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Aug 9, 2022 - 3:46:08 AM
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1589 posts since 3/19/2008

An often missed Scruggs style technique! If you enjoy, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!

youtu.be/7NXGRIuR660

Aug 9, 2022 - 8:17:41 AM
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142 posts since 9/12/2006

Very good explanation of that slight push that Earl used and Sonny stressed. Nice choice of examples.

Aug 9, 2022 - 8:40:52 AM
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13594 posts since 6/2/2008
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I wonder if people mis-hearing the bend raising the 3rd fret note is what led to a lot tablature showing the slide as 2-4 instead of 2-3.

I've encountered only a few instances in all my years of playing in which sliding all the way to 4 fills a musical need. I can't even think of any right now, but I think it's a desired effect of doubling or emphasizing the target note that matches the 2nd string open. Same way that 4th string is often slid to 5 and 2nd string is slid or hammered to 3.

Now I'm thinking . . . John says Earl developed the technique because of an intonation problem on his banjo. Could it the third string B intonation problem that's common to banjos and guitars, not just Earl's instrument? That is, I think it's common for the 3rd string 4th fret note not to match the open string as in tune as 4th string at 5 matches 3rd open or 2nd string at 3 matched 1st open. So for the slur into 2nd string, did Earl find it sufficiently pleasing to fool the ear by bending the 3rd at 3 towards the open 2nd note, but not all the way, and let our ears hear the illusion of the 3rd string being slid up to the 2nd string note?

Sorry for the rambling thinking out loud.

Good and valuable lesson. I know about this trick but I don't think I do it enough.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 08/09/2022 08:47:40

Aug 9, 2022 - 8:48:27 AM
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8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Hi Ken,
What I've always thought was that Earl was bending/pushing into that B natural note rather than slide to the 4th fret and because it sounds nicer. It's a little tricky to accomplish that unless you have good touch. John Batchelor does it very well...Jack

Edited by - Jack Baker on 08/09/2022 08:55:31

Aug 9, 2022 - 9:02 AM
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13594 posts since 6/2/2008
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack Baker

What I've always thought was that Earl was bending/pushing into that B natural note rather than slide to the 4th fret and because it sounds nicer. It's a little tricky to accomplish that unless you have good touch. John Batchelor does it very well...Jack


It definitely sounds nicer. And John executes it really well. You can hear the difference the bend makes.

I've know about the bend for only eight years. Learned it from Tony Trischka at camp in 2014. I never really listened to a lot of Earl. Some, of course. Just not a lot. Saw him live three or four times when I was still a beginner. This fine point totally escaped me.

Aug 9, 2022 - 9:24:18 AM
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4133 posts since 9/12/2016

wimpy scruggser that I am--I chime in humble. John is right on and I am going to work that into my RBA
That flatted 3rd stuff is a high percent necessary in this genre and dang near all the rest.
One of many tidbits-the perfect b note harmony wise does not hit the banjo on the tempered scale .It is slightly lower,than the 3rd string fourth fret but ,if you tune the second string perfect ,the G note at the 8th fret will be painfully low.even to my tin ear
back to the flatted 3rd--This is a biggie that brings in the sad/blue emotion---- stretching it is where we get to add in the whinny ha ha. So many great scruggsers live here a lot.
John never got around to the tenth fret second string chapter yet--bet he has one--Those guys find territory in there that " Cumberland Gap hold"  that makes a regular tuned B note go hide it's head

Edited by - Tractor1 on 08/09/2022 09:27:05

Aug 9, 2022 - 10:39:15 AM
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phb

Germany

3504 posts since 11/8/2010

A little dissonance makes a "fat" sound and is not unpleasant if it goes away quickly. Electric guitarists do it all the time, pulling a string into consonance with a neighbouring string and then again out of consonance. The area between the minor third and the major third is magic territory for this, that's where the blues live, and neither the minor nor the major third are really exactly what we desire to hear in a melody. Fiddlers can go to the real sweetspot, we can't and thus bend into or slide through that note.

Aug 9, 2022 - 10:41:55 AM

8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Hi Phillip,
But isn't Earl kind of bending the note to a B natural?....It's pretty whatever he does...Jack

Aug 9, 2022 - 11:24:59 AM
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4284 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory

I wonder if people mis-hearing the bend raising the 3rd fret note is what led to a lot tablature showing the slide as 2-4 instead of 2-3.

I've encountered only a few instances in all my years of playing in which sliding all the way to 4 fills a musical need. I can't even think of any right now, but I think it's a desired effect of doubling or emphasizing the target note that matches the 2nd string open. Same way that 4th string is often slid to 5 and 2nd string is slid or hammered.


