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Dec 8, 2021 - 6:26:58 AM
5 posts since 11/6/2011

I'm looking for some 'up the neck etudes', especially breaks over songs (not instrumentals) based out of the sally Goodin Scruggs positions, to hang my hat on when improvising on songs.

So far I've transcribed and learned:

Jim Mills - Bound to Ride & Standing in the Need Of Prayer (second breaks respectively)
Scruggs - Foggy Mountain Special, Cumberland Gap (b part) and Sally Goodin
Stanley - Big Tilda, Mastertone March
Russ Carson - High On a Mountain

The above is great but I'd love to expand my knowledge of this mode of banjo playing. Solid down-home stuff is welcome. Earlier the better!

Live tape recommendations are especially welcome.

Bill Emerson, Terry Baucom, Earl Scruggs, early first and second-generation players.

Thanks banjo hangout!

Dec 8, 2021 - 6:41:29 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

26701 posts since 8/3/2003

If you're experienced enough to listen and transcribe what you hear, then you you should try working out breaks on your own rather than just parroting someone else. It isn't that difficult. If you know the chord sequence to any vocal and can play the down the neck part, then you should be able to move it up the neck and work out a break. If you want to use that Sally Goodin' fingering, you can usually substitute the Em up the neck for a G and Am up the neck for a C and that will give you 2 chords that you can use to noodle around with.

Try it. It's fun to make your own breaks and will get easier as you get more experience doing your own thing.

Dec 8, 2021 - 6:46:33 AM

127 posts since 2/7/2020

Flatt & Scruggs "Salty Dog Blues" second half of first break: youtu.be/mVLFPM7JLxw?t=40

Stanley Brothers "How Mountain Girls Can Love" second break: youtu.be/QrqhZxvsxTs?t=98

Dec 8, 2021 - 7:18:32 AM
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4015 posts since 3/28/2008

A lot of banjo tunes are actually structured like songs, with four eight-beat-long lines. That's different from fiddle tunes (like "Sally Goodin", "Cripple Creek", etc.), which are usually made up of four-beat-long phrases. So an up-the-neck break for a banjo tune like "Lonesome Road Blues" (which started out as a song anyway) or "Bugle Call Rag" (to use to well-known Scruggs examples) will show you a lot that you can use on songs, too.

"How Mountain Girls Can Love" is a good one, but beware--or just be aware--that Ralph does many things that Scruggs-Crowe trained players won't expect. I transcribed both the high and the low breaks for that about 20 years ago, and found several surprises!

Dec 8, 2021 - 7:37:05 AM
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5 posts since 11/6/2011

Ira Gitlin earlstanleycrowe Thanks for the responses , I kinda wore out those ones already, looking for some unusual suggestions. If there anything that pops into mind..... like J.D crowe in the red slipper lounge in 69' nailing an up the nail break on john henry 45min in....Some nerdy stuff like! Love hearing on the fly live breaks. I'm posting here on the off-chance I might find a fellow deep catalogue nerd!


Texasbanjo thanks for the response. I find that by transcribing I can improvise better. This is for practice only. I want to step into these players shoes and see if I can think like them. Transcribing is a brilliant way to get it right. When I'm on stage, I certainly won't be parroting. I've transcribved loads of down the neck and improved my playing to  point where I'm quite happy with my sound down there. But up, I get caught playing the same old stuff, and I'm not excited doing the same old song as above. 


Kristen Scott Benson, in a master class, once said getting Scruggs's nuances (and disciples like JD) is te golden ticket to better, in the pocket playing. I'm sure Scott Vestal, Bela, etc learned and transcribed alot. If you hear both their versions of dear old dixie, you can tell that is the case.

thanks all

Edited by - LucasCoffolski on 12/08/2021 07:43:28

Dec 8, 2021 - 7:59:01 AM
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127 posts since 2/7/2020

So I don’t know if this is high enough to be considered “up the neck” (although a lot of the same principles would apply) but Earl’s approach to playing in E without a capo on this is great: youtu.be/4EinAwyQ3Xc

Dec 8, 2021 - 8:16:12 AM
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127 posts since 2/7/2020

youtu.be/aa9kpwFalQ4

Earl’s second break.

Flatt in peak form.

