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Apr 2, 2022 - 5:25:52 AM
3 posts since 11/26/2020

Hi to everyone.

I have a very big Problem. I try to play in a Band and very often when we try to play a Song i find Tab in the Internet and then learn it. For example i learned man of constant sorrow in g. Now the Fiddler wants to Play in f. Ist there a way in the Banjo to Transpose the exact thing I am playing to another key by retuning or anything like that. I can mot play by war and it is very difficult for me to pick up Songs. Then it gets really frustrating when everyone changes the key in seconds and i can not play anymore. I hope you understand my problem and maybe someone can help.

With Kind regards

Flo

Edited by - bollos on 04/02/2022 05:27:47

Apr 2, 2022 - 5:54 AM
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9633 posts since 8/28/2013
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You can many times use a capo to transpose. If going downfrom g to f you could probably re-tune the banjo (gDGBD to fCFAC) if there is time and the strings don't get too slack.

You might also try to find a different TAB that's in the key the band wishes.

Apr 2, 2022 - 6:16:37 AM
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beegee

USA

22961 posts since 7/6/2005

Learn the Nashville Numbering system, learn to play out of closed chords and learn how and when to use a capo. Instead of depending on tablature, learn music theory and chord structure. I'll use tab to learn the structure of a tune and then learn to play it in different keys using closed chords. I seldom use a capo any more.

Apr 2, 2022 - 6:43:28 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27361 posts since 8/3/2003

You could try learning a song in the key of G and then in the key of D and/or C. That way any song that's called could be capoed and played out of those keys. That's any song in a major key.

If playing out of let's say C, you can capo up 2 and play in D, capo up 4 and play in E, capo up 5 and play in F. Be sure to capo the 5th up accordingly.

If playing out of G, you can capo up 2 and play in a, 3 and play in Bb 4 and play in B and 5 and play in C. A few will capo up 5 and play in D, but that's just too far up the neck for me to like the sound. Again, capo 5th up to match.

Edited by - Texasbanjo on 04/02/2022 06:44:09

Apr 2, 2022 - 6:51:34 AM
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11122 posts since 6/30/2020

Hi bollos and welcome to BHO,

Your very big problem is addressed here:

youtube.com/watch?v=QHeJX5rLSdI

Watch Jim Pankey’s videos for other good instruction and tips.

Apr 2, 2022 - 1:14:48 PM
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2866 posts since 4/5/2006
Online Now

Vocals always default to the key to suit the vocalist. That being said, capo as suggested. However, in the case of Man of Constant Sorrow, that's best known as a Ralph Stanley song, & I doubt Ralph ever played, or sang, in the key of F. Another choice would be to search BHO for a tab in the key of F

Apr 2, 2022 - 3:04:35 PM
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O.D.

USA

3700 posts since 10/29/2003

I agree with beegee
Learn how to find the melody within the closed chord positions. All the notes are right there, often with simple finger movements.
I really enjoy this approach,it's similar to puzzle solving.
After awhile your fingers will recognize notes and know where to look for the melody.

Good luck
Everett

Apr 2, 2022 - 7:56:13 PM
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304 posts since 3/2/2013

quote:
Originally posted by bollos

Hi to everyone.

I have a very big Problem. I try to play in a Band and very often when we try to play a Song i find Tab in the Internet and then learn it. For example i learned man of constant sorrow in g. Now the Fiddler wants to Play in f. Ist there a way in the Banjo to Transpose the exact thing I am playing to another key by retuning or anything like that. I can mot play by war and it is very difficult for me to pick up Songs. Then it gets really frustrating when everyone changes the key in seconds and i can not play anymore. I hope you understand my problem and maybe someone can help.

With Kind regards

Flo


Apr 2, 2022 - 8:01:16 PM
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304 posts since 3/2/2013

The simplest way to play the exact same thing your already playing is ( like was mentioned by someone earlier), tune to an open F tuning. Other wise you'll have to learn it in another key and then capo like Texasbanjo said. If you have Keith tuners it makes it alot faster to tune down from G even though you will have to fine tune. Ideally you would have four keith D tuners. I've done this in playing in key of E where a song in the musical Bright Star calls for open E tuning and you have to get there fast. I only have 2 D tuners but i can tune those 2 strings down in a flash and using reference notes from fretting other strings I can tune the remaining 3 strings in maybe 7 or 8 seconds and then go back and fine tune the strings attached to my D tuners. With practice it takes maybe 12 seconds at the most. 

