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West Fork Gals

Key of D – aDADE

In this, tunetorial number 38, Dan "Clawdan" Levenson teaches West Fork Gals.

Dan has several old sources for this tune including the playing of Franklin George, Wilson Douglas and Doc White (all West Virginia fiddlers) as well as a wonderful one from John Hartford. Doug Van Gundy and Paul Gartner play a great banjo/fiddle duet version on their recording, Born Old. All of Dan's sources cite or are from West Virginia so it is most likely safe to consider it a West Virginia tune. In one recording Frank George even references the tune as being named for the West Fork River in Calhoun County, West Virginia. (Don’t worry, Dan's feelings won’t be hurt if you find a different history.)

This is another tune where the A part and B part are opposite depending on who you are playing with. Dan plays it in the order that Frank does which is how Doug and Paul play it as well.

In this tunetorial, Dan plays the tune at a moderate pace starting out pretty basic (well as basic as he can, anyway) and add to it both notationally and rhythmically and as we go. This one can be very basic or quite ornamental depending on how YOU want it to go. There is focus on a back up version as well.

This week’s bonus is the review of hand position for the scale type runs in this tune as well as some focus on the syncopation you need to get some of the not so subtle rhythmic variations.

Feel free to post any questions you have on it, remark on sections you would like clarified or things you might like added. Yes even the things you don’t like are fair game. It grows the tune and the community when you know what you like and don’t like as you build your own style.

This tune is tabbed out in Dan's book Old Time Favorites for Clawhammer Banjo (MB 30224). This one also appears in 3 versions (basic double thumb, drop thumb and “kitchen sink” jam versions) in Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch (MB 20190) for those of you wanting a real nuts and bolts break down of this one.

It would be great to hear some of your versions so far so post them here for all to hear.

Price: $6.00

< More videos in the 'Clawhammer Tunetorials' series


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