Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Tishomingo String Band (my band) to Play Regular Sunday Nights at the Portside Pub in Gastown, Vancouver

This is a bit of a celebratory/ promotional post that will only be of interest to readers living in, or planning to visit, the Vancouver area (Canada).  Our band will be playing Sunday nights from roughly 9:00-midnight at the Portside Pub in Gastown (7 Alexander).

It is a little late on a Sunday for most but if you feel like being bleary eyed at work Monday morning is a small price to pay for an evening of fun we will do our best to make sure you are not disappointed.

Here is a clip from Sunday before last at Portside.  Our mandolin player was unable to attend that night but we made do.  Thanks to my mom for the stellar camerawork!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Variation III

For this variation on good ol' Foggy Mountain we journey to the upper reaches of the fretboard.  Most of the playing is out of the G and E minor chord voicings up the neck with a few distractions thrown in (such as the chromatically descending fourths in measures 3-4).

The end of this variation features a barrage of triplet pulloffs.  All of the pulloffs descent from 3rd fret to 2nd fret to the open string.  If you have yet to encounter these types of pulls before I suggest spending some time with the metronome working on only one string and when you feel comfortable try it with string switching.

Without further adieu, here is the video of the variation played slow...

And here is the tablature (click to enlarge)...


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Exploring Foggy Mountain Breakdown Part II - Single String Break

For the second break I thought I would try some single string and just to make things fun I threw in a quote from AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck' (over the D chord).

I use mostly thumb/index/thumb/middle for my single string playing as it feels a little more solid and a little more like playing a role but straight thumb/index alternation is all good if you prefer.

Here is the video of the variation played slow...

And here is the tablature (click to enlarge)

NEXT:  Exploring Foggy Mountain Breakdown Part III 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Exploring Foggy Mountain Breakdown- Part I

Foggy Mountain Breakdown.  It's the most popular tune from the father of bluegrass banjo (Earl Scruggs).  I love playing Foggy Mountain as much as the next guy and thought I would try a series of posts exploring variations.  The original is pretty much untouchable so I'm not suggesting anything I have come up with is an improvement, simply tapping into the old imagination to mix things up a little.

The first variation is fairly similar in melody to the up the neck choke break Scruggs takes only played an octave lover with hammers in place of chokes.  There is a little pedal steel inspired bending over the E minor chord and then a honky tonk piano inspired lick over the D chord.

Here is a video of it played slow...

And here is the tab (click to enlarge)...

I figure at the end of this series I'll record a video of all of the variations back to back at a decent tempo.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Adventures in Solo Banjo Part 1 - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

Fooling around with an old 'Songs of the Sixties' book and came up with this arrangement of Hal David and Burt Bacharach's 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head'.  This tune was used as the theme for the Newman/ Redford classic 'Buth Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' and was a huge hit for B.J. Thomas in 1969.

My arrangement is in the original key of F and there are a few things to watch out for.

For the strumming in the intro I use my ring finger and thumb nail (not the thumb pick) to get a softer tone.

The syncopation may require a little effort to nail.  If it seems difficult in places try counting out the rhythm for those measures at a slower speed before integrating it back in.

For a warmer sound I pick closer to neck position than I do for most bluegrass playing although I encourage you to experiment and see what works best for you on your instrument.

Here is the video...

Here is the tablature (click to enlarge)...