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Sweet Fern

Posted by chip arnold


like this

- Play count: 807

Size: 2,387kb, uploaded 6/6/2009 5:28:30 PM
Genre: Unknown/None Chosen / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

2 finger style aDADE tuning This is another one that Will played beautifully. I learned it from Will but have changed it some to suit my playing and ear. You can hear Will play it in his '03 Kennedy Center performance.

6 comments on “Sweet Fern”

lori nitzel Says:
Sunday, June 7, 2009 @5:18:59 PM

Never heard this tune before but I love it. Great playing, as always! :)

strokestyle Says:
Monday, June 8, 2009 @12:17:55 PM


Don Borchelt Says:
Thursday, June 11, 2009 @4:24:21 AM

There comes a time when the pupil exceeds the master.  Very lovely, delicate and evocative playing.  I can hear the Carter ladies singing this with the banjo, autoharp and guitar, it would have been wonderful.

I know he's away in a far distant land
A land that is over the sea
Go fly to him singing your sweet little song
And tell him to come back to me

UncleClawhammer Says:
Friday, January 25, 2013 @5:30:01 PM

Beautiful. Speck Rhodes used to sing that!

jacksml Says:
Saturday, August 22, 2020 @2:40:12 PM

Wow! What a great version of this tune. Can it be played in regular open G tuning or do you need the special tuning? Awesome. :-)

chip arnold Says:
Sunday, August 23, 2020 @6:52:26 AM

jacksml I like the way it falls in D/D tuning, but you could play it in any tuning you wish. Since Sweet Fern is a song rather than just a tune, a singer might want to play it in a different key. These days it seems that D/D tuning is the commonest tuning for playing tunes in D and C/C (a whole step down) is the commonest for C tunes. The many tunings used in Old Time banjo are not "special" so much as utilitarian. They provide what Wade Ward called different "atmospheres" for a tune as well as simply allowing you to physically reach some notes in a tune more easily. Coal Creek March and Baptist Shout are a couple of D tunes that I play in open D instead of D/D.

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