Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kokomo (solo banjo)

Kokomo is not everyone's favourite Beach Boys song. It has quite a few strikes against it; it was created post-Brian Wilson, it was featured in a Tom Cruise movie and I believe John Stamos was featured in the music video. Despite all this I love the song. I love it for its beautiful melody, its haunting yet soothing chord progression and, yes, even for the lyrics.

For the arrangement I plced it in the key of C and tried to go for a relaxed, draggy feel. Mostly I kept to the melody as it is so strong to begin with. The chorus gets a little Earl flavour to it.

Here it is...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Little Drummer Boy (video)

Recorded a video for the arrangement I tabbed out last post. Was pressed for time and ended up having my son make a surprise appearance towards the end of the song. He gave me a round of applause at the end so I forgive him...

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Little Drummer Boy (written arrangement)

Doing a little holiday banjo arranging and came up with this for 'The Little Drummer Boy.

It begins in the key of G with the low D string as a drone then modulates to D keeping the same drone and the goes back to G and ends.

I will put up a video as soon as my camera's battery charges and I have the time but for now here is the written arrangement. If you want to view it in tabledit form (clearer and with MIDI so you can listen to it but requires a tabledit browser) go HERE.

Here it is in picture form (click to enlarge)...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Feathers and Tape (original tune)

This is a new original banjo tune of mine called 'Feathers and Tape'. You can listen to the mp3 HERE.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Banjo Nirvana

Was watching the old Niravana Unplugged DVD the other night and thought 'Something in the Way' might sound nice on the banjo. It is sort of an atypical tune for the 5 string; slow, sad, and in the key of F# minor (original key is F minor).

Here it is...

And here is the tab...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Years Banjo Tale

There are a million banjo jokes out there but the first time I heard this one, told to me by the excellent guitarist Craig McGreggor, it really cracked me up. I've heard it since then told with different variations but I will retell the version I first heard as close as I can:

It is almost New Years Eve and Lextar Tech, a company dealing in the development and sale of electrical fan motors, is all set to put on another legendary bash. Lexar has developed a reputation for it's phenomenal New Years Parties, in fact these parties are the only reason some people work there. Everyone has been buzzing about the band they are bringing in; a supergroup featuring the singing of Don Henley, Stevie Wonder on keys, Eddie Van Halen on guitar, Phil Collins on drums and Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on bass. It is set to go down as the most outrageous New Years party in the history of outrageous New Years parties.

The trouble arises the morning of. Kendall Bullworth, who is organizing the event and feeling pretty darn good about things, recieves a call from Don Henley himself.

"Kenny!", he says in a raspy, strained whimper, "Bad news; had a rehearsal with the band last night. Little Stevie Wonder and that nut Van Halen got in a fight. Flea jumped in and then Phil was terrible. Phil ended up leaving in an ambulance, Eddie lost part of a finger, Flea decided he doesn't want to play music anymore and Stevie claims the whole thing killed his karma and he can't perform again for another 8 years!"

At this point organizer Kendall is sweating profusely; "Are...Are you telling me the band can't play tonight?!"

"Play tonight?", croaked Collins, "We'll be lucky to play again PERIOD!"

"Well, how about you Phil? Why don't you do it on your own?"

"No can do. I went out to drown my sorrows at the local Go Go bar after the brough haha and ended up contracting mono from one of the dancers. Doc says I won't be singing for a month!"

Organizer Kendall doesn't know what to do. He tells his wife of his troubles and she has a suggestion. She says that a month ago at her friends housewarming party they had a local band that blew everyone away. The band did not have a name but was made up of a very odd combination of instruments: banjo, accorion and bagpipes.

"Banjo, accordion and bagpipes?!" Kendall groans.

"I swear they were AMAZING" she assures him.

Kendall tries every other group in his Rolodex but noone is free. He has no choice but to call these oddballs his wife has recommended. They are available.

Kendall is sweating bullets as the party begins and eager guests buzz about the supergroup they believe is about to perform.

Kendall takes the stage; "Greetings and Happy New Year everyone. I know alot of you are excited to see Don Henley and Stevie Wonder and Eddie Van Halen and Phil Collins and Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers..." (The audience roars with applause) " couldn't make it" (silence) " is the band we got..."

Kendall beats a hasty retreat and the banjo, accordion, bagpipe trio take the stage.

People are livid at first but midway through the opening number they are captivated. By the third song the audience is in the palm of their hand. When they finally exit the stage after 5 hours of playing a 7 encores everyone in the building is convinced this is the best Lextar New Years party in the history of Lextar New Years parties.

Backstage Kendall approaches the band. "That was PHENOMENAL!!", he shouts, "Words fail me. I...I know this is kind of rediculous to be asking already but...could I book you guys right now for next years New Years party?"

The band are ecstatic. "Absolutely", they chime in unison, "Should we leave our gear?"

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gigue from Partita #3 (J. S. Bach)

Here is a little classical banjo for ya. I arranged this from the original violin part but transposed to G.

Here it is...

And here is the tablature (click to enlarge or download the tabledit file HERE.