Sunday, April 12, 2009

Miniseries #002, Playing By Ear VI



Howdy,
If you want to experiment with finding the melody notes, move your way higher up the neck. This will give you a nice variation from playing the lower melody. A good thing to remember about playing "up the neck", is that you will probably be starting out in the 2nd string postion, unlike the open, or 3rd string position played lower. Again I'd like to mention that the melody notes will "likely" come from the basic positions and their relative minors.

Have fun Everyone,
David

Miniseries #002, Playing By Ear VI



Hi Everyone,
Here is an old Gospel classic. I mentioned in the last post that you can narrow your choice of melody notes out through the use of scales. You can also narrow what the melody notes may be by the use of chords. In alot of Bluegrass tunes and songs, you can find the melody notes in the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd string formations we went over in previous lessons. You can also narrow your probable choices down even further by knowing where the relative minors are for the three basic postions. This has also been covered in previous lessons, so you may want to refresh yourselves if that term isn't familiar to you.

Keep on pickin
David

Miniseries #002, Playing By Ear IV



Hi All,
Once you have the melody notes in your head, and you are able to hum those notes, then try to find them on the banjo fretboard. You can usually find the melody notes to alot of songs within the first five frets. Knowing the chords is important too. If you know the basic scales that go along with the basic chords, it will make it easier to find the melody notes, because usually, you can narrow them down to notes within the particular scale.
Once you have the melody notes on the banjo, then you can apply the rolls around them. Try different rolls and pinches to complement the melody notes. You can think about the rolls as being like "strums" of a guitar. Its a filler sound, only instead of strumming, you are rolling or pinching.

Keep it going,
David

Miniseries #002, Playing By Ear III



Hi Everyone,

These next lessons are about playing by ear. Playing by ear means to play an instrument without the aid of musical notation or tablature. It relies purely on listening to something, then trying to play it.

For beginners, the first thing I would suggest is to have command of the basic Scruggs rolls of the the right hand, especially the forward, backward, alternating thumb, and forward/backward rolls. Also, it is important to understand, and be able to use "pinches". All of these techniques can be found in the very first beginner banjo section.

The second thing I would suggest, is to have a basic understanding of chords and the three basic chord formations, those being the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd string formations. These can also be found in the very first beginner lessons.

I think it helps tremendously to be able to sing, or even hum a song or tune, before you attempt to play by ear. Even if you can hum the song in your head, I think this will really help in your playing the banjo by ear.

It also helps to know the chord structure of the song you are trying to play. Try to pick very easy songs to begin with. You can learn the chords to most songs right here on the internet, or by other musicians, or in books.

Usually, for simple songs, you will be able to find the notes to the song you are trying to play, within the first five frets of the five string banjo.

Now, for the fun part! Hum the song very slowly. The notes you sing, or hum in your head, will be the "melody notes". Now sing or hum the very first note. Now, try to find that note on the banjo,"again, usually within the first five frets".Do this for the whole song, one note at a time, until you are playing on the banjo what you are singing or humming.

After you have found all the notes, now try putting any of the basic rolls, or pinches, around the melody notes. This will take some time, but by doing this, you will be playing more like yourself than anyone else, because you are choosing how you want the song to sound.

One last thing.....a very important thing.......remember to keep everything in time. Timing is everything!

Have fun all,

David

Miniseries #002, Playing By Ear II



Hi All,

Just thought I'd show off my new banjo for you all. Its a Huber Granada. Hearts and Flowers. Plays great, great tone......... great Banjer :-)

Miniseries #002, Playing By Ear I



Hi All,

Here is Joe and I playing Home Sweet Home. I have the banjo tuned down to D, and also using D style tuners on the peghead to raise and lower the pitch on a couple strings.

Hope its going well for everyone.

David

Miniseries #001, Beginner Backup VI



Hi Everyone,

In this video you can hear how using the same second string position D chord pattern/lick can be used against the second string position C chord. Also, after you become familiar with different patterns, you can mix the patterns up within the same chord. You can hear in this video where I used one pattern over the first part of the lick, and another pattern over the second half of the lick. In time, you will be playing these things automatically, you won't even be thinking about it, you will just be improvising with these patterns at will.

I would also like to say, that when you are in a Jam Session, and may be you mess up a little with some pattern you are trying to use, just try to keep the right hand in motion, and come back to the pattern or a simple roll. Try to keep the timing going, even if you mess up. Sometimes your perception of a "mistake", will lead you into new territory of the right hand. It will force you to play something that you didnt have planned, but in the end, will help you develope your right hand into doing things that perhaps you thought you couldn't do.

Keep it going everyone,
and good luck with your jam sessions!

David

Miniseries #001, Beginner Backup VI



Hi Everyone,

Here is another pattern/lick that we can use over the second string position D chord. You can also use this pattern/lick over any other second string position chord. When a pattern/lick can be used over different chords, that is known as a "moveable" lick. You can "move" it to any chord of the same position up and down the entire neck of the banjo.

David

Miniseries #001, Beginner Backup IV



Hi All,

Again I made a verbal mistake, the C chord lick in this video is a lick with an ALTERNATING thumb roll.......my apologies.

In this video we are using a full, second string position C chord. We can also use a leadin Scruggs type lick to go into the C chord. All we are doing with this C chord position is creating another pattern, and using some different left hand techniques within the pattern to create this C chord lick. I would also like to say that most any pattern you find, can be used against any chord using the same position. For example......if you use a second string postion C chord pattern/lick, you can use it on any of the twelve chords......that holds true with any pattern/lick used with the fourth and third strings positions as well. I encourage you to come up patterns on your own, and try using your own patterns over different chords. The more patterns you know, the more you will be able to improvise with backup. You can then substitute different pattern/licks within any song backup you wish. Remember that these pattern/licks are not used for the melody, they are used to compliment the group of musicians, within the "big picture" of sound.

David

Miniseries #001, Beginner Backup III



Hi All,

First of all, I'd like to say I made a verbal mistake in this video, that being the scruggs lick at the end was an Alternating thumb lick, I made a mistake by calling it a forward/backward roll/lick. It is an Alternating thumb lick. If you read the tab, you will see it being an Alternating thumb lick.

In this video, we are going to stick with the same pattern, only this time we are going to use a 2-5 slide on the fourth string. This technique is used ALOT in bluegrass, and is used a lot for backup and soloing as well. The 2-5 slide gives the backup a more driving sound, and with the use of the forward roll, propels the roll a little more, instead of with no slide. I'm not saying that you have to use the slide all the time, but can be used however you like. It just one more left hand technique to enhance the roll, and give the roll a classic Bluegrass Banjo Backup sound.

Have fun Everyone,

David

Miniseries #001, Beginner Backup II



Hi Everyone,

We are going to use this pattern over three chords.....those chords being G,C and D. A lot of songs in Bluegrass will have the same flavor to them, and in this video a song instantly comes to mind.........Bill Monroes' most popular song Wink

In this video, when we play the C chord roll with the one finger at the second fret, fourth string, we are actually getting the flavor of a Cadd9. All that means is that we take a Cmaj triad and add the ninth degree of the C scale to create a chord extension. We can use extensions on any chord to create different colors or feeling in our backup. We can use chord extensions over any major chord that maybe be played by other musicians. An example would be the guitar playing a chord of Cmaj., and the banjo can use Cmaj, or any extension of Cmaj., like a C7, C6, C9, Cadd9........or any chord extension you would like to use. Adding these extensions to your backup rolls and chords will change the feel in your backup. Playing a C7 will give it a bluesy sound, a C6 a more Jazzy sound.....and so on.
I'll be explaining much much more about this in future lessons, If it doesnt make sense right now.....no worries....it will in the future. We have to start with small steps first, then move forward from there. Again I'd like to say that simple backup, usally sounds the best.