Edited by - 81goldstar on 04/02/2022 20:11:47

Apr 2, 2022 - 11:03 PM
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3 posts since 11/26/2020

Thanks to everyone. As far as I understand it. The fastest solution is to tune down. Key f of is because the Fiddler also wants to sing. I will inform myself about closed chord positions! I know the chord positions that are used to find every chord on the fretboard but i can also find the melody with them?

Edited by - bollos on 04/02/2022 23:05:41

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Apr 3, 2022 - 2:47:42 AM
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406 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by bollos

Hi to everyone.

I have a very big Problem. I try to play in a Band and very often when we try to play a Song i find Tab in the Internet and then learn it. For example i learned man of constant sorrow in g. Now the Fiddler wants to Play in f. Ist there a way in the Banjo to Transpose the exact thing I am playing to another key by retuning or anything like that. I can mot play by war and it is very difficult for me to pick up Songs. Then it gets really frustrating when everyone changes the key in seconds and i can not play anymore. I hope you understand my problem and maybe someone can help.

With Kind regards

Flo


Hi bollos

As a banjo player your going to incur this issue every time you play with others. Most beginning banjo players start out learning tunes / licks in G simply because it's easiest to teach and learn. The guitar & mandolin players by contrast have an easier time of it, whilst the fiddlier lays down the law because fiddlers tend to play set pieces and rigidly stick to them. As banjo players we need to stay ahead of the game and bow to their specific needs. Keep that in mind as you move forward. 

My advice FWIW is learn the fundamentals of playing in the Key of G, C and D and learn how and where to place the capo on the neck.

Learn about the National Number System - This is key to learning how to Transpose tunes from one key signature to another. 

In short learn the geography of the banjo neck. Now your not going to learn all this overnight it's gonna take some time and a good bit of study. The good news is this guy will set you on the right path. Here is a short sample of his videos on the topics I mentioned earlier, these samples don't cover everything you need to know but hopefully provide some help and direction on a path moving forward.

One last thing to keep in mind - You don't have to play a solo/tune in every key, You can fake it or simply sit back and let the band play whilst you listen.  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFbfUCVzRZA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cROQH6Ghpk8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7M7nFFdh24

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rv4i1QCEws

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fQrH68BvaI

Edited by - FenderFred on 04/03/2022 02:50:12

Apr 3, 2022 - 4:36:47 AM
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4667 posts since 12/6/2009

This is the main reasons most play by ear. To learn a tab and think thats it in bluegrass music is reason to keep practicing and listening to the music. You'll eventually know where to find your way around the neck of the banjo and then throw them tabs away....when you learn a song by tab try to then (on your own) play in other keys. every key has its own scales and that learned is another plus to ear learning. you will also eventually discover most BG use the same or similar chord patterns, lics, rolls, etc. knowledge of a forward roll and reverse roll are great tools for using anywhere as a learning tool, Keep Practicing and good luck.

Apr 3, 2022 - 2:46:24 PM
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Owen

Canada

11219 posts since 6/5/2011

Maybe a dummy question, but does playing "out of" [key of G for example] mean the same as playing "in" [key of G, for example]?

Apr 3, 2022 - 2:57:55 PM
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1091 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by bollos

Thanks to everyone. As far as I understand it. The fastest solution is to tune down. Key f of is because the Fiddler also wants to sing. I will inform myself about closed chord positions! I know the chord positions that are used to find every chord on the fretboard but i can also find the melody with them?


Bollos,

It seems you might be in the market for a long-neck banjo! If you do not already know, a long neck banjo is a regular banjo, but just with 3 frets more added on top (A 25 fret banjo). 

Pete Seeger, whom you might have heard of, sorta "invented" this banjo to suit singing needs:

Like in this instance, you want to quickly (without retuning), go from the Key of G, to the Key of F. If you had a long neck, then all you had to do was move the capo at the third fret, down 2 frets. No abnormal retuning needed. 

 

So, the normal longneck is tuned to E, which is just 3 'levels'/'frets' below G. 

Hope this helps!

Russ A.

Apr 3, 2022 - 8:03:09 PM
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304 posts since 3/2/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Owen

Maybe a dummy question, but does playing "out of" [key of G for example] mean the same as playing "in" [key of G, for example]?


Owen, No it does not. Playing OUT of a certain key is the same as saying "play LIKE your in the key of G except put a capo on". In essence it means using the same chord positions as is in the key of G except on different frets because either a capo is used or banjo is tuned to a different voicing (usually lower). A specific example would be when you place capo at 2nd fret and play OUT of key of G you will be using the same chord positions, only 2 frets higher so the music comes out in key of A. Hope that makes sense.  Not a dumb question at all.

