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Oct 30, 2020 - 3:58:06 PM
8 posts since 10/1/2020

So I done went out and found me a banjo guy. He fixed up my banjo real good. Price was right. Hoping to go for lessons. It's going to be winter, porch pickin bout done. So the Beverley Hillbillies song? Yea thats my goal. Earl Scruggs sure did nail that song like a moonshiner takes to wiskey. Now I can play the guitar parts to it, "not sayin much there" but what i need is the folks that can play it to tell me how to start? I'd be much abliged.

Oct 30, 2020 - 4:42:20 PM
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2285 posts since 5/2/2012

Welcome. It's good to have a teacher (in-person or online) in the beginning, but pre-recorded lessons abound. To get you started, look at the Jim Pankey lessons linked in the BG forum or his Youtube lessons

There are several on-line lessons   you can subscribe to.  Banjo Ben, Mike Hedding, Eli Gilbert, Bill Evans, and so on.  You can look at their video lessons and get tabs for the lessons.  

Under the Learn tab on the upper left side of the page you can do a search for teachers.  

It's great that you have informed us that you play guitar, and your goal.  That will help future posters.  Do you learn by ear, tab, or some other means? 

Oct 31, 2020 - 4:38:52 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

25127 posts since 8/3/2003

The best way to learn is with a good banjo teacher who can show you what to do and how to do it correctly. We have a teacher's list that you can check to see if there's a teacher near you. Go here: banjohangout.org/teachers/ .

If you can't find/afford a one-on-one live teacher, then there are numerous people who teach via Skype and the internet.

If that doesn't work for you, there are many excellent beginner books to get you started off right.

One caveat: banjo picking isn't like guitar picking and most guitar pickers have a problem with that 5th string, learning how to use it correctly.

Whatever you do, good luck! Banjo is very addictive so if you get hooked, there is no cure (G)

Oct 31, 2020 - 6:48:17 AM

2264 posts since 2/10/2013

Are you playing the basic rolls easily ? As you probably know, at first things are as much physical as they are mental.

For the complete beginner, Geoff Hohwald's "Banjo Primer" book/CD will teach you how to play some basic versions of tunes which will familiarize a person with these basic techniques.
Many licks are common to all tunes, easy to advanced.

Mike Hedding's website has lots of instructionals for new players. He has videos and tabs. You can watch samples of his videos on Youtube. There is a free subscription, and you would only have pay for what you purchase. The tab and sound files only cost $4.

Good instructors are hard to find. In addition, students expectations and instructors approach to teaching are sometime incompatible. You have played guitar quite a while and are probably aware of the different types of problems.

Nov 2, 2020 - 10:12:32 AM

2331 posts since 4/5/2006

The Beverly Hillbillies, Ballad of Jed Clampett better known as BJC is not a difficult tune to play but it is not something you can expect to conquer as your first banjo encounter. Like anything else, you have to learn to walk before you can run. The 5 string banjo is not a guitar, it has a narrow neck, a different tuning, & that weird 5th string to content with. Not to mention hammers, slides, pull offs & syncopation. However, all big problems are simply a multitude of smaller problems. Broken down into one small problem at a time, it becomes much more manageable. More time consuming, perhaps even bordering on tedious, but doable.  

Nov 3, 2020 - 7:19:48 AM

3536 posts since 3/28/2008

Understand that there are multiple ways to play any song. The Earl Scruggs recordings of "Jed Clampett" (there's actually two of them--one that's used in the credits of the TV show, and a rather different version that Flatt and Scruggs recorded for Columbia Records) are full of variety and subtleties that a beginner will have trouble with. But the song also lends itself to simpler arrangements that use fewer right-hand patterns yet still sound like the tune. A good teacher can work you up to that pretty quickly, especially because you already have some experience with a stringed instrument.

Nov 3, 2020 - 11:53:01 AM

4214 posts since 6/15/2005

If you're looking for someone local, check out the list of instructors at http://bbu.org, the Boston Bluegrass Union site. Two whose names jump out at me are Rich Stillman and BB Bowness.

