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Under the Double Eagle - Clawhammer

Posted by rrode on Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I have played, or at least attempted to play,  this old gem on guitar since I was a teenager (many moons ago).  Composed by Austrian Josef Wagner and popularized in this country by John Philip Sousa.  It was in a Happy Traum book called Bluegrass Guitar and played in C.  A couple of years ago I came across a clawhammer banjo version on EZ Folk written in G.  Both versions are fun to play, but obviously something needs to be done to get them together.  One solution if for the banjo to capo to the 5th fret -- not the easiest thing to do.  Another idea is to take your 12" Goldtone BC350 with the heavy gauge nylguts tuned down to dADF#A.  When you play as if in G (different notes, but relatively equivalent to standard G tuning) it actually sounds in the key of D -- and so have the guitar capo to the 2nd fret and also play in D - presto - everyone can play together. 

I posted a recording of the clawhammer section at .  The backing guitar is me, but I didn't quite get around to adding the guitar solo.  How do recording artists get those perfect recordings?  I must have done 75 takes, or aborted takes, to just get these two verses.  And while not completely perfect, not a complete disaster either.  It is good practice to play with the metronome and with another instrument.  And perhaps the tyranny of the recording process builds musicianship?  Let's hope!

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