Yeah. I will slide to the 4th fret occasionally, but NOT in the standard licks (like in "Cripple Creek" or at the beginning of "Earl's Breakdown"; in those cases, I just barely reach the 3rd fret. But when I'm doing a more extended bit of forward roll and focusing on a B melody note, I will slide to 4 and maybe hold it there while my index keeps harping on the open 2nd string.

For years I've thought that more people THINK they slide all the way to 4 (and therefore indicate that in tabs) than actually do so.

Aug 9, 2022 - 11:51:43 AM
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3084 posts since 4/19/2008
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If you listen closely to Cripple Creek there is no "rhyme or reason" to Earl's slide distance, bending, rhythm or dynamics, he's just being human.

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Aug 9, 2022 - 11:52:19 AM
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142 posts since 9/12/2006

Not to go against the grain here, but there are lots of instances where if you are trying to pitch the note exactly as a singer would sing it, I'd slide all the way to the 4th fret. Such as in Blue Ridge Cabin Home, "There's a well..." the word well is a b melody note (actually d when played in the original key of Bb, the 3rd of the chord). I slide and hold that 4th fret, so I would say that tab is right in Earl's book and in a lot of other places. When only sliding to the 3rd fret your ear hears the clash with the 2nd string and you release the note, thus not sustaining the melody note as long as a singer would. Boy, that's a lot, maybe 2 1/2 cents worth!

Aug 9, 2022 - 12:08:23 PM
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8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Rick (welcome back),
That's a good point really. I doubt if Earl gave that slide a whole lot of thought. He just played what sounded right to his ears and that choke was probably spontaneous. I always slide to the 3rd fret and then just before I hit the 4th fret I take off my finger. I think that "choked" slide as John B posted does sound nice but I've heard tons of great players who do not "slide" or "bend" that note, they just get there and somehow and make it sound right. 
With regards to that being part of the melody of the song as Eddie Collins says; it never occurred to me to think of it that way (although it is part of the melody). As a few people here have posted, you pretty much have to do it your way and make it sound pleasant....Jack
Here's some Sunshine to this discussion:
Bring Me Sunshine
 
I
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

If you listen closely to Cripple Creek there is no "rhyme or reason" to Earl's slide distance, bending, rhythm or dynamics, he's just being human.


Edited by - Jack Baker on 08/09/2022 12:22:06

Aug 9, 2022 - 12:30:34 PM

8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Yes, John's point about "intonation" probably is what Earl had in mind with regards to that particular slide he always played
 
Originally posted by Jack Baker
Rick (welcome back),

 


Edited by - Jack Baker on 08/09/2022 12:34:07

Aug 9, 2022 - 12:50:49 PM

8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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I think john  (or somebody) said that...
 
Originally posted by Jack Baker
Yes, John's point about "intonation" probably is what Earl had in mind with regards to that particular slide he always played
 
Originally posted by Jack Baker
Rick (welcome back),

 


 


Aug 9, 2022 - 1:59:52 PM
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101 posts since 2/25/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Eddie Collins

Not to go against the grain here, but there are lots of instances where if you are trying to pitch the note exactly as a singer would sing it, I'd slide all the way to the 4th fret. Such as in Blue Ridge Cabin Home, "There's a well..." the word well is a b melody note (actually d when played in the original key of Bb, the 3rd of the chord). I slide and hold that 4th fret, so I would say that tab is right in Earl's book and in a lot of other places. When only sliding to the 3rd fret your ear hears the clash with the 2nd string and you release the note, thus not sustaining the melody note as long as a singer would. Boy, that's a lot, maybe 2 1/2 cents worth!


For Blue Ridge Cabin home, I'd do what you suggest if I was playing the Scruggs break, but if I was doing the JD kick, I'd slide to the third and bend.

Aug 9, 2022 - 2:00:35 PM
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4133 posts since 9/12/2016

Run this one up to 1-16 hear Vic Jordan run it thru the hoops -even gets it into the C part if I got it right--One of those Bill Monroe tunes but artistically speaks more of Byron Berline to me

they all played tops--fun to melodic try the fiddle break also--great phrases

 

Edited by - Tractor1 on 08/09/2022 14:04:19

Aug 9, 2022 - 2:01:10 PM
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RB3

USA

1434 posts since 4/12/2004

The first two songs I learned were Cumberland Gap and Cripple Creek from a 1964 instruction book by Paul Champion. It was published under the auspices of the Kingston Trio, and it had a very peculiar tablature format that is unlike anything else that I've ever seen.

