A Book Of Five Strings - online tutorial

Strategies for mastering the art of old time banjo.

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Let's look at this with hammer-on's, pull-off's and a slide.
Old Joe Clark Hammer-on's/Pull-off's/Slide 4/4 Time Key of G
These are only two examples of what you can do inside the structure of this tune. The possibilities are literally endless. As long as the basic structure of the song stays intact you have free reign over what is played. The only limits here are your creativity and your fluency in the basic skills.
Let's revisit two of the different "Old Joe Clark" versions we looked at earlier.
Example One
Example Two
Now ask yourself if example one is really any different from example two.
Yes, example one is played with a basic frailing strum and example two is dressed up with hammer-on's and pull-off's, but the core of the song remains the same.
We can add as much window dressing as we want, but the structure of the song (rhythm, chord progression and melody) will not change.
In order to really understand the banjo, and music in general, you have to look deeper than random fretboard gymnastics. Everything has to balance out and work together.
Compare the hammer-on and double thumb versions of "Old Joe Clark". Both arrangements fit the words "Old Joe Clark's a fine old man", but they fit in different ways.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III