Sunday, April 12, 2009

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.



  1. Just bought a banjo. You really provide a great resource . Thanks for putting this together. right now is a difficult time for me , someone you will never meet. I am able to escape with your material and my banjo. for this thanks Jim

  2. Hi, I didn't see a link to "contact" you. I don't know what to do to move the ad at the bottom of the video frame. While it is there the entire lesson, I cannot see your right hand on the banjo. Is there a solution to this problem? Thanks very much. Truly, Martha B. (banjomaw)