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Oct 17, 2020 - 12:43:21 PM
117 posts since 9/14/2019

I come from bluegrass and am used to playing banjo in G. However, in CH I have found that I love Double C and don't like G so much.

I just bought Old-Time Festival Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo by Dan Levenson and it is full of good tunes. What are some tunes in G that you really like? It's crazy but my ear just doesn't like it as much but I also want to play Big Scioty and such.


Edited by - watercarving on 10/17/2020 12:43:36

Oct 17, 2020 - 1:01:35 PM

22 posts since 10/23/2011

My banjo hasn't been tuned to open G in 7 years. Pretty much just F and triple C, but sometimes double C or D modal.

Edited by - Flaw Hamwrist on 10/17/2020 13:02:23

Oct 17, 2020 - 1:32:11 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


24101 posts since 6/25/2005

Paddy on the Turnpike; Temperance Reel; Blackberry Blossom are three to start. Of course there are numerous A fiddle tunes played in open G either capoed or tuned up to A.

Oct 17, 2020 - 1:32:37 PM
like this

5889 posts since 3/11/2006

Many folks use the "Old-G" tuning for "G" tunes:

gDGDE = fCFCD capo2
So from gCGCD drop your 3rd and 5th to F and capo at the second,
or tune open.

Doesn't work for every G tune, but many of them.

Oct 17, 2020 - 2:25:12 PM



9616 posts since 1/22/2003

Open-G is also fine for oldtime: Old Joe Clarck, Wild Bill Jones, Sweet Nora Lee, Groundhog, In the Pines (also in open-D), many moreā€¦

Oct 18, 2020 - 3:44:24 AM

Bill H


1421 posts since 11/7/2010

Tunes in G: Roscoe, Sandy River Belle, Shove That Pig's Foot Closer to the Fire, Girl I left Behind, Temperance Reel, Leather Britches, Big Sciotia, Blackberry Blossom, Nail the Catfish to the Tree, Seneca Square Dance, Colored Aristocracy.

Put your capo on 2nd fret and there's a ton more tunes. While it is popular to play A tunes out of G tuning, I find it is best for my practice and my ear to be in pitch when playing any tune. The fiddle is not going to change keys in most cases--I learned that sloppy practice did not prepare me to jam with others when the time came.

Oct 18, 2020 - 5:34:04 AM
Players Union Member

Eric A


872 posts since 10/15/2019

Why not just bang out Foggy Mountain Breakdown and all the rest in clawhammer? How could that not be fun?

Oct 19, 2020 - 10:59:20 AM
likes this

7112 posts since 11/4/2005

watercarving wrote: "I come from bluegrass and am used to playing banjo in G. However, in CH I have found I love Double C and don't like G so much."

I'm a bluegrass refugee as well. I still play about half of my G and A tunes in open G (or open A), but some years back I began using the tuning that Pete Seeger used for Jenny Get Around that he tabbed in How to Play the Five String Banjo, his "little red book".  It's open G with the second string dropped a whole tone (gDGAD). Basically, this tuning works for G the way Double C works for the key of C, it has the 2nd degree of the scale on an open string next to the tonic.  I now play about half of my G and A tunes in this tuning, including all of my modal tunes, instead of using Sawmill (gDGCD). I'm still a three finger picker, but I have never understood why this tuning hasn't caught on with clawhammer pickers, because it makes even more sense for them.  If you curious, you can watch me playing Norman Edmond's Chinkapin Hunting by clicking here, or French Carpenter's Camp Chase here.

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