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Buffalo Nickel

Genre: Fiddle/Celtic/Irish  Style: Other  Key: D  Difficulty: Intermediate
Posted by Tom Hanway, updated: 6/9/2015
Download: JPEG

Notes: Here is a Celtic fingerstyle setting using Double D tuning (Double C-Capo II) for the Old Time reel that goes under interchangeable titles. The titles create confusion since there are two main branches in Old Time and further regional, local and bluegrass variants. The A Part is pretty close in most versions with one noticeable variation – either dipping down to an A-note or rising up to F# in the second and sixth measures. (Here I dip down to the A-note in the sixth measure.) This variation is found in both Old Time and Bluegrass versions and a G chord is sometimes played in these spots (as I do here). It’s in the B Part (fifth and sixth measures) where the melodic contour branches in one of two directions – either dipping down from the fifth (A) to the tonic (D)/D chord, or, as Paul Warren played it (New Five Cents), using a G-note double-stop with a B-note)/G chord, then up to an A-note/A chord and moving upwards happily in major second intervals. Many (but not all) Old Time versions (‘New Five Cents’, ‘Ruffled Drawers’ or ‘Buffalo Nickel’) tend to keep dipping down to the low D-note/D chord and use fewer chords than Bluegrass versions which are based on Paul Warren’s version. This setting uses a lot of fretting-hand ornamentation and makes for a lovely hornpipe.

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