Genre: Bluegrass Style: Bluegrass (Scruggs) Key: G Tuning: Standard Open G (gDGBD) Difficulty: Intermediate
Posted by DarrenJ, updated: 3/31/2019
Notes: If you’re looking for a fun tune that combines melodics, single string, and a swing feel, look no further than Alan O’Bryant’s Big Cow in Carlisle. After hearing this on the radio, I quickly perused the Hangout for the tab but only found someone’s request for it. YouTube only offered the recording by the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Still green in the world of transcribing banjo tunes, I decided to take on the challenge. After several slowed down listens, thanks to YouTube’s speed setting, I feel I have a solid representation of the tune. In the first, full measure, I use my pinky for the hammer-on to facilitate an easier maneuver for the ring finger on the 3rd string-7th fret and the middle finger on the 2nd string-2nd fret, but if that isn't comfortable for you, do what is! At the 2nd ending, make sure to bring out the syncopated line with the 5-4-3 on the D string. Alan does this so well, the open 3rd and 1st strings are hardly noticed. Be sure not to rush the hammer-on at the down beat of the B section. It isn't anticipated as a 16th note, and your picking index finger jumps up to the 4th string to execute the slide in the following measure. Release the string with your fretting hand, making that note staccato (note the rest) as well as the following two quarter notes on the 1st string. The same is true for the following two quarter notes on the 2nd string at the 8th fret. Listening to the recording will help immensely. Note the single string in m. 23. Pretend you're Wes Corbett, and start with the index finger since you've just used your thumb. I heard in an interview he taught himself single string and started with his index. You can transition to a more traditional thumb lead using the middle finger on the 2nd string, but it changes the tone pattern (plastic vs. metal pick). The form of the tune is a bit uneven: A1-A2-A1-A2-B-A2. In the second grouping of A sections, another instrument alternates with the lead. However, the banjo's ending break is shortened, leaving out the two middle A sections, rendering the form A1-A2-B-A2.
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