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Songs For Singing, Episode 5: "Been All Around This World"

Posted by Josh Turknett on Saturday, May 14, 2016


DOWNLOAD THE TAB for "Been All Around This World"

To DOWNLOAD THE TAB for both the VOCAL BACKUP and the LEAD BREAK for "Been All Around This World", click the button below. You'll also get a brand new classic clawhammer song and tab delivered to your inbox every week!

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EPISODE 5: "Been All Around This World"

by Josh Turknett,


Take a story of a man coming to terms with his impending demise from the gallows, combine it with an unforgettable melody, and what do you get?

Our 5th selection in the “Songs for Singin’” season of the Core Repertoire Series, that’s what!

This song has been in my stable of performance tunes for many years. While it may not be recognized by most in a general audience, it’s one of those rare songs folks seem to like in just a single listen, without the customary “getting to know you” period that most songs require.

I also love it because a) it has just one part, and b) it’s very well suited to playing out of double C/D tuning.

So let’s get crackin’!

Step 1: Know Thy Melody

You know the drill, right?

No plucking of thy banjo in search of the tune until said tune can be sung, hummed, whistled or otherwise generated from one’s own bodily vibrations.

Once you’ve got it, move on to….

Step 2: Find The Chords

I typically play this song in the key of D, and as mentioned above, I use double D (aDADE) tuning to do so. We know then, that our root, or I, chord will be D. Our IV chord is a G, and our V chord is an A. And those are the only 3 chords you’ll need to know! Now it’s just a matter of knowing where to put em.

See if you can figure out the chord changes yourself first. Then consult the answers below to check your work (I’ve also included the chord shapes for each chord in this tuning):

Step 3: Play A Basic Backup Pattern While Fingering the Chord Progression

Now with our chord progression firmly in mind let’s create a straightforward vocal backup to serve as the perfect backdrop for some singing. A nice bum-ditty pattern will do just fine, like this:

Bum Ditty Backup.mp3

Here’s what that looks like in tab:

Step 4: Add some easily accessed melody notes

As discussed in prior episodes, and easy way to dress up your vocal backup a little bit is to add in some melody notes as you play. And the best place to look first are the melody notes you can play that don’t require you to do anything else with your fretting hand (besides hold down the chord shape, as you’re already doing).

So first, let’s locate where the melody notes for this tune are located. Here’s how the basic melody of “Been All Around this World” sounds like.

Basic Hangin'.mp3

And here’s that melody tabbed out. Melody notes that fall on the downbeat (the “bum” in the bum ditty pattern):

Now, let’s incorporate these melody notes that require not extra fretting hand movement into our backup. Doing so give us this:

If we play and sing that, it sounds like this:

Singin' and Hangin'.mp3


Not only does this make for great vocal accompaniment, but it also gives the impression that a lot is going on your banjo.

In my version in the video for the “Song of the Week” series, I’ve added a few additional embellishments to double the melody as I sing, and I throw in a solo in between the verses. Click below if you’d like to download those arrangements:

Click Here to Get the Tab

Want to view all of the prior Clawhammer Core Repertoire Series episodes?

Head over to the Core Repertoire Table of Contents


About the Author

Dr. Josh Turknett is the creator of Breakthrough Banjo, the first music beginner to advanced system for learning clawhammer banjo that incorporates the science of learning and neuroplasticity and specifically target the adult learner (click to learn more)



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