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Jun 25, 2024 - 4:52:36 AM
327 posts since 9/14/2019

Looking for tab on this - youtube.com/watch?v=9cNT_pAt2f0 - Especially 00:50-1:01 and 3:08-3:16.

I'm not sure if this is standard tuning playing in D or if it's retuned.

Thank you,

John Call

Jun 25, 2024 - 10:20:22 AM
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15437 posts since 6/2/2008

On first listen -- without banjo in hand to confirm -- it sounds to me that it's in key of D with the banjo in standard G tuning. Without slowing it down or trying with banjo I can't tell if the 5th string is spiked to A or left at G. This kind of stuff can be played both ways.

Main keys to this sound are avoiding the open second string B and substituting F for F# -- in other words, playing a "flatted third." It's essentially a blues scale.

When you're rolling on the D chord, don't use the F# note. Try playing open 4th and 1st and fretting 3rd string at 2. Point is to avoid a major sound. It's not necessarily a minor sound, either. Bluesy may be best. I call it "modal" but that may be inaccurate. "Man of Constant Sorrow" and "Tear My Stillhouse Down" are just two of the many songs that have this not major/not minor bluesy/modal sound.

Here's a video lesson on applying this technique to backup. I think it's all down the neck. Even though it's rolling backup, the notes for the down-the-neck solo you want for "Fork in the Road" will be in there.  You'll have to figure out how to move these ideas up-the-neck.

This sounds like the kind of thing I'd like to work out and add to my own skill set. But I'm away from home and don't want to promise I'm going to get to it. Which is why I described the general approach and pointed you to John's backup lesson. Maybe you can find something on your own that works.

Here's another applicable lesson, but it takes some simple transposing. It's Bennett Sullivan teaching Ron Block's version of "Man of Constant Sorrow." It's in F! But it's played with capo at third fret, so the shapes, positions, and notes are the same as D in relation to the new "nut" created by the capo. So: Take the capo off, play all the same stuff (moving it down the neck in relation to the nut), and you'll be in D, getting licks that work on "Fork in the Road" even if they're not exactly what's used in that song.

The first thing you can do to help yourself toward figuring this out is spike your fifth string at 7 and play basic D, G, A chords along with the record -- especially to hear if an A note is used during a G chord. If not, then the fifth string is probably left at G.

Good luck.

Jun 28, 2024 - 5:53:49 PM

327 posts since 9/14/2019

Thanks for the detailed device and videos. That gives me something to go on.

John

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