We are also using the same roll pattern of the D chord in this vid.
When we play the third string fretted behind the second fret, we are rolling this pattern through the chord of D. Again we are using using notes of an extension of the D chord, in this case the sound of the open fifth string may be thought of as the fourth degree of the D scale, but again, don't worry about any of this theory right now, it will all make sense in due time.

We can also use simple licks anywhere we want, in this video I used a simple Scruggs lick to end the roll pattern. The use of a simple lick can fill up empty space, an example would be when the singer stops singing for a breath, or before another verse starts, we can fill up the space with a simple lick.

Roll On Everyone!

David

Miniseries #001, Beginner Backup I



Hi Everybody,

In this next video series we are going to talk a little bit about beginning backup on the five string. Playing backup is a very important part of playing with other musicians......The Jam Session!. There are many different ways to approach backup, and we are going to start with a simple forward roll pattern, then use the same pattern over several chords. By using a simple pattern, we are not actually playing any melody notes on any given song you may be jamming on, but instead we are creating a droning effect, sort of like strumming a guitar, but on the banjo we will be using roll patterns to create that effect. I would also like to say that a lot of times, the simplest backup will sound the best. This is the time to compliment the other musicians around you. Try to keep the best timing you can for whatever instrument, or whoever singer may be soloing.

David





Lesson #122, Cumberland Gap X



Hi Everybody,

Lets finish up the song in this video. I can't really say too much more about the versions that we just went over, other than it was to show you some of the things that you can do with the Pentatonic scale and Relative minors. Like I said from the beginning, music is always expanding, and there is always something new to create, and to learn.

Experimentation is the key to developing your own style, and your own thoughts of the fingerboard. I would love to hear your own versions of any songs or tunes that you create.

Roll Away

David

Lesson #121, Cumberland Gap IX



Hi Everybody,

We are almost finished with this song. Here is the continuation of the previous video and working ourselves almost all the way up the neck, again thinking about the pentatonic scale, and major and relative minors. Keep in mind from the beginning lessons that the 12th fret is where all of the notes start over again. Try to visualize the nut at the 12th fret and compare the chord shapes from the nut upward, to the 12th upward. They are exactly the same!

David

Lesson #120, Cumberland Gap VIII



Hi All,

In this video you can hear that I harmonized the pentatonic scale in yet another way. Again, you can harmonize a scale anyway you'd like, to come up with some very interesting sounds, lines, or licks. You can see and hear in one portion of this version where I worked one of modes with that harmonization in this video.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask with PM's or in the forums, and I will answer your questions as best I can.

Rock On the Moose

David

Lesson #119, Cumberland Gap VII



Hi Everyone,

Here is one more version of Cumberland Gap. In this video I'm playing mostly Scruggs style with a hint of Keith/Thompson style thrown in as well in one spot. In this version, I thought I would try to encompass the entire neck without to much emphasis on chord positions, but instead, try to look at the neck as a whole.

Also, by mastering the different rolls of the right hand, you will come to be able to do many things with your right hand. You will come to feel what your right hand should do, depending on where you want to take any piece of music you are playing. This is an advanced approach, but its good to look over it anyways. I constantly try to look at the fingerboard in different ways, sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I fail at what I'm trying to play. But it certainly keeps things interesting, and it certainly helps to become more familiar with the fingerboard.

Let it Roll,

David

Lesson #118, Cumberland Gap VI



Hi Everyone,

In this video, I again go over that descending line, which is coming directly from the Harmonized modes of the Pentatonic scale. There is so much you can do with this scale in any style or type of music you wish to pursue. I always encourage exploring these things on your own to develope your own playing and your own distinct sound that will eventually come out.

Also in this video when we came back down the neck, I put in a brush to break it up a little bit more. You can always try to put different techniques into any line, or lick, that you wish. Try variations with Hammer Ons, Pull/push Offs, slides, brushes, or any left hand technique you can come up with.

Be a scientist, and explore, explore, explore.

David

Lesson #117, Cumberland Gap V



Hi All,

In the beginning of this video I am switching between the X and Y positions (see lessons on Vamping), to create different tones within the same licks. Try experimenting with the X and Y positions to hear the different tones that you like hearing.

The variation in this video is coming straight from the use of harmonization with the pentatonic scale. The harmonization I used in this video is from two notes within the modes on the first and second strings. The only thing I did to come up with this descending line was to link the harmonizations with the forward/backward roll. If you look at measures 7,8,and 9 in the up the neck tab, you will see for yourself that it is coming directly from the pentatonic scale and its modes.

Rock On,

David

Lesson #116, Cumberland Gap IV



Hi All,

Lets move up the fretboard to play another variation on Cumberland Gap. Since we've been working on the pentatonic scale and relative minors, lets take a look at the G chord using the second string position at the eighth fret, and also lets look at the E minor chord using the third string position at the ninth fret. Those are the chord positions we will think about in this video.

If you look at the E minor triad in this video, we are freeing our pinky to do a little fret work around this position. This section is a very close version to the playing of Earl. I believe that when Earl played this portion, he was straying from the melody and working around the relative minor with a bit of chromatics. Remember from previous lessons that playing something chromatically is playing in half steps, so the notes of A and A# throughout this section would be considered chromatic. I'll be explaining more about the use of chromatics in future lessons.

The roll patterns and licks in this section can be used in many tunes and songs in the Scruggs style, and if you listen to much Bluegrass banjo, you will probably hear many variants from these licks that earl used in Cumberland Gap.

Try to come up with your own variations in and around this relative minor position. There are many possibilities.

David

Lesson #115, Cumberland Gap III



Hi Everyone,

In this video I came up with a variation for the last measures in the first part of this song using an E minor position, which we know from our studies of relative minors will work over the chord of G major, which is the key of this song.

Lets take a look at the position for a moment. If we form an E major chord using the second string position on the second string, fifth fret, we have an E major chord. Now we flat the third degree (from lessons on Minor chords), and you can see in the video we now have an E minor triad. I based this section on the E minor chord using the second string position. Its just a little variation to break up the more standard version.

You can see the importance of understanding the relative minor within this variation. Its use is coming directly from the relative minor. Try to come up with your own variations using the relative minor, its a cool way to spice a piece up.

Also mentioned in this video was listening to your own playing. When you are playing any given tune or song, does it sound right to you? Do you think the timing is right? If you think something doesn't quite sound right, you are probably correct. By listening to your own playing , whether you record yourself, or just listening to what you are playing at any given time, will tell yourself what you probably need to work on, and is good for self evaluation.

Keep it rollin,

David

Lesson #114, Cumberland Gap II



Hi Everybody,

These next videos will take apart Cumberland Gap and start to explore other portions of the neck. From the studies of the modes of the pentatonic scale we can apply it directly to this song to the extent of the entire fretboard.

You can take any of the licks that you learn in this song and use them over the G major or the Relative minor, that being E minor. This song is in the key of G, and if you look to the tab, there are only a few measures where there is a chord change to D. So there are a lot of licks within this song that will work over the major or relative minor.

This is also a great song to work on your rolls, and the timing of your rolls. Always strive for perfect timing, it is one the most important aspects of playing music.
Timing........is.........everything!

David

Lesson #113, Harmonizing with the Pentatonic Scale II



Hi Everybody,

Keeping with the harmonizations of the pentatonic scale, lets play some three note harmonies now. You can see and hear from the video that adding one more note to make triads up and down the neck with this scale will help in hearing things in different ways, and will definelty help you to understand the fretboard and have a better understanding of improvisation when you get to that point in your playing.

Remember you can pick out any notes you want from a mode and apply the same degrees to any of the other modes. I would encourage you to do alot of exploration with these modes on your own. I will be offering my own ideas along the course of future lessons as well, to help you along, but exploring on your own will bring out your individual styles, and that is one of the coolest things about music.

