Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

688
Banjo Lovers Online


Jan 21, 2021 - 7:53:41 PM

Bowser

USA

50 posts since 12/30/2020

Guys i was hoping you could help. I'm a little confused and cant figure this out, probably because I'm very new.

This applies to the written tabs for foggy mtn brkdown in the book Earl Scruggs and the five string banjo. I figure quite a few of you have this book.

1st question: So Ive watched Jim pankeys tutorial on this song as well as two other youtubers. They give the same tablature that's in the book, almost note for note, for the first five lines of the song. (basically the first page in earls book). Literally all of them say this is the entire song in their video. What confuses me is its not the entire song. There's 3 more pages of what looks like much more complicated tablature where the player spends time down between the 14 and 21st frets.

The first page is easy. I don't need help there. I need help on the complicated stuff but in each of their videos they act like it doesn't exist??? Its clearly part of the song. Its an epic song and I'd like to learn it in its entirety.

2nd question. At the end of the first page on the fifth line it says 1. 2. 1st break section 3.. On the second page is says 2nd break. On the 3rd page it says 2nd break section 2 and so on.
My question is, is all of this in order or is there some skipping around i have to do to be able to play the song in order, the way you would hear it normally

Im new so i dont really know what the different sections and breaks mean.

My LAST question. I notice further into the song the tablature is quite different from the first page but when played it sounds almost identical to the first five lines in page 1.

Ive noticed this actually in other songs as well. Its like the way its played changes but ultimately its making the same sound. What is the point of this. It kind of seems redundant to learn completely new stuff to make the same sound.

I can see why jim and the other youtubers left parts like those out because it doesn't seem like it changes how the song actually sounds. I still don't understand why they left very noticeable sections of the song out. I found it odd that multiple videos did this.

Again, if i play the lines from start to finish in the book is that the correct order of the song? I have the first page down really well thanks to the YouTube videos, however I'm slowly stumbling along with the stuff at the higher frets. Thats the stuff that makes the song sound so badass though.

Thank you for your time.

Jan 22, 2021 - 2:49:25 AM
likes this

3518 posts since 7/12/2006

For starters find up the neck chord positions . Thats where the licks for these breaks will be found. Get used to them. They will be the foundations for all the fancy stuff thats up there. Even if you just roll through those chord positions even though it wont sound lick oriented youll still hear things that may sound familiar

Edited by - stanleytone on 01/22/2021 02:50:01

Jan 22, 2021 - 3:12:40 AM

568 posts since 9/6/2019

Most of the Jim Pankey and Bill Nesbitt videos that have tabs usually only give you the first break. They do the same thing in Earl's Breakdown, Cripple Creek and several others. Bill Nesbitt does have a video for FMB up the neck where he teaches you the high part. You'll also notice that Jim and Bill play many of the songs a bit different. Same basic song but slightly different notes, and most don't match Earl's tabs. Jim said in one of his videos he just wants to get you playing the song and then you can play with it and figure out some of the other stuff.

Also, make sure you read where Earl tells you how to read the tabs. They do jump around a little because after you finish one section it may take you back to the top of the page or back to the beginning of the break. There are symbols, I can't remember exactly what they are, but he describes them and tells you what they mean in the tabs.

Jan 22, 2021 - 3:59:23 AM
like this

61 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Bowser

Guys i was hoping you could help. I'm a little confused and cant figure this out, probably because I'm very new.

This applies to the written tabs for foggy mtn brkdown in the book Earl Scruggs and the five string banjo. I figure quite a few of you have this book.

1st question: So Ive watched Jim pankeys tutorial on this song as well as two other youtubers. They give the same tablature that's in the book, almost note for note, for the first five lines of the song. (basically the first page in earls book). Literally all of them say this is the entire song in their video. What confuses me is its not the entire song. There's 3 more pages of what looks like much more complicated tablature where the player spends time down between the 14 and 21st frets.

The first page is easy. I don't need help there. I need help on the complicated stuff but in each of their videos they act like it doesn't exist??? Its clearly part of the song. Its an epic song and I'd like to learn it in its entirety.

