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Apr 1, 2020 - 5:13:29 PM
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14 posts since 12/25/2019

Is there a good source of old-time tunes (preferably banjo tab) but even sound files would be good that have the basic melody without decorations? There is so much variety in how tunes can be decorated, which includes sacrificing the melody on some notes. I'd like to know the basic melody before banjoing it up.

Apr 1, 2020 - 5:15:48 PM

NealR

USA

202 posts since 8/14/2009

Hmmmmm......... I would be interested in that as well. I've never seen anything like that.

Apr 1, 2020 - 5:44:43 PM

9648 posts since 2/22/2007

There are some in BHO tabs, you just have to look at each one.  The ones in PDF format can be opened without any further software. Here is a good example of a straightforward arrangement, nothing but melody and bum-ditty.  There are some 0-2 hammers but you can omit them if you wish and just play the (2) note. 

Angelina Baker 

Edited by - banjo bill-e on 04/01/2020 17:46:20

Apr 1, 2020 - 6:21:33 PM

dlm7507

USA

14 posts since 12/25/2019

Thanks. That's close. I'd like the unembellished tunes. I'm about to search the midi sources. The main thing I want is to get the basic tune in my head, then decorate as I see fit/am able.

Apr 1, 2020 - 6:41:28 PM
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9648 posts since 2/22/2007

Any songs with lyrics are a good way to hear the unvarnished melody.

Apr 1, 2020 - 6:51 PM

dlm7507

USA

14 posts since 12/25/2019

This just might suit my purpose hetzlersfakebook.com/music_2.html
Thanks for the lyrics idea.

Apr 1, 2020 - 8:36:12 PM
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RB3

USA

670 posts since 4/12/2004

There's a great web site named abcnotation that provides free sheet music for basic melodies in PDF and other file formats for a great number of songs. It also allows you to play midis of the songs to provide a verification process.  It's the first place I go when I'm looking for sheet music for melodies. The link is below.

abcnotation.com
 

Apr 1, 2020 - 9:48:30 PM

dlm7507

USA

14 posts since 12/25/2019

Thanks!

Apr 1, 2020 - 10:33:28 PM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

561 posts since 10/15/2019

You might find something useful here:

1600 Top Session Tunes


 

Apr 2, 2020 - 2:02:07 AM
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4812 posts since 5/14/2007

Look into Dan Levenson's books. He's known here as Clawdan. Good stuff and may be what you want.

Edited by - John Gribble on 04/02/2020 02:02:50

Apr 2, 2020 - 2:24:48 AM
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2620 posts since 4/29/2012

Dan Levenson's Old Time Festival Tunes has a barebones arrangement and more complex arrangements. The stuff in the Banjo Players Songbook (Tim Jumper) and Banjo Pickers Fakebook ( David Brody) is also pretty unornamented.

Apr 2, 2020 - 3:43:26 AM
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Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

40408 posts since 3/7/2006

Look for the this week's TOTW that I will present tomorrow. I have an easy stripped-off version and a more intermediate version of the tune.

I mostly play own arrangements. When making an arrangement I start with identifying a core main melody with 2 or 3 notes per measure, and to that I add different decorations and embellishment according to my own ability and feeling.

Apr 2, 2020 - 7:42:16 AM

dlm7507

USA

14 posts since 12/25/2019

Thank you all. I think this will fix me up.

Apr 2, 2020 - 7:44:10 AM
Players Union Member

R Buck

USA

2758 posts since 9/5/2006

Listen to Grandpa Jones. Basic picking little melody but he gets the job done. Grandpa has a book too https://www.melbay.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=grandpa+jones

Apr 2, 2020 - 7:48:30 AM
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135 posts since 4/1/2016

Check out Wayne Erbsen’s banjo books - native ground music. He has two clawhammer books and one bluegrass book. The clawhammer books, in different tunings, have basic bum-ditty without ornamentation. The bluegrass book is also very helpful - all in G tuning and just the melody is shown in the tabs (rolls are more of a sidebar and not shown on the tune tabs) if I remember correctly.

Apr 2, 2020 - 8:05:47 AM
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1737 posts since 2/10/2013

That problem applies to most instruments - with the exception of flattop guitar. Steve Kaufman's guitar instructional "Bluegrass Guitar Solos That
Every Parking Lot Picker Should Know" is the best stringed instrument instructional I have ever owned - and I have a 5 shelf bookcase full of banjo, fiddle, and guitar books. I keep trying to have books like this produced for banjo and fiddle. No luck so far.

Here is wny I am raving about the instructional content and format of that publication -

1. 20 Commonly played tunes.
2. 3 versions of each tune - Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.
3. All tunes are commonly played. Tunes are also in the key they are normally played.
4. 6 CDs are provided. On the CDs, Steve Kaufman plays every version of every tune. And before a version is played, Steve describes how more difficult or newly introduced techniques should be played.

I also think that using an unadorned version of the notation/tab is the best introduction to a tune. Learn the basic melody first, then "build" on top of that. There is also a useful byproduct of that approach. You learn how to play the tune using the beginner documentation, then learn a more advanced version. That means you will be able to play 2 versions of the tune. At times knowing more than one version of a tune can come in handy.

Rant is over. BTW, Steve's "Parking Lot" books have benefits I did not mention.
Things like endings and a complete band recording for each tunes.