You can also explore the pentatonic scale within the Scruggs, Keith/Thomspon and Single String styles. You can hear in the video that by playing this scale with a Keith/Thompson approach will bring out yet more ways to explore the fingerboard. I know it may seem like a lot of work, but try to keep it all fun, and try to keep it exciting by exploring the different sounds you can get from the five string banjo. By exploring the fretboard in this way, you may just find yourself playing some cool things in your next jam without even realizing it!

In the next videos we will pick apart the song Cumberland Gap, and explore some of the ways we can use these techniques and studies of the Pentatonic scale in the Scruggs style.

Keep them fingers rollin everyone, and as always, Rock On!

David

Lesson #112, Harmonizing with the Pentatonic Scale I



Hi Everyone,

Lets talk a little bit about harmonizing the pentatonic scale patterns that we just went over. First lets just play the scale on one string. Since we are working on the G major pentatonic scale.....G A B D E..... lets use those notes and play them all on the 4th string all the way up and down the fingerboard. Now try the notes on the 3rd string. Then to the 2nd, 1st and even fifth if you'd like. Playing the scale on one string up and down the fretboard will bring you to know the fingerboard very well.

Now lets start to harmonize this scale. To harmonize means to take two or more notes and play them together. Lets use octaves for our first harmonization. Since we know that an octave occurs between the 1st and 4th strings, we can easily use this up and down the fretboard. You can hear that using octaves gives us a Rock sound, or even a Blues sound because of the pentatonics' scale nature.

Since you know the modes of the pentatonic scale in G major, that being the tabbed out patterns we went over, lets take two notes out of each mode and work them up and down the fretboard. Lets start by taking the fourth and five degree of each mode, and play the two notes up and down the fretboard. These are scale fragments, we can use them as two note chords by playing them together, or we can use them as single string notes to play over the chords of G major or E minor.

You can take any two degrees of the modes to play any harmonizations you can come up with. It would be good practice to find as many ways as you can to harmonize with two notes to begin with. By exploring these harmonizations on your own, you will start to develope your own ear, and begin to see the fretboard in your own way. This will help to eventually perpetuate your own style on the five string banjo.

Keep on Rollin, keep on Rockin.

David

Lesson #111, Pentatonic Scales III



Hello Everybody,

So what does mode or modes mean? I'll tell you........If we look at the pentatonic scale, or any other scale for that matter, we can play what is called the modes, and all this means is that we are going to start and end the scale on different notes, or degrees of the scale. The G major pentatonic scale consists of the notes G A B D E.........if we start this scale on the A note which would be the notes of A B D E G.......we have a mode of the G major pentatonic scale starting and ending on A. We can start and end a mode on any of the notes we want to in the scale, and by doing that with the patterns I have tabbed out in these lessons, you will become more familiar with the banjos' fingerboard, so give all of the modes of the pentatonic scale a good go over.

Remember as well that you can play any of the modes from the G major pentatonic scale and play them over the relative minor, in this case it is E minor, or in other words the E natural minor. Playing the modes is a great place to explore your improvisations once you become familiar with them, and once you do become familiar with them, you will start to see and hear them in the Scruggs style within the rolls and licks, and also in the Keith/Thompson melodic style, or in the string style, and in any form of music you wish to pursue on the five string banjo.

Put your picks on and dig into some Banjo ala mode!

David

Lesson #110, Pentatonic Scales II



IMPORTANT NOTE....... The only notes that are missing from the standard tuning are the A note and the "E" note. I misspoke and said B note instead of E note concerning the pentatonic scale.

Hi All,

The Pentatonic scale is widely used in the Scruggs style. If we look at the standard tuning of the five string banjo we will see and hear that the notes of G D G B D are contained in the pentatonic scale. The only notes missing from the standard tuning are the the notes of A and E.

Since we are working on this scale in these lessons, you can think about all the rolls you've learned from the beginning when played open, as coming from the pentatonic scale. A lot of the licks that we went over came right from this scale as well.

Looking back on the song Cripple Creek, every note in that song can be thought of as coming from the pentatonic scale. There are no "outside" notes. The rolls, and the licks within this version of Cripple Creek are coming from the pentatonic scale.

Joe and I play the song in this video, and you can hear that I played the exact same version over the guitar chords of G major and E minor. Again, you can hear how versatile this scale can be in the Scruggs Style in Bluegrass, and in just about any other type, or styles of Music you wish to pursue.

Keep it Rolling Everyone,

David

Lesson #109, Pentatonic Scales I



Hi Everyone,

In the next few lessons we are going to discuss the pentatonic scale and some of the things we can do with it. The pentatonic scale is a five note scale. Just like the Pentagon is a five sided building, the pentatonic scale is a five note scale. Penta means five. This five note scale is widely used in many forms of music, including Bluegrass, Blues, Jazz, Rock and others. It is a very important scale, and we will Jive with the Five.

In this video you see a basic scale pattern of the pentatonic scale for G major. If you look at the tab it will be the second measure starting with the fourth string fretted at the fifth fret. This is a good pattern to learn because we are going to expand on this pattern in future lessons.

Going back to previous lessons I mention again that when you fret the 4th string anywhere on the neck, if you fret the 1st string at the same fret you will get the same note, the only difference is that one is higher in pitch (an octave apart). We also know from previous lessons that when you fret the 1st string anywhere above the 5th fret, when you fret the 5th string at the same fret you will get the exact same note. This is important when we look at the scales in the tablature, in that anywhere the fourth string is fretted, the first string is fretted at the same frets. Although in these tabbed patterns the 5th string is not fretted, you can hear for yourself that fretting the 5th string anywhere you see the 1st string fretted you will get the exact
same note.

The pentatonic scale is also very, very versatile. Three V's. It is so versatile that it will sound good when played over its associated Major Chord or the Relative Minor!

That was so important I had to put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence! Yep I did it again.........................its a very exciting, very cool scale!

Rock on the Moose!

David

Lesson #108, Relative Minor Chords



Hi All,

Lets discuss Relative Minor Chords now. In order to fully understand the relative minor chords, you should have a good grasp on scale and chord construction. If you don't quite remember those lessons, you should go back to those beginner lessons and refresh yourself before heading into these lessons on the relative minors.

Just as the Major "scale" has its relative counterpart, that being the Natural Minor "scale",a Major "chord" has its counterpart as well, that being its Relative minor "chord". An easy way to find the relative minor of any Major chord is to find the Root of either the 4th, 3rd, or 2nd string positions. Then to find the relative minor note, all you have to do is drop back 3 frets (3 half steps).....to find the note that names the relative minor chord associated with the Major chord you are working on. You can also look to the relative minor chord by finding the sixth degree of any Major scale, this method will name the relative minor chord as well.

Lets just look at term relative or "natural" minor for a moment. I like to think about this term as in a Mother having identical twin babies. The babies are very close, hard to tell apart, but none the less, they are different. Lets say the twins grow up a bit, and the twins want to play a trick on someone, by switching themselves in whatever trick they are trying to play. We can do the same thing in music with the Major and Relative minors..............We can substitute one for the other when we want to. These substitutions will play an important roll in understanding Bluegrass, Blues, Rock, Jazz, or any other type of music you wish to pursue on the Banjo.

It would be good practice for you to find all the Brothers and Sisters of the twelve major chords. Its the Natural thing to do!

Rock On,

David

Lesson #107, Relative Minors II



Hi Everyone,

Lets take a quick look at the banjos' fretboard. Lets find a G note on the first five frets.............found one yet? Can you find two G notes? Can you find more? We can find four G notes within the first five frets.......Two of them are open on the third string and fifth strings, and two of them are fretted.......one on the fourth string fretted at the fifth fret, and another on the first string fretted at the fifth fret. Some of the G notes are of identical pitch..........can you find which ones? The G note fretted on the fourth string at the fifth fret is identical in pitch to the open third string. The first string fretted at the fifth fret is identical to the fifth strings played open. Why is this important?


