuki violin study has stolen the cd from me (see my photo page).

Welcome...and get Chris in here soon

Hamp

jbalch - Posted - 02/11/2007:  22:40:45


Hello Erynn:

I love your music! Its great to have you here.



http://www.johnbalchmusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/johnbalch

Philj200 - Posted - 02/10/2007:  09:56:26


I had expected the bone-numbing cold to hold down the crowd. And maybe make some of the orchestra members reconsider leaving their homes on a night like this. Windy, a damp cold in the mid-teens feeling like the a lot less.

For me, I had to drive 45 minutes to the place where the dance was taking place, an historic barn deep into the next county set on a small historical pressure.

It may have been a barn at some earlier part of its life. I saw a large white clapboard structure glowing with light. The inside was basically one large room with nothing it but a few dancers. At the end was an actual proscenium set into the back wall. That’s where about a dozen band members were setting up and tuning.

They waved me over and I set up next to two guitar pickers. Between tuning and juggling chairs, music stand (purchased for the occasion), instrument stand for the alternate banjo making room for more members time began to fly.

A caller began to joss up the crowd… and I noticed they had become a crowd. He was instructing them in the steps and I noticed that their were a lot more and a lot more complicated than I expected.

And when I looked up, the few dancers had grown to an impressive room filling number. At least 60 of them.

The orchestra leader announces which set… they are all number J23, R32, W10 would mean the three jigs grouped for J23, the four reels for R32. Waltzes are one to a customer. One of the fiddlers kicks off a four bar introduction, the caller sets to work, the dancers are dancing and the orchestra is into it. About an eternity later… with several tune changes which for me means changing banjos. We’re finished. The dancers are whooping and hollering… everyone is grinning... and I realize we sounded good. Better than good. We sounded fine.

The evening progresses. The caller gave the mic to another caller and joined the dance. One of the orchestra members put down her guitar and danced a set. A ten minute break occurred sometimes during the night. That’s the time I went over to my bag o’ tricks for the plate resonator I made for the Vega LN I was playing in D. The Vega, beauty of an instrument isn’t very loud. The little Gibson open back was tuned to open G. It started life as a tenor in 1920, has been a 5-string since the 60’s with a Vega neck. projects better.

A note on playing. With all the chord changes these robustly and accurately pieces required frailing just didn’t do it. Playing at speed, changing chords and trying to sound good at the same time was a non-starter. I figured that out at rehearsal. While I did some frailing on one set that had three tunes (first in G, second in D, third in G) that I had written a note to frail the whole thing on the G-tuned banjo, it worked, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Mostly used fingerpicks and mostly played is a bluegrass style. The picks gave me the volume I needed and helped remind the dancers that they were listening to more than seven fiddlers. (One left early, I think she had a date.)

Six or seven fiddlers, hammered dulcimer, three guitars, keyboard, tenor banjo/octave mandolin (same person) and me on 5-strings. The orchestra leader said that controlling such a small group was much easier. Small?

We filled the stage. I don’t think we would have room for the penny whistler and the flute player, much less the bass, or the accordion guy.

The organization gives two of these dances a month if I understood them correctly. But it seems that there are at least two other bands besides this biggish orchestra that alternate the gigs. Just as well. Playing that often and with that intensity approaches something called works (Is anyone doing Maynard B. Crabs or whatever the character’s name was) at this point.

I worked just about enough for last night. The future hasn’t happened yet. I’ll probably be a member of this orchestra for the next whenever.

--
Sidebar:
The guitar picker necked to me is a part time luthier and has theparts I need to fix an old cello someone out on the curb for adoption. Neat.






Philj200

nihilist37 - Posted - 02/06/2007:  07:21:22


Can I just say 'WOW' I just watched this clip ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeBVCGIwtx4 ) and I'm just in awe. It near brought me to tears. Listening to players like Adam Hurt, Zepp Mike Iverson, just really brings out the feelings in me (i guess we all get it). Question is how do they go from just simple tunes into something so darn purty.

Skill?
Practise?
Wisdom?
living in the right place (ie not so remote from where the OT is)

I don't know where it comes from but I sure hope someday I get it.


Copo - Posted - 02/07/2007:  13:26:46


Welcome paddy, fellow banjoist. Look forward to your expert opinions on this site. A pleasure as always

DelusionsOBanjer - Posted - 01/31/2007:  21:19:33


I saw a reference somewhere to Tommy Jarrell's tuning on "John Brown's Dream" ("Pretty Little Girl").

Anybody know what that tuning is? Thanks!


......................................................................................................
"Hell, how 'bout a hand for absolutely no reason whatsoever..."
--John Hartford

carrie - Posted - 02/11/2007:  21:07:04


I am a relatively new player and need to build up my repertoire and my ear to help me at jams.

I would like to learn most of the common/popular old time songs you might be likely to hear at jams. What CD(s) or book(s) would you recommend? I'm looking for something that's a compilation of a lot of songs in an easy/medium format, mainly in D and A.

Thanks for your recommendations.

arnie - Posted - 02/10/2007:  10:29:19




Hello Erynn! We love your fiddlin' - and now we get to talk banjos!


Arnie Naiman
http://www.merriweather.ca/Records.aspx?ID=2

Clawhammer Clint - Posted - 02/11/2007:  20:17:03


I have read and heard references to various playing styles all within the general category of "clawhammer," such as "Round Peak," "Melodic", and "Sand Point" (this one in another recent thread on this site), among others. This newbie would greatly appreciate it if some folks would kindly list the various distinct clawhammer styles that are recognized within the musical community, describe their defining characteristics, and name a prominent exemplar or two for each style. Thanks very much in advance for your kind assistance.

C.C.

C.C.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 02/11/2007:  22:43:05


Well, it's Sand Mountain, not Sand Point...but beyond that I don't know that anyone outside of maybe Bob Carlin & Mike Seeger could knock out the list you seek--or if there is even one to compile. "Melodic" playing lacks even a generally agreed-upon definition. See the recent thread on this forum. The outstanding Round Peak players are easy to track down with a little effort and Google (or the search function on the Hangout). But many fine clawhammer players--e.g., Walt Koken, Reed Martin, Dan Levinson, Howie Bursen, Adam Hurt (among many others)--defy any stylistic categorization. I'd suggest listening to as many practitioners of the art as possible--and (if you choose) emulating the ones whose playing strikes your fancy.

Bill

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