Nov 4, 2020 - 7:48:15 AM
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Tim13

USA

3157 posts since 4/1/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Ira Gitlin

 The Earl Scruggs recordings of "Jed Clampett" (there's actually two of them--one that's used in the credits of the TV show, and a rather different version that Flatt and Scruggs recorded for Columbia Records) are full of variety and subtleties that a beginner will have trouble with. 


It's funny, I don't think I've ever seen anyone transcribe the TV theme version, considering that version is given credit by a lot of people for getting them interesed in playing the banjo.  Truth be told, the Columbia version, and the Carnegie Hall version (same?  or extremely similar...) sounds better to my ear.   I wonder why Earl changed it up?  Was the Paul Henning version of the TV theme already written, and given to Flatt and Scruggs to learn and record?  Did Earl listen to the melody, and vocals, then come up with the break?  Once Earl had the TV version, the first version he knew, up to performance speed, why would he massage it for Columbia, and live performances?  Curious. 

Edited by - Tim13 on 11/04/2020 07:49:31

Nov 4, 2020 - 7:59:40 AM

phb

Germany

2205 posts since 11/8/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Tim13
 

It's funny, I don't think I've ever seen anyone transcribe the TV theme version 


How would you slow down a TV set in the 1960s? :o)

Nov 4, 2020 - 8:18:44 AM

3536 posts since 3/28/2008

I keep meaning to go to YouTube, slow the TV version down, and transcribe it. But I'm a lazy slug. ;^(

It's been a while since I've listened to it, but as I recall, the licks are noticeably different in a bunch of places, but completely typical (as in the Columbia version, too) of Earl's 1960s approach to playing breaks. Why did he change it up, Tim? I'd guess it's simply a matter of playing it differently on different days, as so often happens.

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 11/04/2020 08:20:12

Nov 4, 2020 - 10:01:44 AM
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Tim13

USA

3157 posts since 4/1/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Ira Gitlin

I keep meaning to go to YouTube, slow the TV version down, and transcribe it. But I'm a lazy slug. ;^(

It's been a while since I've listened to it, but as I recall, the licks are noticeably different in a bunch of places, but completely typical (as in the Columbia version, too) of Earl's 1960s approach to playing breaks. Why did he change it up, Tim? I'd guess it's simply a matter of playing it differently on different days, as so often happens.

 

Different for sure.    I know we all like to believe that Earl, Lester, and the boys, had a field day, and mixed things up, playing tunes all kinds of ways, but I really don't buy into that 100%.  When you listen to the myriad of bootleg recordings of their shows, and appearances, the content is fairly consistent in what they played, the order they played it, and how they played it.  I'm not saying Earl was on autopilot, but I'm guessing that by the 100th show of the year, the shows were pretty canned, and tight.

Maybe I'm reading more into it, but the fans expected to hear the tune they hear on TV every week.  You'd think that Earl would have played it that way, just to give the people what they want.

Nov 4, 2020 - 10:06:35 AM

3536 posts since 3/28/2008

I wonder whether they did the TV version on short notice, and Earl's ideas about how he wanted to play it crystallized only gradually over time, resulting eventually in the Columbia/Carnegie Hall version.

Nov 5, 2020 - 11:05:58 PM

289 posts since 10/4/2018

Earl probably played along with the inflections of Jerry Scoggins' singing on the TV version. You will notice that after the vocals and the announcer guy says "The Beverly Hillbillies" the tempo picks up abruptly and then they play it exactly the same as how Lester and Earl played it on vinyl and live. I think the time signature changes a bit at that point from a 2/4 time to a 4/4 time, which is why Lester and Earl's vinyl version sounds different, They don't do the first part with a cut-time feel to it. Petticoat Junction is a pretty cool one to plck as well.

Edited by - Good Buddy on 11/05/2020 23:09:34

Nov 6, 2020 - 12:05:32 AM

289 posts since 10/4/2018

...or it could be that Jerry sang it with tons of bounce, and Lester didn't.

Nov 6, 2020 - 7:05:35 AM
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3536 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Good Buddy

Earl probably played along with the inflections of Jerry Scoggins' singing on the TV version. You will notice that after the vocals and the announcer guy says "The Beverly Hillbillies" the tempo picks up abruptly and then they play it exactly the same as how Lester and Earl played it on vinyl and live. I think the time signature changes a bit at that point from a 2/4 time to a 4/4 time, which is why Lester and Earl's vinyl version sounds different, They don't do the first part with a cut-time feel to it. Petticoat Junction is a pretty cool one to plck as well.