I've had some questions in the forums on why I approached a scale like I did in a previous video. By Reading the paragraph above, you can see that there are many different way to play a scale on the fretboard of the banjo. Lets look at the first two notes of a G major scale.....they are.....G and A........so........staying in the first five frets of the banjo, we have FOUR options to start our G major scale off!

Two of the G notes are an octave apart, so that must be taken into consideration as well, do we want the scale to sound higher in pitch or lower in pitch? Now lets look at the A note......where can we find and an A note. Lets look at the first seven frets now. We can find one at the third string fretted at the second fret...we can find one at the fourth string fretted at the seventh fret, first string fretted at the seventh fret and fifth string fretted at the seventh fret as well. So now to connect the G and A notes together in sequence, we have more options.

It would be good practice for you to take a G major scale and try to find as many ways you can play it as you can, on fretted strings, open strings, and combinations of them both........how many can you find?

In finding ways that you like to play them, you will be developing your own ways to think about the fingerboard. I will be giving my own examples along the way as well, and it will be fun to compare many different ways to approach the five strings on the banjo, and all the cools sounds that can come out.

Lets look more at the term Relative Minor. The G major scale has a Relative. That relative is called the Natural or relative minor scale. The G major scale contains the same notes as the E natural minor scale. The only difference is what note the scale starts and ends at. The Gmajor scales starts and ends on a G note, and the E natural minor scale starts and ends on an E note.


Both of these scales contain one #.........that being an F#..........looking at a piece of Musical notation and seeing that the key signature has one sharp ontop of the F line in the staff, we know that this piece of music is in the key of G major, or E minor.

The relative minors in scales and chords will play in a big part in understanding our improvisations in our soloing and in our backup.

Keep it going everyone, if you have any questions, we are always around to answer them.

Rock On the Moose.

David

Lesson #106, Relative Minors I



Hello Everyone,

In order to understand the term "Relative Minor", lets first look at the staff in standard musical notation. By viewing the chart in this video, you can see some of the things you will encounter when reading sheet music and how it pertains to Relative Minors.

Every Major scale in music (there are 12 of them), has a different amount of #'s or b's (sharps or flats) within the scale. Also, every Major scale has a Relative, that Relative is called a Relative Minor scale, or can also be called a Natural Minor scale.

Play a C major scale on the banjo......now name the notes as you play the scale. There are no #'s or b's. Play a G major scale........name the notes again.......now there is one #...that being an F# note. You can play all of the twelve major scales to find out how many, and also what the names of the sharps or flats are within any major scale.

Although I'm going to discuss what is known as the "Circle of Fifths" in future lessons, pertaining to #'s and b's, the only thing I would like for you to understand at this point in time is the term, Relative or Natural Minor.

Since every Major scale has a DIFFERENT number of sharps or flats.......by looking at the Key signature to the right of the Clef.......in this video you see one sharp.... that is the key signature....since the G major scale is the only major scale with one sharp contained within it, we know that this piece of music is in the KEY of G major....... or........its relative minor......we'll get into that soon.

Since every Major scale has a Relative Minor scale associated with it.... THAT RELATIVE MINOR SCALE CONTAINS THE EXACT NUMBER OF SHARPS OR FLATS AS......ITS RELATIVE MAJOR SCALE.

We will continue to discuss this in the next lessons, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

David

Lesson #105, Cumberland Gap I



Hi All,

Throughout these next videos and this next series of five string banjo lessons, we are going to have quite a lengthy discussion about our next song, that being the Cumberland Gap. Along with breaking this song down note for note, we will also be discussing Relative minors, more on chords, and a very important scale called the pentatonic scale. Aspects of these lessons will carry themselves over to any type of music you wish to pursue on the five string banjo, especially the fundamentals of Bluegrass, Blues, Rock, and Jazz. Keep it Rollin Everyone.

David





Lesson #104, Minor Chords IV



Hi Everyone,

Practice these new chord shapes in the three full positions. Since they are new to you , they will feel a little weird at first, so take your time and get these new minor chords under your fingers.

It is also important to finger these new formations using just three notes with your left hand......especially with the second string position, and the bar position.

Practice these minor chords with the index, middle and ring finger of your left hand leaving your pinky free. This will help later when we start to work with upper neck fretting in our soloing, and in our backup in the scruggs style.

Keep it goin Everyone,

David

Lesson #103, Minor Chords III



Hi All,

Always remember........where ever you have the 1 within your major or minor triads.............that is the root............that note is what you are going to name your major or minor triad chords. If you need to refresh yourself, you can always go back in the lessons to "naming notes on the fingerboard", in the beginning banjo lessons.

Rock on All,

David

Lesson #102, Minor Chords II



Hi All,

CLOCKWISE........... I made a verbal mistake at one point in this video. The rotation will be clockwise as you move up the fretboard.

The formula for a minor chord is this......the 1, 3b and the 5. That is the formula for a minor chord. Since we know from previous lessons where the 1,3,5 notes are along the fretboard with the major chords, all we have to do to form minor chords is to flat the 3. Remember to flat a note, all we have to do is go back one half step, or one fret. Waalaa........we now can form all of the minor chords on the five string banjo and also we know why they are minor chords.

Keep it going everyone, if you have any questions, just give us a holler.

Rock on,

David

Lesson #101, Minor Chords I



Hi Everyone,

In this next series of lessons we will be discussing Minor chords. The Minor chords will come to you very easily if you've learned the Major chords and their construction. Every chord has a formula, and we will be discussing many formulas in the future. Its the science of music!

David

Lesson #100, Amazing Grace VI



Hi Everyone,

I hope you've enjoyed the series on Amazing Grace. I sure did enjoy bringing the lessons to you. Keep it going everyone, and feel free to ask any questions along the way.

David

Lesson #099, Amazing Grace V



Hi All,

Continuing with Amazing Grace. All I would like to say about this video is that if you don't want to use the hammer on in the D/D7 chord portion, you can leave it out as in the C Chord portion. Again, play whatever is comfortable for you. The song will sound fine with or without the hammer ons. Just be careful of the timing.

David

Lesson #098, Amazing Grace IV

Lesson #097, Amazing Grace III



Hi Everyone,

I noticed a little mistake I made while watching this video. I want to make sure you have these "three" notes correct while going through this video. The note before the first fretted note within this video is an open second string, then the next note is the fourth string fretted behind the third fret (that being the first fretted note), then the third string fretted behind the second fret. I just want to make that clear while you watch this video. If you can read the tab accompaniment, that will show you the correct notes as well.

I started out this video with a 3/4 time picking pattern. It will help if you practice this pattern before attempting to learn this song. Actually, I like to play this pattern before the song begins so as to set the tempo and timing within this song.

If you have any questions about any videos here on the moose, please let me know and I will certainly help you through anything that I'm able to.

There is one more thing I'd like to add.......you can use the picking pattern in this video for backup as well. All you have to do is pick this pattern through an open G chord and use it as well through a two finger C and D7 chords when they change. You dont even have to worry about the Eminor chord because the open picking pattern will work beautifully over the minor.

David

Lesson #096, Amazing Grace II

Lesson #095, Amazing Grace I



Hi Everyone,

Here is the next song we will go over in the beginners section, that being the great Gospel song Amazing Grace. My brother Joe and I play the song for you so you can get a feel for this arrangement.

This song is in 3/4 timing. All of the previous lessons thus far in the beginning banjo lessons have been in 4/4 timing. In order for you to get the feel for this song, we will go over a few aspects of 3/4 timing before we begin breaking this arrangement down. I hope you enjoy the series on one of the all time, classic Gospel songs, Amazing Grace.

David

Lesson #094, Cripple Creek VII



Hi Everyone,

There are a couple more variations in this video if you'd like to try them out on the cripple creek. Hope you've enjoyed playing the song now, and I hope you enjoy it even more many years down the road!

In the next series of lessons we will start to get into chord extensions , back-up and a little more theory to keep you busy.

Keep it going everyone!