Edited by - 81goldstar on 04/03/2022 20:12:28

Apr 3, 2022 - 8:09:22 PM
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304 posts since 3/2/2013

quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment
quote:
Originally posted by bollos

Thanks to everyone. As far as I understand it. The fastest solution is to tune down. Key f of is because the Fiddler also wants to sing. I will inform myself about closed chord positions! I know the chord positions that are used to find every chord on the fretboard but i can also find the melody with them?


Bollos,

It seems you might be in the market for a long-neck banjo! If you do not already know, a long neck banjo is a regular banjo, but just with 3 frets more added on top (A 25 fret banjo). 

Pete Seeger, whom you might have heard of, sorta "invented" this banjo to suit singing needs:

Like in this instance, you want to quickly (without retuning), go from the Key of G, to the Key of F. If you had a long neck, then all you had to do was move the capo at the third fret, down 2 frets. No abnormal retuning needed. 

 

So, the normal longneck is tuned to E, which is just 3 'levels'/'frets' below G. 

Hope this helps!

Russ A.


Good advice...and Bollos if you go this route and want to stay with more of a traditional bluegrass banjo Deering I believe still offers the John Hartford long neck model. Im sure theres other builders that offer a long neck banjo too and you can always have a neck maker build you just the neck for the pot you already have.

Apr 4, 2022 - 3:01:10 AM
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phb

Germany

3341 posts since 11/8/2010

I don't feel like the solution to the problem of playing some song in the key of F should be buying another banjo. Even more so because to me that seemed to be a random example and for the next song it might be playing the song in the key of D when the OP learned it in G.

The problem of having to play a song in a different key than you learned it is very common. The common solution is learning to play "out of C" and "out of D" and then use a capo to get pretty much all the keys a singer might come up with. Now for the key of F (which is rare in my jams) I would probably play uncapoed or would play out of D with capo on the 3rd fret.

The problem of coming up with a reasonable solo in a different key is common and it takes time to get there. The first step is understanding how melodies are movable and keep their inner relation all the time. Then you will see that e.g. what is a G-D-E-F#-G melody fragment in "out of G" (i.e. 3rd string open followed by 0, 2, 4 on the 4th string back to open 3rd string) becomes 2nd string 1st fret, open third, 2nd fret third string, open 2nd string, back to 2nd string 1st fret:

Key of G:

---------------------
---------------------
-0---------------0--
-----0--2---4------
---------------------

==>

Key of C:

----------------------
-1-----------0--1---
-----0--2------------
----------------------
----------------------

Apr 4, 2022 - 4:13:25 AM
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304 posts since 3/2/2013

quote:
Originally posted by phb

I don't feel like the solution to the problem of playing some song in the key of F should be buying another banjo. Even more so because to me that seemed to be a random example and for the next song it might be playing the song in the key of D when the OP learned it in G.

The problem of having to play a song in a different key than you learned it is very common. The common solution is learning to play "out of C" and "out of D" and then use a capo to get pretty much all the keys a singer might come up with. Now for the key of F (which is rare in my jams) I would probably play uncapoed or would play out of D with capo on the 3rd fret.

The problem of coming up with a reasonable solo in a different key is common and it takes time to get there. The first step is understanding how melodies are movable and keep their inner relation all the time. Then you will see that e.g. what is a G-D-E-F#-G melody fragment in "out of G" (i.e. 3rd string open followed by 0, 2, 4 on the 4th string back to open 3rd string) becomes 2nd string 1st fret, open third, 2nd fret third string, open 2nd string, back to 2nd string 1st fret:

Key of G:

---------------------
---------------------
-0---------------0--
-----0--2---4------
---------------------

==>

Key of C:

----------------------
-1-----------0--1---
-----0--2------------
----------------------
----------------------


I feel the same way, but Bollos was asking for ways he could continue playing how he's used to, but be in a different key, so a long neck is one solution. Not necessarily our opinion. Your advice is what I would gently steer him towards but a long neck answers his original question. 

