[11 Jan 2012 | One Comment | ]
Welcome to the December 2011 Banjo Sessions®!

I’m Gerald Jones, the webzine editor for Banjo Sessions. Thanks for stopping by. We hope to have something interesting for every type of banjo player.
In this issue Michael Keyes shows us even more stuff about triplets on Itish tenor banjo.
Mirek Patek from the Czech Republic demonstrates how to apply Jerry Reed style pinches to Travis style picking on the tenor banjo. I bet you never thought you would see that combination!
Following up on bluegrass banjo is Bob Altschuler. Bob gives us variations on the great standard “Red River Valley.” …

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[11 Jan 2012 | One Comment | ]
Jerry Reed Style Pinches in Travis Picking

by Mirek Patek
It is winter time again (in the northern hemisphere) and banjo players may face the challenge of playing in lower temperature, when the frozen fingers have limited ability of high-speed picking. In these conditions it is helpful to involve more pinches (by index and middle fingers) into the game. In this article we will return to the three-finger Travis picking presented in the April 2010 article and we will mix it with some patterns presented in the chord-melody article from December 2010 issue of Banjo Sessions. The exercises …

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[11 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]
More Triplet Stuff

By Michael Keyes
My very first Irish tenor banjo lesson was with Gerry O’Connor in 2005.  I was thrilled that the class was very small and I could explore this new (to me) instrument with one of the greatest banjo players ever.  The first question asked:  “How do you play triplets?”
Gerry’s advice was sage: “learn to play the music first and then try ornaments.”  He suggested that we only use triplets sparsely, if at all.  This may sound odd from one of the great exponents of the triplet, but Gerry is …

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[11 Jan 2012 | One Comment | ]
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Embellishing the Melody with Harmonized Scales
by Gerald Jones.
Itʼs Christmas time again so I thought Iʼd arrange a Christmas carol. The problem with carols is that the melodies are usually so strong and familiar that if you “banjoize” them too much no one recognizes the tune… Of course this applies to most three finger banjo tunes!
Using the great “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” I have taken the simple melody and added notes from the harmonized scale to make it sound fuller and more interesting on the banjo. The tab shows the …

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[11 Jan 2012 | Comments Off | ]
Red River Valley

by Bob Altschuler
Red River Valley is a classic folk song that has been known by many other names, including Red River Girl, Cowboy Love Song, Bright Sherman Valley, Little Green Valley, Bright Laurel Valley and Bright Mohawk Valley. It was first published in sheet music in New York in 1896 under the title In the Bright Mohawk Valley with James J. Kerrigan credited as the composer.
Red River Valley has been recorded by many famous artists over the years, including Woodie Guthrie, Connie Francis, Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff, Lynn Anderson, Eddy …

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[7 Oct 2011 | Comments Off | ]
Boil Them Cabbage Down – Up the Neck on Tenor Banjo

by Mirek Patek
In this article we are returning to the topic of bluegrass sound on the DGdg tenor banjo (see the previous articles in December 2009, June 2010, October 2010 and April 2011 issue of Banjo Sessions) as we will further explore the up-the-neck area of the tenor banjo and find the fretting-hand positions for picking the harmonized melody in the higher register. The high g string will stay open in order to emulate the sound of three-finger picking on 5-string banjo. The folk song Boil Them Cabbage Down will …