Sunday, October 7, 2012

Exploring Cripple Creek - Part I ; A Little Variation

        Cripple Creek is many things; a great song to pick on banjo, an American folk standard, a tune whose title is occasionally confused with The Band's 'Up on Cripple Creek'. One other thing Cripple Creek can be is a vehicle for exploring your banjo.

        The standard bluegrass banjo break for Cripple Creek varies from player to player but generally looks a little something like this (this is an approximation of Earl Scruggs' arrangement on which most others are based);

       A while back I did a post on playing double banjo on Cripple Creek (which you can check out here if you're interested) but for this series of posts will tackle the task of writing variations.

        This first variation begins much the same way as Scruggs original break then heads up the neck a little for some descending 6ths with a little backward roll syncopation.

        The B section keeps the slides on the 3rd string but has them going up, then down, with some offbeat pinches on the 3rd and 1st strings.

        It's not the craziest variation but I like the sound of it.

        Here it is in video form....

        And here is the tablature...

        Next; Exploring Cripple Creek Part II - Single String Break

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