David

Lesson #093, Cripple Creek VI



Hi Everyone,

Always try to get your left hand techniques just as nice and clean as you can, that is something strive for as you progress .

If you would like to use a metronome to help you with the timing variations discussed in this series, feel free. You can set your metronome very slowly at first, and you can tap your foot along or whatever and however you feel comfortable to understand the timing the best way that you can understand it.

Listen closely to the slides in this video, the variations are quite subtle, but definetly worth exploring.

Be aware of the rests in the notation and of the slides being carried over into other measures.

Timing is everything! Roll Away,

David

Lesson #092, Cripple Creek V



Hi Everybody,

I started out this video with a song I learned along time ago......Wont you come home Bill Bailey......in the style of Don Reno. Eventually we will be going over the styles of many players....from the early pioneers of Reno, Scruggs and Stanely, to the styles of more modern and progressive players as well. I myself love it all, from the ultra-traditional to the ultra-modern/progressive. Remember there is ALWAYS room for expansion.....it is never ending, and that is the coolest thing, in my opinion, about music.

The first part of this song is pretty straight forward....rolls and left hand techniques that we have already gone over. Take your time and enjoy one of the classic banjo songs of all time.

Rock On All,
David

Lesson #091, Cripple Creek IV



Hi Everyone,

Lets look at measure 2 . Lets look at the 2-4 slide first. Remember we only pick the 2 in the 2-4 slide, but the sound of the 4 within the slide counts as an eighth note in measure 2.

Looking at the standard notation now we see how that 2-4 slide looks in the notation as well as the eighth note of second string being played open in the tablature. When we play our slide.... as our sliding finger reaches the 4th fret.....we are also picking the second string open.... you can see how that looks in the standard notation. I hope its not too confusing .....if it is.....just give me a holler and I'll explain it further.

The chords for the songs and tunes are also shown in the tablature. Sometimes the chord change will occur within a measure. You can also look below the chord to the exact note it is lining up with to see how the chords change. Everything lines up..........the tab.....the notation...and the chords.

Good luck with tab and notation everyone. If you have any questions, just let us know, we'll help you through it.

Rock On,

David

Lesson #090, Cripple Creek III



Hi Everyone,

Let me first say that in measure 6, that is a quarter note rest. I mis spoke at one point calling it an eighth note rest.....it is a QUARTER note rest.

Looking at measure 6 we see that it starts with the rest. The other s in measure 6 are quarter notes. So we can count measure 6 like this.........1 2 3 4
Remember we dont play the 1.... we only play the 2 3 4.

Lets look at measure 5 now. It starts with 4 eighth notes, then 1 quarter note, then 2 more eighth notes. The last 2 eighth notes are coming from the 2-5 slide that you see in the tablature. When we play the 2-5 slide we only pick the first note(the2), but the sound of slide when we reach the 5th fret gives us the sound of another eighth note and must be counted as well. You can see what the markings for a slide look like in the tablature as well.

Lets look at measure 12 and 13 now. Measure 12 starts with 4 eighth notes followed by 2 quarter notes giving us our count of 4 beats for that measure. If we look at the last quarter note in measure 12 it is a slide. Remember we are only picking the 2 in the 2-5 slide.

Now......looking at the first note in measure 13 it is a quarter note......but that note is also the second note of the 2-5 slide.....so we dont pick that note, but it is being sounded in the slide and being counted as quarter note. These are some of the subleties I was talking about. The timing in these slides is affected by how fast we perform the slides. You will see what I mean in these upcoming lessons of cripple creek.

David

Lesson #089, Cripple Creek II



Hi Everyone,

I'd like to explain a little bit more about tablature and standard musical notation in this series of cripple creek. The tablature you are looking at is the bottom five horizontal lines. These five lines are separated by vertical lines. The distance between the vertical lines is called a measure or bar. The measures are also numbered in red. Remember that every measure contains 4 beats.

The five lines of tablature represent the five strings of the banjo. The top line represents the first string, the second line the second string and so on. When you see a circle on top of a line, that means that you play the string open("no fretting"). When you see a number on top of a line, that number represents the fret of that string to be fingered.

Looking at the lines above the tablature you will see the staff containing musical notation. The sole purpose of this musical notation at this time in these lessons is tohelp you with the timing involved with the tablature. If you look at the tablature, every note of the tab has a note in musical notation directly above it. Looking at the first measure you will see that three notes are being played at once( we are using a pinch to do this). The first measure in standard notation you will see what the WHOLE note looks like. The notes in the first measure are also stacked on top of each other, that means we play them all at once using a pinch. Since they are whole notes, we only play the pinch once because the whole note has a count of 4

Looking at the second measure now( it is numbered in red), we will see 8 eighth notes. Remember the eighth note has the flag coming off of it. In standard notation when two eighth notes are playing consecutively(one after the other), they are tied together with the black line you see in the video. That makes it look nice on paper. An eighth note has 1/2 beat associated with it, so playing 8 of them in the second measure is giving us our 4 beats for that measure. You will see the 8 notes that we are playing in the tablature directly below as well.

Lets look at the third measure now. The third measure contains 4 eighth notes and 2 quarter notes. The first 4 notes are eighth notes and the next notes are quarter notes. We can count the third measure like this.......1 and 2 and 3 4 ........that gives us our 4 beats for that measure. That is how we would play that measure on the banjo.

Remember we have to play a pinch when notes are stacked on top of each other.

Roll On Everyone.

David

Lesson #088, Cripple Creek I



Hi Everyone,

In these series of lessons we are going to go over the well know banjo tune Cripple Creek. We will take this tune apart and discuss more on timing. In the playing style of Scruggs, there are many subtleties that lay within his playing. Especially subtleties in some of the timings throughout his lines and in his backup. We will start to explore the basics of some of these subtleties in the series on Cripple Creek.

To help us understand these subtleties, lets take a look at rests used in standard musical notation. A "rest" in musical notation means that we aren't going to play anything when we see the symbol for the four rests we are going over. If we see a "whole rest"...we wont play for 4 beats. If we see a "half rest"...we wont play for 2 beats. If we see a "quarter rest"....we wont play for one beat. If we see an "eighth rest"...we wont play for 1/2 of a beat.

The rest symbols shown in the video are the symbols used in standard notation. We will go over this in more detail in the following lessons. I hope you enjoy Cripple Creek everyone..............goin up cripple creek and have alittle fun...........

Rock On,

David







Lesson #087, Eighth of January VI



Hi Everyone,

We are going to finish up on the Eighth of January in this lesson. Again there is not a lot more I can say on this tune except to always be aware of the timing. Always remember that if you are having any trouble with the timings of any of the tunes or songs presented, look to the tablature and STANDARD NOTATION just above the tab. When I did the series on rhythm and counting......that series was done to help you with the all important timings of everything you play. All you have to do is look at the measure you may be having difficultly with and look to the notation above the tab and Count the measure out with the use of the Four notes we went over in the rhythm and counting series. Those very important .......... Whole note.....Half note.......Quarter note........ and Eighth note timing counts associated with them.

Always try to have fun Everyone, Learning new things should be fun and exciting! I hope Im not boring you. lol

David

Lesson #086, Eighth of January V



Hi All,

Lets continue on with the second half of the Eighth of January. There's not a lot more I can say about this section other than to take your time and be aware of the timing in your right hand. You can see again in this section that even though we are playing in the Keith/Thompson style, we are still basically using the rolls of the right hand. Take your time in your playing and try to get those notes as clean as you can.

Rock On

David

Lesson #085, Eighth of January IV



Hi Everyone,

Lets continue on with the Eighth of January. In this video you can see that I played a slight variation on the first part that we previously went over. Instead of stopping by using that 1/4 note, all we are doing is continuing the line using 1/8 notes. You can play the section either way. You can hear the difference for yourself playing the first way and with the variation.