On Cripple Creek the book specifies a two to four slide, and that's what I initially learned. But, after I learned to do a hammer-on from one fret to the next, I abandoned the slide for the hammer on. I found the hammer-on to be more precise and you don't have to move your entire hand to execute it. I've been doing a hammer-on ever since.

I dug out that old instruction book and discovered that Champion referred to a pull-off as a "back lick".

Aug 9, 2022 - 5:28:07 PM
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1589 posts since 3/19/2008

I love the conversation on this thread! All good points being made. I’ll add a little bit in here and say I believe some songs sound “better” to my ears using a 2-4 slide, such if you are holding a roll out with it or looking for a little more lasting sustain. But, when it comes to good hard driving bluegrass I prefer the bend! Keep picking!

Aug 10, 2022 - 3:39:52 AM
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phb

Germany

3504 posts since 11/8/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Jack Baker

Hi Phillip,
But isn't Earl kind of bending the note to a B natural?....It's pretty whatever he does...Jack


I have to admit I can't tell, I just don't trust my ears enough and it is over so fast. I believe (=don't know) he's not quite there when he hits the B string.

Aug 10, 2022 - 5:43:32 AM
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8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Hi Philipp,
I do know that Earl was very critical about being in tune. I think he just did what was natural to him. I've known Earl since I was 11 years old in Va. and he never once mentioned how he did things. He just wanted to get as much of the melody as possible...Jack

Aug 10, 2022 - 5:59:15 AM
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banjoy

USA

10428 posts since 7/1/2006

I'm not sure is my post here is exactly on topic, as it relates more to Earl's tone while sliding and not pitch.This discussion reminded me that Jens Kruger was saying at some workshops I attended about 15 years ago, that Earl would do slides on his fingernail (left-hand, of course) and not on his fingertip, and he demonstrated what he meant showing how Earl did slides ... apparently from observing it first-hand...

Not sure if that had ever come up before in these types of discussions, but has anyone else made the same observations about how Earl executed his slides on his fingernail?

Edited by - banjoy on 08/10/2022 06:00:42

Aug 10, 2022 - 6:25:44 AM

8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Hi Frank,
Actually, Earl has said that he used his finger nails for a crisper sound. I personally use mt left hand nails just a little to make my notes brighter...jack

Aug 10, 2022 - 6:44:17 AM
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4133 posts since 9/12/2016

I ran across that in a magazine once. I envision it more down on that 10th fret second string choke -so one can nail the string all the way down to the wood
last night I was thinking about this topic during banjo time. On a melodic style tune =the easiest way (for me )that I could stay with non stop noting and execute a movement from A note to the B note was a big long hammer from second fret to 4th fret. The slide etc.was complete over kill and messed up the whole groove.
I hear fiddlers etc.speak of micro/quarter tones --in other words they are blessed with ears-better than mine--I have little doubt Earl had ears like that

Aug 10, 2022 - 7:02:05 AM
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phb

Germany

3504 posts since 11/8/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Tractor1

I hear fiddlers etc.speak of micro/quarter tones --in other words they are blessed with ears-better than mine--I have little doubt Earl had ears like that


Fiddlers can create any frequency they want by placing their finger between the places where the frets would be if there were any on a fiddle. That's why they are aware of semitones and quarter tones. Fretted instruments cannot create those in-between frequencies, not by sliding. If you purely (!) slide from 2 to 4 on the 3rd string, you will create three separate consecutive notes, A, Bb and B because the moment you slide over a fret you push down the string onto the next higher fret and change the pitch to that caused by that fret. Only by bending can we create frequencies that are somewhere in between. Thus, it makes perfect sense to amplify the impression of a note continuously rising in pitch by adding a little bend to the slide. The brain fills in any gaps.

Aug 10, 2022 - 7:15:43 AM

4133 posts since 9/12/2016

also to linger in those spots on purpose --comes to mind--
I never fooled with D tuning --it has a whole different choking area those guys do wonders with

Aug 10, 2022 - 11:09:44 AM
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1589 posts since 3/19/2008

quote:
Originally posted by banjoy

I'm not sure is my post here is exactly on topic, as it relates more to Earl's tone while sliding and not pitch.This discussion reminded me that Jens Kruger was saying at some workshops I attended about 15 years ago, that Earl would do slides on his fingernail (left-hand, of course) and not on his fingertip, and he demonstrated what he meant showing how Earl did slides ... apparently from observing it first-hand...

Not sure if that had ever come up before in these types of discussions, but has anyone else made the same observations about how Earl executed his slides on his fingernail?


That's correct! The first person I noticed using the nail sliding was Charlie Cushman! After that, I saw Earl doing it in videos and others. It does provide a different sound and I love it.

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