Dec 8, 2021 - 8:26:08 AM

5 posts since 11/6/2011

earlstanleycrowe that six white horses and crawdad is amazing such tasty stuff

Edited by - LucasCoffolski on 12/08/2021 08:26:51

Dec 8, 2021 - 8:28:15 AM
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conic

England

938 posts since 2/15/2014

Geoff Hohwald is the master of UTN improv. try the clip below then he sells a whole up the neck improv course as a download and I believe used to have a money back guarantee,

Dec 8, 2021 - 10:45:10 AM
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12588 posts since 6/2/2008

Note that Geoff Hohwald doesn't use the Scruggs-standard Sally Goodin' position that would have the index on 2nd string at 8 and ring finger on 1st string at 9. Instead, he uses index on 2nd and middle on 1st.

I believe Earl's way, which is also how Tonyt Trischka teaches it and how most pros play it, is to finger the 1st and 2nd strings as if they're a partial E-minor. Your middle finger is left free to fret the 3rd string at 9 as in an E-minor -- lifting up to kill the note when you don't want it to sustain and create an E-minor sound. The little finger is supposed to grab the 10th and 11th frets on 2nd string.

That's the prevailing way to play that position.

But there are no rules in banjo. And since I was never taught the Sally Goodin' position, I've always fingered G licks in that area the way Geoff does. This leads to a lot jumping my middle finger from 1st to 3rd string. When I'm actually playing an E-minor chord, I finger it the conventional way of middle-index-ring on 3rd, 2nd and 1st.

As to the question at hand . . .

Janet Davis's Up the Neck book is well-regarded. Alan Munde's Festival Favorites tab book should have his up-the-neck breaks from the album of the same name. The newest (2021) Earl Scruggs Banjo Songbook  no doubt has plenty of authentic up-the-neck Earl. Russell Sawler's Bluegrass Outlet is home to the largest collection of J.D. Crowe tablature in the world. If J.D. recorded something up-the-neck, it's probably in one of Russell's books.

Have fun.

Dec 8, 2021 - 11:07:50 AM

269 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by LucasCoffolski

I'm looking for some 'up the neck etudes', especially breaks over songs (not instrumentals) based out of the sally Goodin Scruggs positions, to hang my hat on when improvising on songs.

So far I've transcribed and learned:

Jim Mills - Bound to Ride & Standing in the Need Of Prayer (second breaks respectively)
Scruggs - Foggy Mountain Special, Cumberland Gap (b part) and Sally Goodin
Stanley - Big Tilda, Mastertone March
Russ Carson - High On a Mountain

The above is great but I'd love to expand my knowledge of this mode of banjo playing. Solid down-home stuff is welcome. Earlier the better!

Live tape recommendations are especially welcome.

Bill Emerson, Terry Baucom, Earl Scruggs, early first and second-generation players.

Thanks banjo hangout!


Check out Banjo Ben's YouTube Channel below. Ben has done a ton of up the neck lessons over the years that cover Earl Scruggs  and Alan Munde licks. See lessons on Boogie Woogie BackUp. 1 & 2

https://www.youtube.com/user/BanjoBen1/videos

Sean Ray is another great resource

https://seanray.com/

Jack Hatfield has some great TAB books in Scruggs Style

https://hatfieldmusic.com/

There are many resources online but these three are my GOTO  study preferences.

Dec 8, 2021 - 4:16:01 PM
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conic

England

938 posts since 2/15/2014

Good point Ken, I believe Geoff did it different due to copyright issues as he does most of his stuff a bit different but I do like Geoffs style, its all good if your pinching bits as Lucas wants

Dec 9, 2021 - 10:51:47 AM
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12588 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by conic

Good point Ken, I believe Geoff did it different due to copyright issues as he does most of his stuff a bit different but I do like Geoffs style, its all good if your pinching bits as Lucas wants


There's no copyright in how you fret notes on a stringed instrument. There's no copyright in calling a fretting hand shape/location the Sally Goodin' Position.

And he's using his alternative fingering in generic licks at the 8th fret G/Em position, not necessarily for any music on which the Scruggs estate could claim copyright.

Geoff does it his way probably for the same reasons I do it the same way: It's easy and comfortable and maybe no one ever taught him to do it Earl's way. The "right" way (if it can be called that) requires lifting and turning the fretting hand to help the little finger get to the 10th and 11th frets, which can be a stretch when the other three fingers are in an Em shape. And it can be uncomfortable to fret strongly with the little finger in that situation. It's a position that takes a lot of practice to get right. If you were never taught -- as I wasn't -- it's not a shape you'd necessarily go to on your own.

All that said: I like what I've seen in the snippets and free samples of Geoff's videos. Actually picked up a tip from one of the samples! He teaches really practical real-world stuff that has that great combination of sounding good and being easy to do. 