2nd question. At the end of the first page on the fifth line it says 1. 2. 1st break section 3.. On the second page is says 2nd break. On the 3rd page it says 2nd break section 2 and so on.
My question is, is all of this in order or is there some skipping around i have to do to be able to play the song in order, the way you would hear it normally

Im new so i dont really know what the different sections and breaks mean.

My LAST question. I notice further into the song the tablature is quite different from the first page but when played it sounds almost identical to the first five lines in page 1.

Ive noticed this actually in other songs as well. Its like the way its played changes but ultimately its making the same sound. What is the point of this. It kind of seems redundant to learn completely new stuff to make the same sound.

I can see why jim and the other youtubers left parts like those out because it doesn't seem like it changes how the song actually sounds. I still don't understand why they left very noticeable sections of the song out. I found it odd that multiple videos did this.

Again, if i play the lines from start to finish in the book is that the correct order of the song? I have the first page down really well thanks to the YouTube videos, however I'm slowly stumbling along with the stuff at the higher frets. Thats the stuff that makes the song sound so badass though.

Thank you for your time.


Also may help to listen to Earl's original recording 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Y3mnj-8lA

Jan 22, 2021 - 4:49:52 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

25466 posts since 8/3/2003

You will find that Earl seldom played any break exactly the same every time he played. That's not unusual, a lot of banjo players improvise on a melody.

Most beginner instruction books only give one version of a song to learn. Why? Because the other versions are usually more difficult for beginners and might be daunting and confusing. Earl's book didn't make any distinction between beginner and advanced and that makes it difficult for newbies.

Sometimes in an entire version of a song there are several versions, one that is on the low sounding strings (1 - 5 usually), another that goes up the neck in the 7 to 10 area and another that moves up to the 12 to 15 area. (Those are generalities and not to be taken as a rules you have to follow).

And how many times you play a break in a song depends on the band, the arrangement, the time and the decision of the band members. Normally, a banjo player will get to play one break in a song (usually in the lower register, but not always) and maybe another break up the neck. If the banjo is the main player in a song, then there may be several, breaks. No rules as to how many breaks one can have.

As far as correct order, the only time there's a correct order is in fiddle tunes where they have an A and B part, maybe a C part and, in order for the song to sound as it should, one needs to play the song in a certain order. Other instrumentals don't usually have any concrete rules as to what order the instrumental is played. Vocal tunes normally have a verse and chorus in that order, but again, that can change and have the chorus start first.

Confused? I remember being confused when I was first learning, too. With time, practice and experience, it will all seem normal.

Jan 22, 2021 - 6:49:03 AM

Bowser

USA

50 posts since 12/30/2020

At the bottom of the book it mentions it's the tablature for the version of the song earl scruggs and friends 2001 - foggy mtn breakdown.

Ive been listening to it and that version is a little slower than the original but still fast enough that I have trouble keeping track. I think I'll slow it down and go through the tablature at the same time to see exactly where he's going with it.

I just want to learn to play the whole song. I want to learn the song so incredibly bad that even as a beginner its not daunting im just taking it one line at a time. Everyday it comes together a little more.

Jan 22, 2021 - 8:23:11 AM
like this

3661 posts since 3/28/2008

When Jim says he's showing you "the entire song" he means he's showing you what jazz players would call "the form": once through the basic structure of the tune.

For example, a lot of fiddle tunes have A parts and B parts, and once through the basic structure there would usually be twice through each part: AABB. For a lot of old classic pop tunes (George Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc.) the "form" would be AABA.

But in actual performance the musicians repeat that form many times, with different instruments taking the lead, and with each player introducing variations to keep things interesting.

"Foggy Mountain Breakdown" has the simplest possible form: one part, no repetition. So you could say that once you've learned those 16 measures, you know the whole tune, and everything else is just variations. (Somehow this reminds me of the old legend about the great rabbi Hillel boiling down the entire Bible to the Golden Rule: "This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary. Now go study.")

