A Book Of Five Strings - online tutorial

Strategies for mastering the art of old time banjo.

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Southern Aristocracy A Part
* There is a tutorial on reading music in my first book,"The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo". It's available on our website at www.pik-ware.com.
We have a melody line, now we have to figure out the chord progression.
We know the song is in the key of G so the odds are pretty good that the first chord we are going to play is G. Pluck through the first few measures while strumming a G chord. Does it sound okay? It does? Good. G it is then.
Now in the fifth measure we have a note being played on the fourth string at the second fret. That's a signal that there might be a chord change coming because that note is the bass note in a handful of chords. C, Am and Em all feature the fourth string at that fret.
Run through the notes before and after that single note on the fourth string. Try playing a C or Am there.
That doesn't sound right so we'll try an Em.
Yeah, that feels all right.
Keep working through the song that way and you'll wind up with a chord progression of G-Em-C-G-A-D.
The next thing you want to do is plunk out the melody line a few times so you can get used to it. Once you can hum the melody start chopping the chords while you "la-la" along.
Now start experimenting with the notes. Is a first-position C chord going to give you access to the melody notes you need to reach? Would that measure be easier to play at the fifth fret?
You have to ask yourself questions like this when you are working out a song. The notation or the tab isn't going to give you all the answers.






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