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Dec 5, 2020 - 9:38:27 AM
13 posts since 11/22/2020

Hi All,

This is great... (see YouTube link below)... but there seems, right from the beginning, that there are notes I am missing that are not in the tab. (My rendition seems to be the same but half as "busy". Where can I find the extra notes. (Are these drone notes?). Or otherwise, what is going on? I want to sound like this.

Thanks for any advice and wisdom.



Dec 5, 2020 - 10:05:41 AM
likes this
Players Union Member



5374 posts since 10/12/2009

Hard to surmise without hearing your version to compare to the youtube video you posted

Dec 5, 2020 - 10:13:19 AM

Alex Z


4045 posts since 12/7/2006

And post the tab that you are working from, too.

Dec 5, 2020 - 1:50:04 PM

13 posts since 11/22/2020

This is the tab I have been using

Dec 5, 2020 - 2:14:28 PM

13 posts since 11/22/2020

Here is a recording of me playing the main phrase. (I have been playing only two weeks).

Edited by - Josephpetrie on 12/05/2020 14:18:53

Dec 5, 2020 - 2:39:16 PM

13 posts since 11/22/2020

Dec 5, 2020 - 2:56:47 PM

44 posts since 5/21/2020

Check this out see if it helps.

Dec 5, 2020 - 3:09:36 PM



3750 posts since 6/17/2003

Originally posted by Josephpetrie
Originally posted by Josephpetrie

Hi All,

This is great... (see YouTube link below)... but there seems, right from the beginning, that there are notes I am missing that are not in the tab. (My rendition seems to be the same but half as "busy". Where can I find the extra notes. (Are these drone notes?). Or otherwise, what is going on? I want to sound like this.

This is the tab I have been using


Looking at the tab, if you'd really be playing what's written there, you'd be very close to what you're hearing her play.  I don't see any missing notes in that tab...

I must say, it's brave for her  to publish, as she sounds like a beginning player to me. Meanwhile, she might be playing circles around most of us, I don't know...

Listen how she's sometimes rushing where things are easy and slowing down at the harder bits in the rhythm. I was like that too, some 45 years ago...wink  I wouldn't take that as an example to work up to.

If you really want to hear how it's supposed to be played, listen to the Master himself, where he is explaining a bit and slowing it down to a walking pace:

By the way there is no audio file of you playing... EDIT: Now there is... Ive speeded it up to double speed, checked it and it sounds pretty close. Well done!yes

Speed will come with time. Don't rush ahead of yourself...

Also, your banjo hardly has any sustain, so the spaces at a slow speed could be making it all sound worse than it really is...

Try this tab too, you can slow it down for hearing every note individually:

Edited by - RB-1 on 12/05/2020 15:23:18

Dec 5, 2020 - 7:23:58 PM

2337 posts since 5/2/2012

Just wanted to point out that there are many different arrangements of Cripple Creek in the Learn setion of the HO. Yours is just another arrangement, which is OK.

Dec 5, 2020 - 8:48:49 PM

14 posts since 6/12/2014

you need a backward roll to keep from the chopy sound, joe

Dec 6, 2020 - 4:32:54 AM

101 posts since 1/7/2019

Here is another video that adds some variations to Cripple Creek. I can definitely hear some of what she is doing in this lesson.


Dec 6, 2020 - 8:37:09 AM



3750 posts since 6/17/2003

About suggestions for different arrangements.

The best way of learning my original tunes would not be learning other peoples arrangements, would it?.

Why would this be different for one of Scruggs' signature tunes?

Of course I can write you a tab with my wonderful explorations in Cripple Creek.

But it's not going to help you in these first stages.

Forget about her too, if you want a start in Bluegrass Banjo, its Scruggs you're after.

Take the original soundfile (which is in A) -if you must, "re tune" it to G-, get the original tab (what you're having there is pretty close already) and start from there.

Dec 6, 2020 - 8:39:03 AM



3750 posts since 6/17/2003

Originally posted by joe stone

you need a backward roll to keep from the chopy sound, joe

Show me that backward roll in Earl's Cripple Creek....

Dec 6, 2020 - 10:02:13 AM



885 posts since 4/12/2004

If you haven't done so already, I would suggest that you purchase a computer based tablature program. Tabledit is the most popular program used by Banjo Hangout members.

