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Jun 18, 2024 - 4:58:17 AM
23 posts since 1/20/2021

Good day fellow banjoists,

John Balch recorded a lovely tuned called Swampgas on one of his albums. Does anyone have [roughly] tabbed out version of it handy?

Regards,

Adam

Jun 18, 2024 - 6:34:45 AM
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Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

4702 posts since 3/11/2004

jbalch is a member here and one of the most helpful people I know. You can ask him directly. He tabs for some of his tunes and may have some help for you. Even the tuning he uses might open the door.

David

Jun 18, 2024 - 11:27:42 AM
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jbalch

USA

8947 posts since 11/28/2003

Adam:

Thanks so much for your interest in that old tune. Unfortunately, I did not complete a TAB book for the ~HOT~ Biscuit Jam cd.  I had about 60% of the tunes written out in TAB but lost them when the pfd files somehow were corrupted on an old computer.   I never got around to re-writing them. 

I do have a complete TAB book for the Carry On John cd. I am happy to email that pdf to anyone who might want a copy.

I have to thought of that tune in a long time.   Swampgas was written way back in 1995 and recorded 20 years ago in 2004. 

Here is the audio on YouTube:  Swampgas   

On the CD it was recorded in double D with the fifth lowered to G (g D A G E).    But I usually played it in double C with the fifth lowered to F (f C G C D).

One hint:  much of the opening melody is played drop-thumb style with a combination of open strings and the 2nd & 3rd string at the 7th fret (rather than the 1st and 2nd down lower).   That makes it easy to reach the highest note in the tune (on the 1st string at the 8th fret).  I hope that helps.

JB

Jun 18, 2024 - 12:56:42 PM
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ottawa_adam

Canada

23 posts since 1/20/2021

Thanks so much for your detailed reply, John!

I would indeed very much appreciate receiving a tab book for your Carry on John CD. I will write to you directly.

Best,

Adam

Jun 18, 2024 - 2:39:45 PM
Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

4702 posts since 3/11/2004

Carry On John is a fine CD, and the tab book is a great help.

David

Jun 18, 2024 - 4:38:49 PM

ottawa_adam

Canada

23 posts since 1/20/2021

quote:
Originally posted by dbrooks

Carry On John is a fine CD, and the tab book is a great help.

David


Agreed on the CD, David. This album is now on my rotations for my mornings during work.

Jun 18, 2024 - 5:08 PM
Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

4702 posts since 3/11/2004

I have a draft of a tab for "Swampgas" in the works.  I need to spend some more time on it. Also, I'd like to share it with John before sharing it on the Hangout. My goal is to give you at least a "roughed out" version you can work with.

David

Jun 18, 2024 - 5:39:13 PM
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3532 posts since 4/19/2008

quote:
Originally posted by ottawa_adam

Good day fellow banjoists,

John Balch recorded a lovely tuned called Swampgas on one of his albums. Does anyone have [roughly] tabbed out version of it handy?


here's the melody, it's minor pentatonic scale


Jun 19, 2024 - 5:48:06 AM

ottawa_adam

Canada

23 posts since 1/20/2021

wow, it looks like I hit the jackpot with this request. Thanks to everyone for responding and helping out.

Adam

Jun 19, 2024 - 7:52:49 AM
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jbalch

USA

8947 posts since 11/28/2003

I REALLY appreciate the interest and the TABs submitted here. THANKS also for dbrooks for sending me his version by e-mail (you should please post it here as an alternative too) !

I have not played this old tune in a very LONG time. But because of the interest I played it this morning and wrote out the attached TAB. I wrote this in double C (with 5th at F) - no capo.    But I think the CD recording with Jack Pearson was done in D.

As I tried to describe earlier, my approach is to play some of this melody in positions that might not be the most obvious.  I do that sometimes to take advantage of the tuning and to create unique voicings ... but mostly just for ease of playing.  I think this simple melody lays out easily as I have tabbed it.  

THANKS AGAIN!


 


Jun 19, 2024 - 12:14:50 PM
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Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

4702 posts since 3/11/2004

I have uploaded my tab arrangement and MP3 to the Tab Library. My tab uses a different tuning and fingering than John's tab. I use sawmill tuning with the 5th string lowered a full step - fDGCD. Raised to the 2nd fret to match the key of John's tune, it becomes gEADE. My tab uses the lower 5 frets while John's version finds the notes up the neck in Part A.

Swampgas - John Balch - Tab by DBrooks Tab - Details and Ratings - Banjo Hangout

David

Jun 19, 2024 - 4:34:53 PM
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jbalch

USA

8947 posts since 11/28/2003

I just want to add that there is nothing more gratifying to me than hearing others play some of these old melodies I wrote and recorded so long ago.THANK YOU again! Truly makes my day! I LOVE hearing your variations. So if you make a recording - please post it and let me hear!

I looked back on my original notes and see that I first tabbed this tune in January 1995 - 29 years ago (wow that makes me feel old). 

Back then, I tabbed everything upside down (5th string on top  made sense to me at the time HA!).  I had no idea how to write TAB correctly.  Just used my notes to keep from forgetting tunes as I composed them.   I have a notebook with a more than 100 original tunes written out this way.   

The original TAB is very close to what I posted earlier


Edited by - jbalch on 06/19/2024 16:50:23

Jun 20, 2024 - 8:19:37 AM
Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

4702 posts since 3/11/2004

Although I have posted my tab arrangement for "Swampgas" based on what I heard on John Balch's recording, I want to endorse the arrangement that John posted here. While there is quite a bit of drop thumb in his arrangement (as there is in my arrangement), the left-hand fingering is quite efficient. It will also take you to new spots on the fretboard (i.e., up the neck) that you may find useful later.

David

Jun 21, 2024 - 10:50:19 AM

ottawa_adam

Canada

23 posts since 1/20/2021

What a fun tune to play, I'm having a great time with it so far!

David, I agree with your assessment, the fingering is pretty efficient and the notes up the neck are interesting too.

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