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 01/22/2021 08:25:37

Jan 23, 2021 - 4:50:57 PM
Players Union Member

spini

USA

399 posts since 9/10/2014

How new are you? Can you play Cripple Creek, Cumberland Gap some others that build you up to FMB? Or are you starting with FMB?

Edited by - spini on 01/23/2021 16:51:31

Jan 24, 2021 - 8:09:22 AM

Bowser

USA

50 posts since 12/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by spini

How new are you? Can you play Cripple Creek, Cumberland Gap some others that build you up to FMB? Or are you starting with FMB?


I have a few different versions of Cripple creek that i can play pretty well now. Then i learned Banjo in the Hollow, Boil Dem Cabbage down, john henry, you are my sunshine. I have these songs down pretty good. Each of these songs i actually have a couple different tab versions that i mess around with. For instance ill practice jim pankeys version for banjo in the hollow and ross Nickersons version. 

I watched and transcribed jims video of Blackberry blossom yesterday. I WAS already practicing ross nicks version of it but i like Jims better because it taught me some new stuff. I have it all memorized and can play it through but it still sounds pretty rough.

Im making good progress on FMB. I can play the main body of it pretty fluently. Every once in a while ill get a run that sounds pretty Allright. 

I have a couple of the breaks memorized now, just need to work on smoothing it out. I'm getting there. My timing is non existant though. I need to slow the song down. 

Edited by - Bowser on 01/24/2021 08:19:14

Jan 24, 2021 - 8:34:12 AM

conic

England

851 posts since 2/15/2014

When I started pickin I had trouble with this also  until I came across Richard Dress and it was a lightbulb moment.

Here he shows the relationship between UTN and DTN, he was such a great picker. Also watching his other forward roll videos changed my picking overnight, I found I could improvise to pretty much any song once you know what Ira Giltlin mentioned above "the form"
 

&;

Jan 24, 2021 - 3:08:07 PM

Bowser

USA

50 posts since 12/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by conic

When I started pickin I had trouble with this also  until I came across Richard Dress and it was a lightbulb moment.

Here he shows the relationship between UTN and DTN, he was such a great picker. Also watching his other forward roll videos changed my picking overnight, I found I could improvise to pretty much any song once you know what Ira Giltlin mentioned above "the form"
 

&;


Hey brother, maybe you could help me understand this video a bit better. He says, "the same pattern you know, works up the neck, too". Is he talking about 5215?

What pattern or roll is he referring too. I mean as far as i can tell most lines are different. The second line of the form starts off with 35313, then the eminor stuff and the g lick and the third line starts off with 35213. The eminor stuff is different by a few notes. Its like every line of the entire song changes by a few notes.

 I noticed in a lot of areas i can simplify it a little and it still sounds basically the same. 

Right now I've got the form memorized and all of the first break and 2nd break section 2 memorized. I have them memorized individually though. I can sail right through the form and into the first break it gets a little rocky but im still remembering it all and then i start forgetting notes by the time i get to the end of the 1st break. Even though i can play through the 1st and 2nd breaks just fine if im doing them by themselves. Its like my brain starts telling me when it hits its limit for how much it wants to memorize in a given day, lol. Its okay. Each day i can tell I'm keeping more of it and making more progress.

Thats why i feel like if i can simplify it slightly it would help. I'd like to understand what hes talking about in the video though.

Btw, i have this newest edition of Earl scruggs book if that makes a difference. 

Edited by - Bowser on 01/24/2021 15:09:21

Jan 24, 2021 - 7:03:17 PM

100 posts since 9/23/2019

I'm going to say it: I think you're diving into the deep end of the pool way too soon. I think there are a good many "standards" that you should work on before tackling Foggy Mountain Breakdown.

Granted, I'm a very slow and methodical worker, but I've been learning banjo for over a year and I have yet to look at FMB. Part of that is that it's just too fast to play cleanly and have it actually sound like FMB. The other part is that as listen to Scruggs, Reno, Stanley, etc... I'm finding solos that just seem more interesting to play.