Apr 4, 2022 - 4:40:16 AM
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4667 posts since 12/6/2009

Imho. If you want to tune your banjo lower( or long neck) what does that mean?....two things.....drop ½ step G you now are in F#.....drop whole step.....you’re in B.....drop whole step from there you’re in A.....and so on.....so where’s the gain?.....your still in the basic keys? Scale.....all keys have various octaves.....low high real low real high. Me? Keep the banjo to scale and just select the keys that match what folks are jamming with.......low or high it’s all the same.....IMHO......ya know John Hartford ( and Pete Seeger)kinda sang out of tune ....he had sort of a talking voice and is probably why he liked them odd sounding backups.....to sing in scale a banjo needs the zip.....IMHO
a rose is a rose is a rose the old saying goes

bluegrass is bluegrass is bluegrass

Edited by - overhere on 04/04/2022 04:41:59

Apr 4, 2022 - 3:03:48 PM
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3382 posts since 10/17/2009

quote:
Originally posted by overhere

Imho. If you want to tune your banjo lower( or long neck) what does that mean?....two things.....drop ½ step G you now are in F#.....drop whole step.....you’re in B.....drop whole step from there you’re in A.....and so on.....so where’s the gain?.....


Check your math. Dropping the tuning a whole step from F# would be E (not B). 

The gain(s) in long neck or lower tuning, 1. the ability to play/transpose fingerings and/or licks as if were in open G. (kind of like inverse capo.) 2. ability to achieve lower tones; which might need for some tunes (esp lowest note needed). Playing tune in higher octave is not quite the same quality.

That said, lower tuning (or long neck) is a solution might see in folk or old time (they use lots of different tuning); I don't think much in Bluegrass... as others mentioned learning to play closed chord positions, like from basic F shape.

Edited by - banjoak on 04/04/2022 15:09:26

Apr 4, 2022 - 4:29:04 PM
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4667 posts since 12/6/2009

quote:
Originally posted by banjoak
quote:
Originally posted by overhere

Imho. If you want to tune your banjo lower( or long neck) what does that mean?....two things.....drop ½ step G you now are in F#.....drop whole step.....you’re in B.....drop whole step from there you’re in A.....and so on.....so where’s the gain?.....


Check your math. Dropping the tuning a whole step from F# would be E (not B). 

The gain(s) in long neck or lower tuning, 1. the ability to play/transpose fingerings and/or licks as if were in open G. (kind of like inverse capo.) 2. ability to achieve lower tones; which might need for some tunes (esp lowest note needed). Playing tune in higher octave is not quite the same quality.

That said, lower tuning (or long neck) is a solution might see in folk or old time (they use lots of different tuning); I don't think much in Bluegrass... as others mentioned learning to play closed chord positions, like from basic F shape.

 


well as long as we are being technical....you're on the wrong site.....this is the Scruggs Bluegrass site? and gratulations you caught someones mistake....you win a rubber duck

Apr 4, 2022 - 5:06:07 PM
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3382 posts since 10/17/2009

quote:
Originally posted by monstertone

Vocals always default to the key to suit the vocalist.


That always seemed funny to me.

I come from background where the vocals and other instruments work out keys with each other for best balance. (both band and solo).  Sometimes that involves playability and tone aspects in the instrument or player (sometimes involves limitation).

For some the most pragmatic solution is to tell the singer, nope; need find a key that works better for the whole.

Man of Constant Sorrow is very small range, less than an octave... vocalist should be able to adjust to some degree. Can they sing it in G? or some other more mutually agreeable key?

Apr 4, 2022 - 5:46:53 PM
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7284 posts since 2/14/2006

quote:
Originally posted by bollos

Hi to everyone.

I have a very big Problem. I try to play in a Band and very often when we try to play a Song i find Tab in the Internet and then learn it. For example i learned man of constant sorrow in g. Now the Fiddler wants to Play in f. Ist there a way in the Banjo to Transpose the exact thing I am playing to another key by retuning or anything like that. I can mot play by war and it is very difficult for me to pick up Songs. Then it gets really frustrating when everyone changes the key in seconds and i can not play anymore. I hope you understand my problem and maybe someone can help.

With Kind regards

Flo


Welcome to the club, Flo.  For me, this has also been a problem.  For example, our band does "Take Me in Your Lifeboat" in F, which is normally done with a singer who can sing it higher like in G or A.  And so I capo on the 3rd fret and play D, and it's just not the same.  I feel the pain.  The best I can do is learn my own break in D position, and like I said, it just won't sound the same.  That's part of what you run into when you have singers who need to lower or raise the capo so that you actually have to relearn the whole thing.  

Some cases aren't a total loss.  Like from B to G works fine, from A to C works ok.  All because of the capo positions available.  But G to F?  Yeah.  That's not my favorite either.

I have an advantage, I've been picking banjo for 40 years.  So I can usually pull out a solo on the spot in F (D position with capo up 3).  But it definitely makes it challenging.