Playing these slight variations in tunes and songs gives them a different flavor to keep interest in the tune, instead of just playing it in only one way. When you become more familiar with the banjo and its fingerboard you will be able to create different "colors" in your playing through improvisation. Playing these variations will help you understand the different colors of improvisation in just this one way of playing 1/4 notes in spots and the use of 1/8th as well. This is adding color by the use of different timings. There are many ways to add color, breaking the notes up is just one way.

Roll Away,

David

Lesson #084, Eighth of January III



Hi Everyone,

Lets Play! In this tune you will be fretting the fifth string for the first time. You can see in the video that we can use the Ring finger or the Thumb to execute some of these lines. You should try it both ways to see what may be more comfortable for yourself. Also when you bring your thumb over to the fifth string you will have to accomodate your left arm, maybe lifting it a little bit to be able to grab that fifth string.

I'd also like to mention that a misspoke in a spot in this video saying I was using a forward roll on 1st ,2nd and fifth strings, when we are actually using a Backward roll. So just be conscious of that as you work your way through the video. Keep it going everyone and enjoy.

David

Lesson #083, Eighth of January II



Hi Everyone,

Before we get into playing this tune, lets start by playing a G major scale in the Keith/Thompson style. You can see in the video how we are going to approach this scale. When you pick this scale for yourself you can feel the motion of the right hand, and it is basically using the alternating thumb roll. In later lessons when we start to move up the neck perhaps going towards a second octave with some of these scales, we will feel the forward and backward rolls in different places on the neck as well. Its very important to learn the all of the basic rolls from previous lessons first! before giving this tune a try.

You can also see in the video that I gave you a few two finger positions to work on a little bit before you actually start to play this tune. It will help your left hand fingers to know where they are going and how it feels before you start to pick. Good luck with Eighth of January all.

David

Lesson #082, Eighth of January I



Hi Everyone,

In the next series of lessons we are going to take a look at an old fiddle tune titled the Eighth of January. We are also going to approach this tune in the Keith/Thompson style or sometimes called the "melodic" style. The K/T style started off by practice use of scales on the banjo. The approach to strings is a little different than the approach of Scruggs, although we can still relate the K/T style to the rolls and motions of the right hand. It pretty much comes down to the alternating thumb roll that we went over in previous lessons, and also the forward and backward rolls.

I though to give you this example of this style pretty early so can see and hear for yourself just another way to approach the five strings. It is also good excersise for the right hand to utilize the strings in a different way than just with the rolls. As we continue to work on many things in the future, your right hand will become very versatile when learning and working on new tunes, and in your playing in general. Hope you enjoy the Eighth of January.

David

Lesson #081, The Major Scale & Playing Styles On The Banjo



Hey Moosers,

cool thing my friends.I'd like to talk a little bit about different styles on the Five String Banjo. As you know, I started these lessons out with the Scruggs style of playing.......the rolls.....the rolls....the rolls.....those ever present rolls. I cant tell you enough how important learning the different rolls are.....they are the matter by which we will navigate all the different ways and styles on the fingerboard. We can relate the rolls to the Keith/Thompson style (melodic) and we can also relate the rolls to the single string style. We can mix them up....keep em straight.......play it here....play it there.....we can literally do whatever we want whenever we want. Thats a veeery

When the three finger style of Scruggs was being developed, it wasnt really associated with playing scales. Although we can play the rolls around melody notes that do come from scales in that style, it isnt a style that totally defines or outlines any scales. In later years a couple of guys came up with an approach of playing scales on the Banjo, they being Bill Keith and Bobby Thompson. Two outstanding players who changed the way the banjo was approached. I'll be delving into their approach in future lessons, but still we can apply the rolls and motions of our right hand into that approach.

There is also the single string style, and the early pioneer of Don Reno, who was another of the major powers of the Five String along with Scruggs. Two brilliant players who both deserve the highest regard. The single string style can be used to define the scales as well. We can also relate it to the rolls and motions of the right hand. We will be dicussing and teaching all aspects and styles of the Five String Banjo so you best approach the Banjo how YOU want to. To express yourself and create your own ideas on the Banjo. There are many ways to conceptualize the fingerboard of the Banjo, thats what makes it such an extreme instrument...an extremely versatile, magnificent instrument.

Rock On The Moose!

David

Lesson #080, Building Basic Scales and Chords VII



Hi Everyone,

More triads....more chords. Its good practice to play the three basic chord formations up and down the neck and even playing the open chord of G as well. Playing the chords in all the positions will make you very familiar with the fingerboard.

When changing between the 4th and 2nd string positions using them closed, it will help your speed in changing these positions if you leave your ring and pinky fingers on the fingerboard and only switch between your middle and index of your left hand. You can see in the video how to approach switching between these chord positions using this method.

For Practice.....you can also leave your left hand in the fourth string position and just practice flipping your middle and index until you are comfortable to how that feels and becomes second nature. After playing the banjo for awhile....your fingers will do amazing things unconsciously. Just you wait and see!

David

Lesson #079, Building Basic Scales and Chords VI



Hey All,

Lets talk a little bit more about these major triads. Remember that you can play the 1 3 5 in any combination to make a triad. Looking at the 4th string position playing the 4th 3rd and 2nd strings we have the 1 3 5 or the G B D. If we play the 3rd , 2nd and 1st strings in that same position we have the 3 5 1 or the B D G. Thats the same triad because remember the 4th and 1st strings have the same notes only a different pitch(the octaves remember).

If we look at the 4th string position 3 5 1 ......it is stacked up the same as the second string position on the 4th , 3rd and second strings. Same triad......different location on the fingerboard. The same holds true for the second string position on the 3rd, 2nd and 1st strings....they are the 5 3 1.....stacked up the same as the 3rd string position starting with the fourth , 3r, and second strings. I just wanted to make you aware of that as well as you look at these triads. They can be played in different locations on the fingerboard and are perpetual in nature. If you have any questions please let me know and I'll explain it further if need be.

Play well

David

Lesson #078, Building Basic Scales and Chords V



Hi Everyone,

Lets look at this major triad a little bit more in this lesson. We can put the combination of the notes G B D together however we want to make up G major chord triad. We already put them together with the 4th string position, so lets move on up the neck and put them in the 2nd string position. The second string fretted behind the eighth fret is our G... the fourth string fretted behind the ninth fret is our B note....and the third string fretted behind the seventh fret is our D note. So again that is why the 2nd string position is what it is. The same three notes stacked up in a different combination. It doesnt matter how or where we put those three notes together.....when you play them at the same time...you get a G triad. Thats all there is to it. Lets move up to the 3rd string position or the barre position. The third string fretted at the twelveth fret is our G note, the second at the tweleth is our B note, and the fourth fretted at the twelveth is our D note. So again you can see why that position is what it is as well. Three different positions that we have gone over before and they all contain the 1-3-5 or the G B D of the G major scale.

Its good practice to resite the notes and the numbers when first learning the makeup of the major triad. If we start with the 4th string position......1 3 5 or G B D.....moving up to the 2nd string position........3 5 1 or B D G......moving up to the 3rd string or barre position 5 1 3 or D G B. You can see for yourself the patterns that are showing up. If you look at the patterns of the numbers and notes....they have a cycle. Learning these cycles will help you greatly and will make things more simple when we go on to build off of the triads to create other chords. It will also help you to understand the fingerboard for improvisations and comping with other musicians as well.

Study well

Have fun

Rock on

David

Lesson #077, Building Basic Scales and Chords IV



Hi Everyone,

Lets continue on with the Major chord triad. A triad is a word given to a Three note chord. Tri means three, so there we have it in a nutshell. In this video you will see that I erased some numbers from the chart......those being the 8 , 10, 12, and 14. The reason I erased those numbers is because the basics of these major chords are coming from the degrees of 1-3-5-7. ... since we are going to be working with those numbers for our foundation of chords, we don't need the corresponding numbers underneath because they are the same notes.

Building a major chord triad is quite simple. It consists of the 1-3-5 from a major scale. So lets start with a G major chord triad. The first note of the G major scale is G. The third note in the G major scale is B. The fifth note of the G major scale is D. They are the notes that make up a G major chord triad......G...B...D......

Lets take a look at the fourth string position now. Starting on the fourth string at the fifth fret...thats our G note.....the third string fretted at the fourth fret..... thats our B note.......the second string fretted at the third fret.....thats our D note..... waalaaa........we have our G major chord triad. That is why that position is what it is. Also remember that the fourth and first strings are the same note when fretted at the same fret......so in our fourth string position the FULL chord we are just playing two G notes within that chord formation on the fourth and first strings.
Roll Away....

David

Lesson #076, Building Basic Scales and Chords III



Hi Everyone,

Now that you know how the Major Scale is constructed...R W W H W W W H and knowing the notes on the fingerboard, lets name the notes in a G Major Scale.

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

G A B C D E F# G


We can name all of the notes in any of the twelve Major Scales we want now using the formula for a Major scale.

Now that we know what the notes are in any given Major scale, we can create chords from the scale. A chord is putting two or more of the notes together from a scale and playing them together. When they are played together you get Harmony. If we played a two note chord.....that is called a Double Stop......if we build a three note chord ...that is called a triad.

We can continue to build upon a chord to create different colors from the numbered scale. If we were playing the piano.....we have ten fingers.........we can construct a ten note chord.

David

Lesson #075, Building Basic Scales and Chords II



Hi Everybody,

Let me say first that in the video W stands for a whole STEP. H stands for a half STEP.

I mis-spoke in the intro saying whole "note" and half "note".

The Formula for a Major Scale is this.......R W W H W W W H

Root
wholestep
wholestep
halfstep
wholestep
wholestep
wholestep
halfstep

We can make the Root any of the twelve notes we would like. If we wanted to construct an F# Major scale our root would be F#. If we wanted to construct an E Major scale our root would be E. And so on with the rest of the twelve notes.

A half step is equal to one fret.
A whole step is equal to two frets.

do re mi fa so la ti do...........we are going to Rock with this Scale.

David

Lesson #074, Building Basic Scales and Chords I



Hi Everyone,

In these next series of lessons we are going to discuss scales and chords and their basic use in Bluegrass and in other types of music as well. Its important to understand the basic construction of scales and chords if we want to take our understanding of the fingerboard and our understanding of Improvisation as far as we can.

To review a little bit of past lessons, lets start with a chromatic scale and talk about the twelve notes we have to work with in music. If we start at the third string picked open and continue up twelve half steps we have played a chromatic scale. A chromatic scale is a scale that ascends or descends in half steps ( the distance between each fret is a half step). We can play a two note chromatic scale or an infinite number of notes and call them chromatic as long as it moves in half steps.

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti is a seven note Major Scale. I think everyone is familiar with this scale. It is a very very very important scale. We can do tons with this basic major scale. If you look at the chart in the video you will see that the scale is numbered. We can get a lot of information from that chart and will explore it in future lessons.

The scale is numbered from 1 through 7 under the scale. When the scale comes back to Do..... the number goes to 8 and then upward from there. The numbering of the scale is going to be important in our understanding of the fingerboard and in chords and many other aspects of playing the Banjo.

David

Lesson #073, When the Saints Go Marching In V



Hi Everyone,

We are going to finish up now with the song ...When The Saints Go Marching In... and we are going to finish using all double stops. The term double stop or stops is usually coined for the fiddle or mandolin, but we can use them on the banjo as well. A double stop is simply using two notes played at the same time. They are two note chords.

To play a chord, we need to play at least two notes together. When they are played together we get harmony, or a chord. We can play Two note chords...double stops.....we can play three note chords...triads.... we can continue to build on the triad as far as we would like........say we were playing the piano........ we have ten fingers........ we can make a ten note chord if we'd like. Chords are quite simple.... you just keep adding different notes to create different colors as you contunue to build. Now the most we can use on the Banjo is Five different notes.... we only have Five strings to work with......and to pick those five notes together we would have to either pick them with all five fingers of our right hand..... or strum them to produce the fullness of the chord.......but.....we can do sooooo much with playing three note chords with the three fingers we use of our right hand. We can leave notes out of a chord and still get the color that we are trying to paint.

Rock On Everyone,

David

Lesson #072, When the Saints Go Marching In IV



Hi Everyone,

In this video we eventually come into our first Minor chord. That being a Cminor chord. There are many different things we can do with Minor chords. I love the Minor sounds in music. They can create so many different moods. I'm going to be talking alot about chords in future lessons. How they are constructed and the endless possibilities of their usage.

David

Lesson #071, When the Saints Go Marching In III



Hi Everyone,

Theres not alot more I can say about this video than whats on it. Just take your time and be cautious of the time values of the different notes that I put in places. If you have any trouble you can refer to the Tablature and count from the musical notation just above the tablature in any given measure.

David

Lesson #070, When the Saints Go Marching In II



YO EVERYONE! WHEN YOU GET TO THE PINCH ON THE FIFTH AND FIRST STRINGS...... THE THREE NOTES AFTER THE PINCH ARE THUMB INDEX MIDDLE ON THE THIRD SECOND AND FIRST STRINGS OPEN! I just looked at this video and I made a mistake when explaining that series of notes after the pinch. Don't play the C note on the second string after the pinch. Sorry everyone, my bad. The Tablature is correct.

David

Lesson #069, When the Saints Go Marching In I



Hi Everyone,

I thought I'd give you another song to work on before continuing on with other things. This is an old Jazz song...... When The Saints Go Marching In.....
I can see and hear the dixieland bands meandering through the streets of New Orleans as I type!

I worked up a version using the three finger style, and also your first introduction to a Minor chord and a very basic two note sequence using single string technique. There are many different styles that can and are played on the Five String Banjo....... Scruggs or three finger style....... single string stlye......Bobby Thompson or Bill Keith "melodic" style. I don't like to use the term melodic style, because to me playing melodically means something else. Playing something melodically is playing a selection of notes in a melodious way.... a selection that is very unobtrusive to the ear... it flows very easy .. thats how I think about melodic playing, and It can be accomplished with any method or style that you like. We can also combine any or all of the stlyes listed above. I'm going to be relating most everything I teach on the banjo to the three finger style. Single string and Thompson/Keith style as well. There are no limits to what can be done on the Banjo, and we will continue to explore, explore, explore.

Rock On All,

David

Lesson #068, Playing the Melody and Improvising with Rolls Around the Melody VI



Hi Everyone,

I've decided not to put any tablature with this series of Bile em Cabbage Down. I would like you to just come up with a simple version of the chorus and verse.

I did Improvise over both chorus and verse in this video, I said I was just using the chorus, but I played through a verse as well. Remember the chorus is the very first lines I played and sang in the beginning of this series. So come up with a simple version of the chorus first, even if its just using pinches.

If you have to start out with all wholes notes ....Thats fine! Play a very simple version at first..... as long as its your version! If it sounds good to you.......it is good! After you feel comfortable playing your own version, hopefully it will lead itself into some improvisations...... maybe a different roll in spots........ or breaking up a measure with different notes.

I wish you the best in your first arrangements of Bile em Cabbage Down, and I also hope your first improvisations soon follow. Please let me know how you are making out with your own arrangements and Improvistations, I would love to hear how you are doing and what your thoughts are on this series.

Thanks All,

David

Lesson #067, Playing the Melody and Improvising with Rolls Around the Melody V



Hey Everybody,

There are many things we can do when we are working on and trying to improvise with a basic melody. We can play it as basic as we like, or we can expand on the basics to interpret the song or tune however we like. I do think it sounds best to stick close to the melody on more traditional tunes or songs, although even with tradition we can express our own individulism and personalities within the tune or song.

In this song I talked a little bit about what I call inflections added to the melody. Just like a singer can add his or her own style to a vocal interpretation, so can we as instrumentalists. By adding these "inflectons" we are taking liberties with the basic melody, we are adding our own personality or style to the melody. There are many things that we can do to add interest to ours solos if we wish, and what we just went over are a few of them. We can even add interest by taking things out of our soloing, and even out of the melody.

When we get into more progressive sounds we will take our improvisations as far as we can, we will try to push our imaginations and reach out beyond something that maybe you thought you couldnt reach. Anything is attainable, and you can take your playing as far as you wish, Its really up to you!
Its all cool, whether you want to learn a few tunes or take it further.....its all cool and fun!

Have Fun Everyone,

David

Lesson #066, Playing the Melody and Improvising with Rolls Around the Melody IV



Hi Everyone,

Lets combine some of the melody notes and rolls with the left hand techniques as well in this lesson. We know the B note lives just behind the 4th fret of the 3rd string.(one of the places it lives). Lets use the alternating thumb roll and a 2--4 slide on the third string to play the beginning of Bile em..

So we are getting the B note within the 2---4 slide in the alternating roll now. Again we are playing the melody note of B on the 3rd string just behind the 4th fret. So this is another way of improvising using what we know about the Banjo.

I also mentioned in this video about reading tab and music as well. As you become more proficient on the Banjo, you will be able to play anything you want on the Banjo. You will be able to play tabs or music by anyone you wish...... from Earl Scruggs to Jimi Hendrix......Bela to Bach.... whoever or whatever interests you. But when I first started these video lessons I wanted to convey to you one of the most important things that "I" believe is truely great........To be able to play like Yourself!. Don't get me wrong, its very very important to learn tunes and ideas of others. They are stepping stones to your own improvisations and individualisms on the Banjo.

So we are going to continue with all aspects of learning and playing the Five String.........we will all continue to Rock On and Forward into the Future!

David

Lesson #065, Playing the Melody and Improvising with Rolls Around the Melody III



Hi Everyone,

The melody notes I am using in this version of Bile em cabbage down are.....B...C...B....A....B....C...B...A...G...... Again these notes are coming from scales and I will explain further in future lessons.

We can also place these melody notes on different spots on the fingerboard of the Banjo. In the example in the video we can play these series of notes on the third string only. This is where your knowledge of the fingerboard is starting to come into play. It is very important to know where the notes on the fingerboard occur. If you don't quite remember what they are and how to go about it , you can always go back to the NAMING NOTES ON THE FINGERBOARD lessons I did awhile back.

In the example in this video of using the third string only... we can use the same forward roll pattern as in the previous....... the only thing we are going to do now is start the pattern with our index finger on the third string as opposed to the second string. Its very important to read the text! since these videos are mostly improvised I find little verbage mistakes here and there sometimes, and I just want to keep these lessons as clear as I can for you all.

We can also use different rolls with the melody anywhere we can find the melody notes on the fingerboard. You should experiment with different rolls with the melody notes and be aware of how they sound to you as you are experimenting. Always be conscious of your timing! Don't be afraid to experiment...... we are all scientists of the Banjo!

David

Lesson #064, Playing the Melody and Improvising with Rolls Around the Melody II



Hi Everyone,

In this video, here is one way to play the melody of Bile em cabbage down using the second and third strings. In the first example I'm using whole notes. Remember the whole note has 4 beats associated with it. I also used half notes in the seventh measure. The half note has 2 beats associated with it. You can count along with me and hear for yourself the use of the whole and half notes.

Once we know what the melody notes are, then we can start to fit the pinches and rolls of the right hand around the melody notes. We can start with 1/4 note pinches if we like. You can hear the melody notes within the pinches. Something I didnt talk about yet, but I will make mention of it just a little bit now, is accenting a note. I dont want you to be too concerned with accenting right now, I just want you to concentrate on the pinches and rolls and the melody, but I will say this... You can add definetion or accent to a melody note buy playing the melody note a little harder than the surrounding pinches or rolls within. By playing the melody notes a little louder and harder can make it stand out more. Again..... I don't want you to be concerned with accenting right now, I just wanted to make mention of it.

We can also use the rolls and patterns to weave in and around the melody notes as well. Try the pattern of the forward roll we have gone over in the past as in the video. Again we can play the melody notes within the pattern while still keeping the 4/4 time, and keeping the timing straight within a measure.

David

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #063, Playing the Melody and Improvising with Rolls Around the Melody I



Hi Everyone,

We are going to work a little bit on the song Bile em Cabbage down. We are going to work on the melody of this song and start to put the rolls and left hand techniques into the chorus of this song.

Let me say first that the chorus in this version that I played and sang was the first thing I sang.........bile em cabbage down...make them hoecakes brown... the only song I like to sing... is bile em cabbage down. That was the chorus. Most bluegrass songs do not start with the chorus, but in this version of this folk song, the chorus comes first and thats what we are going to be working with for right now, because the chorus fits perfectly into the eight measures we have been working on, and also will fit very nicely over the quitar track I layed down for you.

The melody of a song or tune is just that. The melody is the notes that a composer used to create it. Its important to try to play the melody of a song, because thats what the song is about. The melody is the choice of notes of its composer.

Any melody of a song or tune comes from scales. I'm going to be talking alot about scales in future lessons. They are very very important in music. Never feel intimidated of learning scales... its all quite simple and we are going to start out very slowly and make our way from there when the time comes. Lets get into some melody now.

David

Lesson #062, Combining Left-Hand Techniques with Pinches & Rolls III



Hi Everyone,

In this video I used the hammer-on for example. Remember we can use any left hand technique we would like. The slide, hammer-on, pull off, push off, choke.......any we would like. We can also combine them with any roll or pattern or techs. of the right hand. As long as everything comes together in good timing thats all that matters.

I would also like to say this..................................

If it sounds good to you...... it is good!

David

Lesson #061, Combining Left-Hand Techniques with Pinches & Rolls II



Hi Everyone,

This video shows a little bit more of the left hand techniques and a few different rolls of the right hand. We can play any roll and use any left hand technique we want. I played a alternating thumb roll in part of this video and then combined the 2--4 slide on the third string. Again the timing in your right hand is not going to change.

If ever you are unsure of a left hand technique within a roll or roll pattern.....if it doesn't quite sound right to you...... try this. Play whatever you are working on without the left hand tech. Just play whatever you are working on and keep the timing of the right hand solid throughout what you are playing. When you feel comfortable with the timing, then enter the left hand tech. and keep the timing in your right hand the same.

Try also combing some different notes...... 1/4 note pinches and 1/8th rolls or any combination you would like with the left hand techs. Its all going fall together with practice, you won't even think about what you are doing, you'll just be doing.

Play well everyone, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask us anything here on the Moose.

David

Lesson #060, Combining Left-Hand Techniques with Pinches & Rolls



Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to talk a little bit more about the right hand techiniques in these series of lessons and demonstrate a little bit as well.

The most important thing I can say about combining these left and right hand techniques is this.......when you add a left hand technique into any roll or variation of a roll, patterens or such.... the timing of your right hand is not going to change... it will remain the same. Heres an example I'll give you. Lets say we are going to play three notes. Three notes using the forward roll. The thumb pics the fourth string ... the index picks the second string ...and the middle picks the first string.

T I M

4th 2nd 1st


1 2 3

I also put a count of Three underneath the t, i, m and the strings we are going to use. Ok... we played our roll on the open strings. Now we play a slide from the fourth to fifth fret on the fourth string. Our count of 3 remains the same.
Now lets do a slide from the 1st fret to the 22nd fret on the fourth string...Thats the entire fretboard.......... THE ROLL AND THE COUNT OF THREE STAY THE SAME!... only the speed at which you are doing the slide will be affected. You will have to go faster with your left hand to achieve the same timing within the right hand roll.

Slide away,

David