Jan 24, 2021 - 8:28:59 PM

Bowser

USA

50 posts since 12/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by szbassoon

I'm going to say it: I think you're diving into the deep end of the pool way too soon. I think there are a good many "standards" that you should work on before tackling Foggy Mountain Breakdown.

Granted, I'm a very slow and methodical worker, but I've been learning banjo for over a year and I have yet to look at FMB. Part of that is that it's just too fast to play cleanly and have it actually sound like FMB. The other part is that as listen to Scruggs, Reno, Stanley, etc... I'm finding solos that just seem more interesting to play.


I know your baseing your opinion off of where you "think" I should be at skill level wise. FMB is the song i want to learn. Its one of the reasons i decided i want a banjo. Something about hearing that song set something off in my head. Well, i love bluegrass so theres a lot of songs i like but that one really set me off and because my enthusiasm is so high i WILL learn it fast and well.

You know how there are those people in the world that are just good at EVERYTHING that they do. I am one of them. Its called talent. Its just how it is brother. We're not all created equal, and that's OKAY. 

Sorry brother I'm not trying to sound harsh at all. Just explaining how i feel. Honestly if you had the same enthusiasm for the song or looked at it like i do you probably wouldve tackled it sooner. You just had other songs that you wanted to get to first. Its all relative.

The song is challenging of course, but not at all out of my reach. I feel like im kicking so much ass with it though. I already have the vast majority of the song set to memory. For a beginner i can play parts of it well. Well enough to make me happy. So what if it doesnt sound exactly as earl scruggs played it. As long as I'm happy with the sounds the banjo is making then it's all groovy. Not to mention its just fun to play and its teaching me things. Those little 8-9 and 14-15, and 17-20 slides are so awesome. At first i was like whoaaa. After hours and hours of doing just those lines im smoking right through them now. Its friggin fun man. I haven't had a discouraging moment yet.

After rereading your post it really seems like you think i should have held off on the song simply because YOU weren't ready for it yet. Even after a year of practice.

Also i have two other songs and excercises and stuff i dedicate time to. Its not like i just sit there and soley work on fmb, even though parts of me want to only do that lol. 

Also its not like I'm sitting down for 30 minutes at a time. Every day i put 4-7 hours in. I have a high capacity for practice and I get good at things fast.

One thing I'm not skilled at is making coherent posts. Thats besides the point. 

Edited by - Bowser on 01/24/2021 20:44:31

Jan 25, 2021 - 7:14:34 AM

3661 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Bowser
quote:
Originally posted by szbassoon

I'm going to say it: I think you're diving into the deep end of the pool way too soon. I think there are a good many "standards" that you should work on before tackling Foggy Mountain Breakdown.

Granted, I'm a very slow and methodical worker, but I've been learning banjo for over a year and I have yet to look at FMB. Part of that is that it's just too fast to play cleanly and have it actually sound like FMB. The other part is that as listen to Scruggs, Reno, Stanley, etc... I'm finding solos that just seem more interesting to play.


I know your baseing your opinion off of where you "think" I should be at skill level wise. FMB is the song i want to learn. Its one of the reasons i decided i want a banjo. Something about hearing that song set something off in my head. Well, i love bluegrass so theres a lot of songs i like but that one really set me off and because my enthusiasm is so high i WILL learn it fast and well.

You know how there are those people in the world that are just good at EVERYTHING that they do. I am one of them. Its called talent. Its just how it is brother. We're not all created equal, and that's OKAY. 

Sorry brother I'm not trying to sound harsh at all. Just explaining how i feel. Honestly if you had the same enthusiasm for the song or looked at it like i do you probably wouldve tackled it sooner. You just had other songs that you wanted to get to first. Its all relative.

The song is challenging of course, but not at all out of my reach. I feel like im kicking so much ass with it though. I already have the vast majority of the song set to memory. For a beginner i can play parts of it well. Well enough to make me happy. So what if it doesnt sound exactly as earl scruggs played it. As long as I'm happy with the sounds the banjo is making then it's all groovy. Not to mention its just fun to play and its teaching me things. Those little 8-9 and 14-15, and 17-20 slides are so awesome. At first i was like whoaaa. After hours and hours of doing just those lines im smoking right through them now. Its friggin fun man. I haven't had a discouraging moment yet.

