Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

Aug 12, 2017 - 11:35:25 AM


South Africa

60 posts
Joined Nov 1, 2011

Just been listening to the 1949 original Foggy Mountain Breakdown (which starts with a pinch, by the way)
There must be somd way to TAB bluegrass, and Earl Scruggs in particular, to reflect the emphasis on notes that makes it bluegrass. The 4/4 time in the instruction TABS and slow videos just doesn't do it
Aug 12, 2017 - 11:56:11 AM
likes this

Texasbanjo Players Union Member (Moderator)


20139 posts
Joined Aug 3, 2003

Jack Hatfield highlights melody notes in his instruction books so you'll know where the melody is.  That's about the only thing I know to do to emphasize in tabulation.  Other than that, listen to the song, hear the notes that stand out and try to mimic that sound.  

It's difficult if you're not familiar with a song to be able to play it as it should be played if you are only looking at tab and have no idea how it sounds.  Try to find the song and listen to it.  It may not be the exact same arrangement as your tab, but it will give you a basic idea of the melody.  Then take it from there. 

Try to find tabs that also have midis with them (like Tabledit) where you can see the tab and listen to the song at the same time.  That might also help considerably. 

Aug 12, 2017 - 1:15:50 PM
like this

8417 posts
Joined Jun 2, 2008

That's what a recorded reference and your ears are for.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 08/12/2017 13:16:00

Aug 12, 2017 - 4:01:24 PM



724 posts
Joined May 5, 2006

Buy a midi banjo and play what you hear. I can tab immediately to my computer just by picking. Straight to tabedit.
Aug 12, 2017 - 5:44:25 PM
likes this

RioStat Players Union Member


4074 posts
Joined Oct 12, 2009

Tabs can only show you the notes as interpreted and transcribed by the tabs author.

It's up to you to emhasize, accent, and turn the tab into music.
Aug 12, 2017 - 8:15:35 PM

397 posts
Joined Sep 13, 2006

Originally posted by NINJO

Buy a midi banjo and play what you hear. I can tab immediately to my computer just by picking. Straight to tabedit.

Ninjo, where can you get a midi banjo?  Do you know if there is also a midi mandolin available?  Thanks!



Aug 12, 2017 - 8:50:09 PM

Tim13 Players Union Member


2983 posts
Joined Apr 1, 2008

Since you're talking about the 1949/1950 version, pay very close attention to the so called "foggy mountain breakdown rolls" and hammer ons during Earls first two times through.  This is an area where people tabbing it out either get lazy, or just don't realize what's going on, so when people try to capture the flavor, it just doesn't sound right. 

There are so many subtleties in Earls playing, I don't think tabbing it out in any way possible, could convey what's going on.  The only way is to listen, over, and over.


Aug 12, 2017 - 9:15:57 PM

rbfour5 Players Union Member


657 posts
Joined Nov 9, 2010

Don't rely on the tab- it's a good guide. Let your ear tell you what your right hand needs to do. The tab can be accurate as heck, but that won't mean your going to get the little nuances of what any banjo player is doing. I trust me ear more than tab.

Aug 13, 2017 - 7:22:09 AM

9702 posts
Joined Feb 12, 2011

Buy the book Scruggs Corner here: You can add it to your cart on the right side of the screen.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories