This is the March edition of my Foggy Mountain Banjo Project -- Reuben.
This tune is so much fun. I've never really played in D tuning before. In some ways I don't like the idea of alternative tunings -- they seem like too much of a hassle. I didn't feel that way about drop C - it's just one string. Once I started playing Reuben, I thought "D tuning sounds great!"
Reuben seems like an easier tune than it is, I think. It's easy in the sense that it sounds pretty good when played slow, and the basic moves aren't too hard. But if your pull-offs aren't real snappy, you certainly notice it. So Reuben's taught me that I've got to work on my 3-2 pull-offs some more.
The chokes are tricky too. Not super hard, but you can hear it when they are not quite right.
I learned this tune mostly by ear from listening to Bennett Sullivan's slow playing of the tune. I also listened to Earl's playing slowed down many times. Bennett plays it differently to Earl in a few ways. Bennett tunes the 5th to A, while Earl uses F#. I tried both. I settled on A because I couldn't make it sound as good when I used F#. Earl's playing is more sparse in the up the neck parts, but when you don't have a band behind you it seems better to add some extra notes in to keep the rythm going. I also did a few things my own way that are different to both Earl and Bennett.
I grabbed the D7 bit (which I love the sound of) from Earl's book. I should have tried using my ear more to work this out, but I got a bit lazy.
That harmonic on the fifth fret of the first string is difficult to sound.
This is a tune I want to work on a lot more so that I can iron out some of the kinks, but I reckon it doesn't sound too bad even with a few kinks in it.
Next month -- I don't know yet.
Friday, March 30, 2018 @4:52:52 AM
Interesting, I will check this out. Thanks for the link.
Friday, March 30, 2018 @6:40:17 AM
Friday, March 30, 2018 @8:24:26 AM
I assume Reuben and Reuben's train are the same tune.
Reuben's train is one of the tunes in Dan Levensons (Clawhammer) Old Time Festival favourites I am considering learning.
What I find slightly humorous is I am shifting out of double C/D to open G for this tune......And you are going completely the other way tuning wise....
Friday, March 30, 2018 @4:22:10 PM
Thanks NorthI, Wayne and Andy.
You’re right Andy — Reuben and Reuben’s Train are the same tune. That is funny that the different traditions seem to be playing it in different tunings. I have seen an old time band perform Reuben’s Train (with singing) but I can’t remember what key they played it in.
Let me know if you post yourself playing Reuben’s Train, Andy. I’d love to hear it.
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