Apr 2, 2020 - 9:04:01 AM
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1129 posts since 8/7/2017

Josh Turknett also presents tab rated as level1 beginner up to level3 expert. Not all tunes have all 3 versions. Some songs you have to join to get access, some are free. I think these are all free (list at bottom of page):
clawhammerbanjo.net/clawhammer...oos-nest/
------------
I took the time to learn how to "learn/play by ear" early in my banjo career; it was a struggle (2 weeks for my first by-ear tune, Angeline the Baker, a pretty simple tune). But it was well worth the effort: I find that I can learn by ear faster than learn by tab, now.

The key is learning how to listen; eg. recognizing what's going on. I don't know any shortcuts, but they probably exist. For me, just listening over and over worked (with tune in the background as I did other stuff on computer, for example). I also would spend time just listening to tune, not trying to multitask.

One breakthru for me was realizing that playing a greatly simplified version was perfectly ok; I did not have to understand and workout all the bells and whistles on my first attempt. In fact, I think that's a good first step even 4 years later, for me :-) If you listen long enough, the general melody will present itself. Sing or whistle or hum along with the song, that works for me; for the complicated parts, just hum something that sounds good to you, does not have to be melody or harmony or anything, just pleasing to your ear.

Frailing is much easier than bluegrass I think, since the melody notes (Bum of Bum dit tee) are so distinctive. If you get 1 or 2 melody notes per measure, the song will be recognizable....then with that base, you can add ornamentation via drop thumb, hammer ons/pull offs, etc.

The nice thing is that you don't have to search for suitable tab, you can just tackle any song via the simple first, ornamentation later.

Think of listening to radio/cd/your platform of choice - you can enjoy the song w/o tab or anything. So, you are already doing a lot of what I recommended above. Once the melody is in your head, then just plunking away to find some notes that correspond to melody will develop the ear-2-finger connections the professionals have.

Hope this helps.

Edited by - BrooksMT on 04/02/2020 09:05:27

Apr 2, 2020 - 9:25:46 AM

dlm7507

USA

14 posts since 12/25/2019

Thanks. I am using his material and it was the inspiration for basic melody first.

Apr 2, 2020 - 9:55:27 AM

Nickcd

UK

204 posts since 1/28/2018

quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD

Dan Levenson's Old Time Festival Tunes has a barebones arrangement and more complex arrangements. The stuff in the Banjo Players Songbook (Tim Jumper) and Banjo Pickers Fakebook ( David Brody) is also pretty unornamented.


Plus also has the basic melody though in standard notation. You could put this into say Musescore to produce a basic tab if reading standard notation an issue. 

I quite like the book and sometimes mix up parts from the basic and more complex tab arrangements to pull out more of the melody.

As an aside & off topic... The one annoying thing is the downloads of banjo and the separate access to the fiddle downloads - as the banjo and the fiddle renditions are not played at the same tempo... Well in the ones I've looked at up to now. 

Apr 2, 2020 - 9:58:46 AM
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129 posts since 9/27/2007

I agree with Bob in CT- Wayne Erbsen's materials should be of help. Check his website: nativeground.com
During my stay at home time I dug out 2 of Wayne's books and have been refreshing up a few songs, many of the tunes have lyrics included if you find that of interest.

Apr 2, 2020 - 2:21:30 PM

Jim_R

USA

233 posts since 7/14/2010

I’ve found Hilarie Burhans’ YouTube channel very useful.

youtube.com/user/clawhammerlady

Apr 4, 2020 - 1:28:24 PM
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dlm7507

USA

14 posts since 12/25/2019

I just looked at the Parking Lot Pickers banjo edition. One star reviews complained that the tab is the basic melody. So I bought it.

Apr 9, 2020 - 6:12:57 PM

249 posts since 10/16/2011

Alot of basic melody stuff in that book ,parking lot pickers and use some times also . I have banjo and also mandolin versions so i transpost tab into fiddle tab from the mando book and learn and my wife the mandolin player plays with me playing either fiddle or banjo and even mandolin . Fun book .

Apr 10, 2020 - 12:33:34 PM
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Players Union Member

sobill

USA

10 posts since 3/7/2006

At idahobluegrassassociation.org/...ongs.html you will find most all the Bluegrass tunes with both a basic melody tab, banjo beak tab, and, for most tunes, mandolin and guitar tab. In addition links to recorded versions and a description of how the tune is arranged and played is provided. All downloadable in PDF format. A truly great, not widely known known, resource.

Apr 10, 2020 - 1:52:57 PM
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Ybanjo

USA

663 posts since 11/15/2009

When I have a song that I need to create a break, I quite often will get the sheet music for the song, preferably in the right key (but that's fixable). I try to get a very basic piano sheet music because it usually gives the basic melody notes. Like you, once I have the melody playable, I can start to embellish it how I want. But I agree that knowing how to play the basic melody line will go a long way to creating a really nice arrangement.

Apr 10, 2020 - 2:54:18 PM
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4 posts since 2/11/2016

Thanks Dave Murray for starting this thread and thanks to everyone who gave suggestions. I had put aside my banjo, but now I am going to bring it out start playing again. BTW I am 76 years old and still love both styles (clawhammer and bluegrass scruggs style banjo).

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