After rereading your post it really seems like you think i should have held off on the song simply because YOU weren't ready for it yet. Even after a year of practice.

Also i have two other songs and excercises and stuff i dedicate time to. Its not like i just sit there and soley work on fmb, even though parts of me want to only do that lol. 

Also its not like I'm sitting down for 30 minutes at a time. Every day i put 4-7 hours in. I have a high capacity for practice and I get good at things fast.

One thing I'm not skilled at is making coherent posts. Thats besides the point. 


I understand where you're coming from. My suggestion is, keep working on it if you find that fulfilling, and as long as you understand that it may be quite a while before you really get it sounding good.

BUT--and this is the important part, which should apply to any tune or break that you learn--see what lessons "FMBD" has to teach you. As a relative newcomer to bluegrass banjo, you should regard every new tune as vocabulary and grammar lesson. What right-hand patterns, licks, and phrases does it contain? Where else in your playing can you use those elements? 

For example, measures 13-16 of "FMBD" (beginning with that low D) are a way to fill up two measures of D, resolving to two measures of G. As you may have recognized, that's the second-most common last line in all of bluegrass. So if you're playing "Blue Ridge Cabin Home" or "Lonesome Road Blues", if you can find your way to the low D at the beginning of the last line of your break (or in backup, too, for that matter), you can use that entire phrase.

Or how about that measure right before the E-minor chord, where you pivot from forward to backward when your middle finger picks the first string? That's a move that positions your thumb to pick the fourth strung at the end of that measure, which yit could do if you kept rolling forward. (You probably noticed that the same right-hand move occurs in the "tag lick".)

Please forgive me if I'm belaboring point that you've already considered, but this is the kind of stuff I try to make sure my beginner students understand, and it's how I look at new material that I learn.

Jan 25, 2021 - 7:42:16 AM

phb

Germany

2430 posts since 11/8/2010

FMB is in no way more difficult than other bluegrass banjo standards. It is a collection of licks that you will find in thousands of bluegrass arrangements. The only difficulty is the speed it should be played at and it needs to sound good.

A lot of us started just like you. I know I did. I heard FMB and bought a banjo. Ten years later I still can't play it well enough but that doesn't mean you won't be able to pull it off much quicker.

Jan 25, 2021 - 8:50:32 AM
likes this

Bowser

USA

50 posts since 12/30/2020

 

I understand where you're coming from. My suggestion is, keep working on it if you find that fulfilling, and as long as you understand that it may be quite a while before you really get it sounding good.

BUT--and this is the important part, which should apply to any tune or break that you learn--see what lessons "FMBD" has to teach you. As a relative newcomer to bluegrass banjo, you should regard every new tune as vocabulary and grammar lesson. What right-hand patterns, licks, and phrases does it contain? Where else in your playing can you use those elements? 

For example, measures 13-16 of "FMBD" (beginning with that low D) are a way to fill up two measures of D, resolving to two measures of G. As you may have recognized, that's the second-most common last line in all of bluegrass. So if you're playing "Blue Ridge Cabin Home" or "Lonesome Road Blues", if you can find your way to the low D at the beginning of the last line of your break (or in backup, too, for that matter), you can use that entire phrase.

Or how about that measure right before the E-minor chord, where you pivot from forward to backward when your middle finger picks the first string? That's a move that positions your thumb to pick the fourth strung at the end of that measure, which yit could do if you kept rolling forward. (You probably noticed that the same right-hand move occurs in the "tag lick".)

Please forgive me if I'm belaboring point that you've already considered, but this is the kind of stuff I try to make sure my beginner students understand, and it's how I look at new material that I learn.


Thanks for the information, Ira. I will definitely make sure to pay attention to what I'm learning from it and how it can carry over to other songs. Thats kind of one of the reasons i enjoy working on it so much. I feel like im constantly learning new stuff.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.21875