Apr 4, 2022 - 10:10:23 PM
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3 posts since 11/26/2020

Thanks to everyone. I will need to study a Lot.

Apr 4, 2022 - 11:43:54 PM
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Helix

USA

15589 posts since 8/30/2006

bollos The shortneck banjo you have right now is enough, Russ and I like longnecks, that's not the correct solution here.

This poor guy is a novice, so, yes, he's studying as much as he can.

1. Buy a capo.
2. Tune the shortneck banjo down to E. You don't need new strings or anything other than just tune down to E.
3. Capo the banjo at the 1st fret and you have the key of F with your regular G chords and fingering!!
4. Capo at the 3rd fret and you are back up to G.

This way you have access to six new keys with the old chords. We play longnecks, we know this crap. We use a lot of spikes., not just to sing in A, but to play in real G minor instead of "Sawmill."

Learn to tune the 4th string D down to C, that's C-tuning or Drop C

open = keys of E/A
1st fret = keys of F/Bb
2nd fret = keys of F#/B
3rd fret = keys of G/C

There's six new keys for you and an easy way to play F with the band.

Yes, you can learn the theory as you go.

But for now, the simple longnecketeer's solution is to tune down and capo back up to 1.

That way you can slide the capo down , and be in F right away, like the rest of the band.


The 5th string needs a capo or spikes. I use 6 spikes, many people don't. I play G Minor and Sawmill both. 7,8,9,10,12,14 works for me.

You need some spikes at 7,8,9,10 anyway, or you need a sliding 5th string capo, the long one, or use the BIC pen cap trick.
If you use that, keep some in your pocket, they get lost in a shag rug.

Any questions? You now have a novice's solution that won't hurt the banjo,

I use light strings all the time, so when I take my capo off to play G licks in E, I do not get a buzz anywhere on my keyboard.
Use medium strings if you like, but that's not the correct solution unless you are big and tall and play with all your strength.

By using the capo this way, you avoid listening to certain strings raising while you are trying to lower others.
The neck changes a little bit when you do this by retuning.

But when you slide a capo to a fret when the banjo is in tune, then you are imitating Mr. Scruggs elegant solution of a capo that sits right on the nut = Paige. I have more of them than I use.
I prefer the Shubb, but I no longer use their rail capo, I use spikes, even in the dark on stage.

I've been mainstreaming longneck banjo into bluegrass since 2005 with a Gold Tone OB 250 flathead with the JLS Tone Ring removed with a new Black Walnut rim and the Gold Tone neck and Helix type tone ring since then. No problems. 
Any problems I have run into are all people and bluegrass people related. My cousins played real bluegrass in Oklahoma for 45 years, they weren't that bad, but they got to meet and greet everyone from Snuffy to Bill on a first name basis.
Nobody puts on airs. They are natural and friendly, always.

And that my friends is what I like about bluegrass and the people associated with it. The Old Time jams can play Cripple Creek and Old Joe Clark all they want for 10 minutes.

The Bluegrass people are friendlier and just as hedgehog if they want to be, meaning afraid of strangers, but the music overpowers those fears everytime and Annie Beech and Jam Pak Bluegrass Band are alive and well over here in Cactus Town when they aren't on tour in China. Cisco and the Racecars are one of the band's spinoffs, and then dang they went Melodic, youngsters.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was the first to go Russia.

bollos I know this will help you some, just tune down and capo back up. Let us know if this helps.


Edited by - Helix on 04/04/2022 23:51:50

Apr 5, 2022 - 3:07:12 PM
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3382 posts since 10/17/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Doug Knecht

 And so I capo on the 3rd fret and play D, and it's just not the same.  I feel the pain.  The best I can do is learn my own break in D position, and like I said, it just won't sound the same.  That's part of what you run into when you have singers who need to lower or raise the capo so that you actually have to relearn the whole thing.  


Good point. That's probably the way most folks would tackle songs like Man of Constant Sorrow in F. In long run probably the most straightforward and easiest. 

As mentioned, comes with experience... for beginners many start out of the "playing out of G" framework... moving beyond that is initially a struggle, but is what gives experience and versatility.

Learning to play out of the D position is very useful, esp in Bluegrass world. Not just to get by, but can embrace differences, as has it's own interesting qualities and feel that go with it. Rather than thinking of straight transpose or relearn, simply take it song on as new arrangement.

FWIW, here's an example of Man of Constant Sorrow playing out of D framework, capo 3 (key of F).

 

banjo might be easier to hear on this...

Edited by - banjoak on 04/05/2022 15:09:41

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