The tablature you referenced that was authored by Ben Freed is the same as the arrangement included in the Earl Scruggs instruction book. It's the basic arrangement of the song as played by Earl Scruggs on the seminal Foggy Mountain Banjo album.

A computerized tablature program such as Tabledit will allow you to enter the Ben Freed arrangement into the program and then you'll be able to use the playback feature of the program to hear how the arrangement should sound. You can then compare it to your own performance to help you evaluate the changes you need to make. The tablature playback feature also allows you to repetitively playback isolated segments of the arrangement. That allows to concentrate on those parts of your performance where you're having problems.

Finally, you included a link to a YouTube video of a performance of the song and said "I want to sound like this". I mean no disrespect to the performer on that video, but I would suggest that you don't want to sound like that. You want to sound like this: Cripple Creek

Edited by - RB3 on 12/06/2020 10:03:47

Dec 6, 2020 - 10:57:45 AM



885 posts since 4/12/2004

I once heard Joe Stone playin' Cripple Creek on the beach in Fort Lauderdale during spring break in 1967. I didn't know him at the time, but I remember that something didn't sound right. He must have been using a backward roll.

Dec 6, 2020 - 6:03:17 PM
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962 posts since 2/17/2006

I find that slavishly adhering to tab is boring. I use it to work up the basic tune and chord sequence. Then I add the decorations myself. The decorations consist of slides, hammerons, and pulloffs to add notes. A lot of the notes in bluegrass are played from arpeggiated chords as well.

I think that half the fun of playing the banjo is taking a basic tune and arranging it myself. Even Earl said that he never played a tune the same way twice.

A simple exercise is to take a really simple tune, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and figure out the basic melody. Then come up with as many original variations that you can think of. It is great fun.

Dec 8, 2020 - 3:47:06 AM

3797 posts since 12/6/2009

In bluegrass there is no right way wrong way. Each musician plays what he /she hears and then plays what they alone want it to sound like. I doubt very much that pro banjo player’s worry about who did what past the basic would be boring if everyone worried about right from wrong. Earl Scruggs’s uniqueness was his way as is Doug Dillard or etc. The attraction of bluegrass and what keeps the music forever repeated without being boring or old is this unique surprise when someone creates something unheard of before. We would have to have a stop and go life time of videos to copy note for note what Earl Scruggs or any of our favorite pickers are doing…..and maybe two life times as they do not play the same thing twice the exact same way.
Earl Scruggs did things sometimes on the fly we’d have to be uncanny dedicated to try and copy…. impossible…..I offer this YouTube as an example,
Just keep in mind playing banjo or any bluegrass instrument (including singing) is not a copycat journey. It is a unique art form. Unique in the same way a poet or painter should not be copied line for line…..IMHO
What notes am I missing? Just practice the ones you have make them flow with the rhythm.

Dec 8, 2020 - 7:33:03 AM

2397 posts since 2/10/2013

I think that the author of the post is expecting too much too soon. If someone has only played for two weeks, they probably aren't playing the basic rolls decently. I would get software like "The Amazing Slow Downer" or "Transcribe", slow the music down, and play along with the music.

It helps if a complete novice has a qualified banjo instructor watch them play and offer constructive criticism. DO NOT LEARN MISTAKES. It takes much, much longer to relearn how to do something correctly. If a person is starting out, something like Geoff Hohwald's "Banjo Primer" book/CD uses simple versions of tunes which familiarize one with commonly used basic rolls.

One other thing. It takes time to strengthen the muscles in the picking hand. Use something like a "gripmaster" to build up the strength in your fingers and hand. When I started I kept wondering why I could not get the "right" sound. I was "hitting" all the right notes and my timing was O.K.. Over months and years my sound improved and I realized what the problem was. So be patient. Some things will naturally disappear with time and experience.

Edited by - Richard Hauser on 12/08/2020 07:34:16

Dec 14, 2020 - 7:34:45 PM

Banjo Lefty


2095 posts since 6/19/2014

I am reminded of an old western starring Raquel Welch and Robert Culp -- the name of the movie escapes me just now -- in which Culp is the experienced gunfighter who has been asked to teach the delectable Ms. Welch how to shoot. She wants to learn it all at once, pulling her gun out of the holster as quickly as she can and firing wildly in the direction of the target. Culp stops her, has her slow right down, tells her to take deliberate aim, and says: "Right comes first. Fast comes later."

Banjo (or any musical instrument, really) is exactly the same, only without Raquel.

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