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Aug 14, 2021 - 11:14:49 AM
46 posts since 3/7/2011

I just got a wonderful new Ode banjo and " clawhammer from scratch " book bt Dan Levenson.
He starts the aspiring student out right away on " double C " tuning right away , rather than standard G tuning. What are you all's thoughts on this and his method book?

TIA.

Aug 14, 2021 - 11:36:51 AM
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129 posts since 6/5/2006
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That’s what I would recommend. Double C and G modal provide more open strings so it’s where you will eventually end up.
Dan is a great source for learning. Take advantage of YouTube too.

Aug 14, 2021 - 11:46 AM
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2703 posts since 12/31/2005

Double C is a great tuning for clawhammer. The Lynn Morris videos from Murphy Method are based mostly on Double C. Watching the correct way to play is very valuable, especially if you don't have a teacher.

Aug 14, 2021 - 12:03:33 PM
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2170 posts since 1/21/2003
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Double C is my favorite tuning. I like to create my own compositions and find that when noodling around in Double C they almost write themselves. G modal (aka Sawmill, Mountain Modal) is also a favorite and can give a different feeling sound.

Aug 14, 2021 - 12:08:25 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

25208 posts since 6/25/2005

If you want to play fiddle tunes, that’s my recommended book to start with. Very mainstream. Some players, like Walt Koken, use standard C (capoed or tuned up) for D tunes, but the vast majority us double C Levenson’s approach, with three different levels for a limited number of tunes, is excellent. Master the material in that book/CD set and you’ll be easily able to work your way into and through G tuning, D tuning, and their offshoots.

Aug 14, 2021 - 12:21:14 PM
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129 posts since 6/5/2006
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The first thing to do is listen to Dan’s version of a tune until you have it memorized. Avoid becoming a slave to tabs.

Aug 14, 2021 - 2:28:25 PM
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Emiel

Austria

9957 posts since 1/22/2003

In old-time banjo, open-G tuning is not "standard-G tuning". It's just some tuning…; one you should also practice. Nothing, however, against starting out with double-C tuning (also called two-C tuning).

Aug 14, 2021 - 2:44:13 PM
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Paul R

Canada

14989 posts since 1/28/2010

You're beginning with a good teaching source. I started off with G, but was given double-C/D pretty much right away. I mostly play in double-C/D, especially accompaniment I work out for songs. Starting off with double-C is fine, but you will have to learn tunes in a variety of tunings as you become more proficient.

Aug 14, 2021 - 3:33:18 PM
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46 posts since 3/7/2011

Looks like I have a lot to learn! Thank you for the good advice! I feel more encouraged by Dan's methodology now!

Aug 14, 2021 - 3:36:28 PM

46 posts since 3/7/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

If you want to play fiddle tunes, that’s my recommended book to start with. Very mainstream. Some players, like Walt Koken, use standard C (capoed or tuned up) for D tunes, but the vast majority us double C Levenson’s approach, with three different levels for a limited number of tunes, is excellent. Master the material in that book/CD set and you’ll be easily able to work your way into and through G tuning, D tuning, and their offshoots.

I did not get CD's with the book but did download the audio files taht come with it, feeling more confidant now! Thanks!


Aug 14, 2021 - 5:14:23 PM
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6019 posts since 3/11/2006

Dan's materials are top-notch.

I like the Double-C approach.
The gDGBD tuning being somewhat related
to the guitar tuning can lead one down a chord-based
approach- something you don't neccessarily want in traditional
clawhammer if that's your thing.

Aug 15, 2021 - 6:25:38 AM
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R Buck

USA

2985 posts since 9/5/2006

A fine place to start and grow from, go, play, you got this thing.

Aug 16, 2021 - 3:02:52 AM
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Bill H

USA

1727 posts since 11/7/2010

Much of old time music is based on fiddle tunes, and tunes in D and A are very prevalent. Becoming familiar with double C (double D) tuning is very important in traditional music. When I was learning I also spent time learning chords in G tuning which is useful for sitting in on jams that are not old time--which are fairly rare in my neighborhood. Learning chords is also useful if you want to play and sing.

Aug 16, 2021 - 6:07:13 AM
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DC5

USA

20375 posts since 6/30/2015
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I go to a weekly fiddle jam and I bring 2 banjos so I'm not holding things up re-tuning. One tuned to double C, capoed up to D and one open G, usually capoed up to A. I play the double C more than the G. Fiddle tunes are mostly in D, A, or G.

Aug 16, 2021 - 12:27:41 PM
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6019 posts since 3/11/2006

Pete Seeger started folks with gCGBD, but in later years commented he probably would have chosen gDGBD in retrospect. I've noticed a tendency for lots of folks starting in gDGBD to get stuck there and never employ the other tunings ( especially gDGCD, gCGCD)- a real drawback.