Dec 9, 2021 - 1:27:42 PM
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7238 posts since 8/30/2004

Ken,
I don't think the copyright police are after tabbers any more....I teach a bunch of lawyers who work with copyright law. They are mostly going after illegal youtubes...Jack

Originally posted by Old Hickory
 

Edited by - Jack Baker on 12/09/2021 13:28:42

Dec 9, 2021 - 1:32:10 PM

chuckv97

Canada

61596 posts since 10/5/2013

I’m a youtuber trying to get my numbers up to monetize. They already put claims on some of my videos of tunes that are still under copyright,, no problem really, they just take all or a % of the ad revenue. What they don’t like is somebody using exact audio from a commercial recording that some YouTubers put in their vids.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 12/09/2021 13:32:58

Dec 9, 2021 - 2:09:21 PM

2836 posts since 11/15/2003

Dec 9, 2021 - 2:15:01 PM
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2836 posts since 11/15/2003

Sorry,
Laptop is not well...

Along about 88 or 89, this guy named tom adams...the right hand man...
Every time on the album... straight as a string..hard driving like a train... most of the songs had a good, but simplistic up the neck break... got me back on the straight and narrow for a good long time...

Warp!

Dec 12, 2021 - 8:33:04 AM
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2970 posts since 2/10/2013

Lucas - I agree with Sherry. Using the approach you have taken most likely taught you a lot more than you think. Solving problems by yourself is very productive. It takes more effort, but the benefits are far greater than those obtained just learning where to place your fingers. The list of tunes your have already learned is proof that what you are currently doing works.

Dec 12, 2021 - 10:11:05 AM
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7238 posts since 8/30/2004

Yes, they will question videos for sure...Jack
As I posted: "They are mostly going after illegal youtubes"...Jack
 
Originally posted by chuckv97

 

Edited by - Jack Baker on 12/12/2021 10:12:44

Dec 12, 2021 - 12:16:08 PM

conic

England

938 posts since 2/15/2014

So if I make my own book to sell and include my own soundfile played by myself and make my own tab copied from the scruggs book of foggy mountain breakdown, is it legal.
If the answer is yes then what If I learn a scruggs tune by ear and make my own tab by what I worked out then make a book and sell it

Dec 12, 2021 - 1:12:41 PM
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269 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by conic

So if I make my own book to sell and include my own soundfile played by myself and make my own tab copied from the scruggs book of foggy mountain breakdown, is it legal.
If the answer is yes then what If I learn a scruggs tune by ear and make my own tab by what I worked out then make a book and sell it


Seems everybody does it conic every book / tab I own has some reference to a Scruggs lick. Just don't earn too much from sales or the copyright lawyers will be on your case. 

Edited by - FenderFred on 12/12/2021 13:13:12

Dec 12, 2021 - 1:24:28 PM
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conic

England

938 posts since 2/15/2014

In that case, does anybody want to buy a tab with soundfile. hahaha

I think I will leave it to the experts like Jack, they make great tabs

Dec 12, 2021 - 1:42:57 PM
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269 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by conic

In that case, does anybody want to buy a tab with soundfile. hahaha

I think I will leave it to the experts like Jack, they make great tabs


Jack has created some great TABs over the years. He inspired me to  try my hand at editing some TABs. I am not proficient enough to write complete TABs on my own but I do enjoy cutting and pasting different arrangements from different sources adding rhythm guitar & bass TABs for my own personal use. Which are fun to play along with in TablEdit

Edited by - FenderFred on 12/12/2021 13:43:41

Dec 17, 2021 - 5:27:07 AM

Fathand

Canada

11873 posts since 2/7/2008

Lonesome Road Blues is a good UTN break to learn.

Dec 18, 2021 - 7:49:23 AM

2970 posts since 2/10/2013

I have lots of instructionals, and the one that helped me understand up the neck improvisation most was Bill Knopf's "Bluegrass Banjo Workshop Book 2". CD is also available. This books purpose is to teach a person more about playing the 5 string, not to learn tunes. It has tunes that demonstrate how licks, both up and down the neck, can be used. It also discusses things like chord transitioning. I found out about lots of new things when I used that book.

I have lots of banjo books, and I just about wore that one out.

Dec 19, 2021 - 2:35:18 PM
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2717 posts since 4/5/2006

Back in the day, when I was first learning, I transcribed a lot of stuff, mainly just for posterity. Good thing I did, 'cause now, I've forgotten how  I did a lot of that stuff.  But you learn a lot by doing that. If you want a challenge in Sally Goodin type stuff, (aside from JD Crowe) go to you tube & search for Sally Goodin by California (Byron Berline, John Moore, & John Hickman). Hickman pulled out all the stops on that one. 

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