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Fiddle Lessons: "Sally Johnson" in G

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We're going
to now learn one of the great traditional
fiddle tunes which
has really become a great bluegrass fiddle
tune also.
It's a real barn-burner, it can be played
all different tempos,
a lot of times people play it super fast.
We're gonna learn it at a reasonable tempo
which allows us to think about how we can
use this tune to generate all kinds of
melodies
that we can use in bluegrass soloing and
things like that.
So this tune is, of course, Sally Johnson,
it's in the key of G.
And also known as Katie Hill, I've got a
lot of different names but
it's kind of the same tune.
And it's great because it it's very close
to a,
kind of a pentatonic kind of scale, even
though we're using
a lot of F sharp note, which is not really
officially independent tonic scale,
it has kind of a pentatonic feel.
And you can sort of go at that that
pentatonic thing when you're,
you're improvising and it kind of has that
sound.
So, it's got two parts like most fiddle
tunes.
It's got an a part and a b part.
It's got it's in the key of G, so when I
say the a and b,
what I mean is letter a, letter b in the
sense of parts of the alphabet.
But it's all in G, which is another
wonderful thing about music.
You know it's so lovely and confusing
until you know what you're talking about.
So, let's just go right into Sally
Johnson.
It's kind of a lick that is sort of like
a lick that has a tail in its mouth in a
way.
It, it sort of, connects itself to itself.
So let's break it down.
[MUSIC]
That is a long series of notes.
Let's see if we can break it up into
something reasonable.
[MUSIC]
Let's try that much.
So, basically we're.
[MUSIC]
So
we're doing a lot of that fourth finger
workout here.
[MUSIC]
We're going up to the fourth finger and
then going down.
And then coming back down.
So it's like.
[MUSIC]
And then.
[MUSIC]
And
that is a total pentatonic lick right
there.
[MUSIC]
Notice
there's a lot of this string crossing
going on.
[MUSIC]
I want you to, rewind that and
listen to that closely.
I'll play it again one more time, very
slow.
[MUSIC]
So
that is like, a little pod that you're
gonna be repeating over and over again.
Play it once more, even slower.
[MUSIC]
So a lot of this weaving kind of bowing
going on.
Yeah, I want you to play that super slow.
There's all kinds of issues there, there's
the string crossing, there's that
fourth finger, getting that fourth finger
to go up and be in the right place.
[MUSIC]
Right.
Make sure you hit that.
You might want to spend a little time
breaking that into.
[MUSIC]
You
can see I'm holding all my fingers down.
[MUSIC]
That little part is worth spending a
little time on getting that right.
Second part of that.
[MUSIC]
All right, more fourth finger.
[MUSIC]
Again, the fourth finger comes up.
Plays along with the open E string.
[MUSIC]
Again, another place to.
We've been already working on this, with
some other tunes.
[MUSIC]
Always worth the effort reviewing this.
This is gonna be something that is gonna
come up a lot.
So, in fact, if it's feeling awkward.
[MUSIC]
You can even break this up again.
[MUSIC]
Isolate
it down into the smallest number of notes
that are giving you trouble.
[MUSIC]
And then cycle it.
Find a way to cycle it rhythmically.
[MUSIC]
You
might find that you've written yourself a
new tune.
[MUSIC]
There's a whole new tune.
We don't even have a name for it yet.
Maybe you'll come up with something
equally interesting.
So, okay, so what do we got so far?
We've got.
[MUSIC]
And the whole thing starts over again.
[MUSIC]
And then.
[MUSIC]
Play that very slowly.
[MUSIC]
Again that weaving bow crossing string
thing.
Now, remember that there's going to be
PDFs that you can download
of music if it's really confusing you.
Or you can just keep rewinding.
Here's that last part.
[MUSIC]
I'm going to play very slow.
Just that whole thing.
Whole first part.
Two, three, four.
[MUSIC]
And that repeats, and so forth.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Second part, we're starting down.
It's interesting because a lot of tunes, a
lot of fiddle tunes, start in,
in the lower position.
They call that the coarse part, coarse as
in coarse grained or
and then the upper part is usually the
fine part.
But, Sally Johnson starts up, and then
comes down for the second part.
So, we're down on the D and G string.
[MUSIC]
Again we're doing that weaving thing.
[MUSIC]
That's pretty much it.
[MUSIC]
Right?
I'm gonna play it super slow.
[MUSIC]
You play that.
Second part.
[MUSIC]
Okay.
Now, what happens, here is, it's the same
basic lick.
[MUSIC]
Just tiny differences in the beginning.
So, the first time, it's.
[MUSIC]
Second time, I'll slide, instead of.
[MUSIC]
And then again.
[MUSIC]
And
then the last time is just like the first
time.
[MUSIC]
So,
that's four times that same lick, with
slight differences, at the very beginning.
Going back and forth between.
[MUSIC]
And.
[MUSIC]
Okay, so,
here's Sally Johnson, with our backing
track.
1, 2, 3, 4.
[MUSIC]