I also think that starting out in gCGCD might prevent one from getting stuck in one tuning. Dan is one of the first/only instructors I know of that starts folks in Double-C. gDGBD has been the usual starting place.

Aug 16, 2021 - 5:49:48 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

25208 posts since 6/25/2005

All of us are pretty much assuming that you want to play fiddle tunes in an Appalachian style of some sort. That’s why double-c. If, OTOH, you want to play and sing “folk songs” similar to Pete Seeger, G-tuning (gDGBD) might be better precisely because it does lend itself to chords.

Aug 29, 2021 - 7:00:13 AM

46 posts since 3/7/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

All of us are pretty much assuming that you want to play fiddle tunes in an Appalachian style of some sort. That’s why double-c. If, OTOH, you want to play and sing “folk songs” similar to Pete Seeger, G-tuning (gDGBD) might be better precisely because it does lend itself to chords.


Not a huge fan of chords honestly, I have always ,with any instrument I was trying to learn, preferred to finger out individual notes rather than making chords. Thanks for all the input! Dan's book is so far what I am using and making a bit of progress with.

Aug 29, 2021 - 7:02:33 AM

46 posts since 3/7/2011

As a follow up to this thread, if I may? Further in to Dan's wonderful book, he goes to 'Double D" tuning, IE capo up 2 frets or re-tune the banjo. Is there any good reason I can not leave the instrument as it is and practice these in Double C ?

Aug 29, 2021 - 7:45:36 AM
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Emiel

Austria

9957 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by instrumental57

As a follow up to this thread, if I may? Further in to Dan's wonderful book, he goes to 'Double D" tuning, IE capo up 2 frets or re-tune the banjo. Is there any good reason I can not leave the instrument as it is and practice these in Double C ?


You can practice them just as well in double-C. Reasons for the capo could be:

  • You want to play with a fiddler who doesn't like the key of C, but loves the key of D.
  • You want to sing to your playing and the key of C is too low for your voice.
Aug 29, 2021 - 12:21:35 PM
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Emiel

Austria

9957 posts since 1/22/2003

A third/fourth reason would be: the tune sounds nicer in D, or the banjo performs nicer sounding a bit higher…

Aug 30, 2021 - 4:14:10 AM
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Jelle

Netherlands

238 posts since 5/28/2012

Double C is the way to go for clawhammer in my opinion. The learning curve is way steeper for open G, because it never sounds quite right, especially in the beginning. It took me about three years to figure that out.. Stroke a c major chord on a perfectly tuned banjo in double C and I promise you'll be sold!

Aug 30, 2021 - 7:57:40 AM
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46 posts since 3/7/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Emiel

A third/fourth reason would be: the tune sounds nicer in D, or the banjo performs nicer sounding a bit higher…


I am so fortunate that I stumbled upon, and purchased a one of a kind, brand new Ode "limited edition"  12" open back made by Charles Ogsbury of Ome banjo's , supposedly made from parts he was trying to use up to facilitate introduction of 2 new Ode models. I put on  a set of Ernie Ball Earthwood Frailing Banjo strings and It sounds absolutely amazing anywhere on the neck I play.

Aug 30, 2021 - 7:59:05 AM
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46 posts since 3/7/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Jelle

Double C is the way to go for clawhammer in my opinion. The learning curve is way steeper for open G, because it never sounds quite right, especially in the beginning. It took me about three years to figure that out.. Stroke a c major chord on a perfectly tuned banjo in double C and I promise you'll be sold!


Great Avitar! I'm a big cat lover!

Sep 1, 2021 - 4:49:17 PM
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6019 posts since 3/11/2006

quote:
Originally posted by instrumental57

 Is there any good reason I can not leave the instrument as it is and practice these in Double C ?


None at all.  In fact, left to my own preferences, I actually tune flat.  I think it gives the banjo a fuller sound when playing solo. One reason you may want to play with a capo at the second fret is because when playing with a fiddler ("D" tunes), that is how you'll be playing and it will help you get used to the fret markers and location of the 5th string peg.

Of course you could also tune to aDADE when playing with a fiddler in "D".

Edited by - R.D. Lunceford on 09/01/2021 16:51:02

Sep 2, 2021 - 8:29:49 AM
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312 posts since 4/10/2018

R.D.: how flat do you tune? Is it consistent? Thanks.

Sep 2, 2021 - 1:22:34 PM
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6019 posts since 3/11/2006

paco0909

Clint;
I set my tuner to A=422, and tune down one fret.
I just kept playing around with the pitch until I found
where I liked my banjo tuned the best.

As I say, I mostly play solo these days so I'm free to tune wherever I like.

Each instrument will respond differently and have a particular pitch it likes best.

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