I was actually referring to the uptempo part, which starts around 0:34 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD22a4APsCg.

It's definitely NOT "exactly the same as how Lester and Earl played it on vinyl." Compare the TV version with what's in the Scruggs book. (The latter is a transcription of the vinyl version.) The TV version is different--pinches in different places, different rolls and note choices on the first D chord, no partial C# chord, and more.

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 11/06/2020 07:05:59

Nov 6, 2020 - 9:23:39 AM

289 posts since 10/4/2018

Well Ira, I guess when you're right you're right. They are definitely not EXACTLY the same as I wildly claim. In my mind I was thinking that they feel the same ( I should say similar) because of the tempo and lack of bounce. To me they were are the same in that sense. As far as lick or exact note choices, well that's just the nature of bluegrass picking. You choose different pinches, slides etc...on the fly. I don't think I would actually play anything EXACTLY like anyone else, but probably might figure out exactly what someone is doing to understand and learn from it. Then, play it how I feel at the time with the flavor of the original, not necessarily all the exact notes. But I do hang my head in shame and bow to your superior intellect.

To me, the essence between the differences of the two version is the first couple of vocal verses and not so much the instrumental parts. There is a huge difference in feel between the first few verses of the two versions that won't be corrected by simply adding pinches,  partial chords, slides, et cetera.

Edited by - Good Buddy on 11/06/2020 09:36:27

Nov 6, 2020 - 10:10:11 AM

2331 posts since 4/5/2006

Don Parmley (Bluegrass Cardinals) told me he had a hand in that. I'll just leave it at that because it's been a long time & I don't want to maybe mis quote what he said.

Nov 6, 2020 - 10:52:27 AM

3536 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Good Buddy

Well Ira, I guess when you're right you're right. They are definitely not EXACTLY the same as I wildly claim. In my mind I was thinking that they feel the same ( I should say similar) because of the tempo and lack of bounce. To me they were are the same in that sense. As far as lick or exact note choices, well that's just the nature of bluegrass picking. You choose different pinches, slides etc...on the fly. I don't think I would actually play anything EXACTLY like anyone else, but probably might figure out exactly what someone is doing to understand and learn from it. Then, play it how I feel at the time with the flavor of the original, not necessarily all the exact notes. But I do hang my head in shame and bow to your superior intellect.

To me, the essence between the differences of the two version is the first couple of vocal verses and not so much the instrumental parts. There is a huge difference in feel between the first few verses of the two versions that won't be corrected by simply adding pinches,  partial chords, slides, et cetera.


Well, yeah. I'm not even thinking about the slow portion, where Earl is playing backup but not lead. That is indeed a whole 'nother thing. As I mentioned above, both fast versions are typical of how he was playing in the early '60s, and comparable in feel. But when you consider how many of us banjo nerds pored over every lick, and every note in the Scruggs book tab--and for some of us, helped our students learn that exact arrangement--those differences can loom larger than they would to most listeners, eh?

Nov 6, 2020 - 10:56:32 AM

3536 posts since 3/28/2008

Hmmm, monstertone--I knew that Parmley had done incidental music in some episodes, but are you suggesting he may have played the slow part of the opening theme? I never listened closely to that before, but some things about it DON'T sound exactly Earl-like--like the way the banjo doubles the melody that the singer is singing. So maybe...?

Nov 6, 2020 - 12:54:22 PM
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6760 posts since 8/30/2004

I'd offer to chime in about this who did what and when but I'm afraid you'd accept. smiley Jack

Edited by - Jack Baker on 11/06/2020 12:56:25

Nov 6, 2020 - 1:49:33 PM
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6760 posts since 8/30/2004

All of this information appeared in BNL years ago. If you write to them, they'll probably help you with this info...J

Nov 7, 2020 - 11:51:55 AM

Tim13

USA

3157 posts since 4/1/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Good Buddy

 Petticoat Junction is a pretty cool one to plck as well.


I agree.  It's one of those tunes that's instantly recognizable to the older crowd. 

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