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Banjo Lessons: “Sally Goodin” Position

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[MUSIC]
Snuffy Jenkins
was a predecessor of Earl Scruggs.
He was playing the three-finger style for
the Crazy Water Crystal Company,
down in the Carolinas in the 30s.
And he was playing Sally Goodin back then,
and Earl played Sally Goodin.
And the way that these folks would play
Sally Goodin,the great old fiddle tune.
Rather than playing the note for
note fiddle melody which would be
something like.
[MUSIC].
They would approximate it.
They would take the essence of it.
And use rolls like forward rolls or
forward backward rolls that were fairly
powerful.
They would just take the essence of the
melody and
it would sound something like this.
[MUSIC]
Anyway and
so on and so forth with Sally Good.
I decided I would try the same thing with
Sally Johnson which
you've already played through.
At least it proceeds this, this particular
lesson.
So if you want to go back to that, if you
haven't played it, played yet
you could check it out.
I do it in the melodic style.
And learned it from a fiddle player I play
with a lot called Mike Barnett.
And, it goes something like this, just as
a refresher.
The A part, anyway, goes
[MUSIC]
Now I was trying to think,
how could I take that and
do this Scruggsy sort of thing to it and
come out with that Sally Goodin position?
But in a different way so it would suit
just Sally Johnson.
And I came up with this A section.
Which goes like this.
[MUSIC]
Now there's this whole batch of tunes that
you use this position up here.
[MUSIC]
So let me just talk first about this
position.
Because this applies to a lot of tunes.
It happens in Sally Goodin, as I've
already mentioned.
It happens in Cumberland Gap.
And just a lot.
It's a lot of Earl uses it in Foggy
Mountain Breakdown.
You can use it just for general backup for
fiddle tune playing.
So you really need to be able to,
to work out of this position to stretch
your boundaries in Bluegrass.
So let's just start with this, the basic.
Just at this position you have the ring on
the ninth fret of the first string.
[MUSIC]
Index on the eighth fret of the second.
[MUSIC].
But basically those two notes are coming
out of your D position G cord.
So you could just do.
[MUSIC]
As it in the the tablature.
[MUSIC]
But
instead of doing that now let's just
shorten it.
Again, bluegrass is bluegrass banjo
features a lot of shorthand.
[MUSIC]
And
that's the basic position again that we'll
be using again.
Ring on the ninth fret of the first.
Index on the eighth fret of the second.
Now.
[MUSIC]
Cuz the melody is, on the fiddle,.
[MUSIC]
In the melodic sound,
playing it that way, here I'm going
[MUSIC]
So what we're going to do
is just add the pinky to
the tenth fret of the second string while
we hold the rest of this position.
[SOUND] So,
[MUSIC]
Start without it, then add it.
[MUSIC]
Sometimes, often, in fact,
you have to have the eleventh fret of the
second string.
This is a bit of a stretch.
If this is just too hard for you, and your
fingers won't do this,
then you can just stay wherever you see
the eleven in the tablature,
just go to the, keep it at the tenth
thread.
But, hopefully, you'll be able to go.
[MUSIC]
And even cooler than
that is giving it a little bit of a bend,
a little choke, pushing up.
[MUSIC]
So it's a little out of tune, but
in a cool way.
[MUSIC]
And
then, in this version of Sally Johnson,
I'm going
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Have the basic position.
Add the pinkie on the tenth fret of the
second.
And then up to the eleventh fret.
[MUSIC]
Trying that a few times.
[MUSIC]
And the other thing I do is.
[SOUND] Sorry.
[MUSIC]
I
bring the middle finger down on the ninth
fret of the third string.
And this brings up a very important point.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Once again,
talking about Scruggs style being filled
with details.
This is another little detail that makes a
big difference in the way you sound.
That is.
[MUSIC].
Basically what you wanna do, is don't.
Even though there's certain tunes,
especially with Sally Goodin,
not so much with Sally Johnson, but with
Sally Goodin where you're going
[MUSIC]
It's tempting to keep you middle finger
down the whole time, for the whole A
section cuz you keep hitting that note.
So people will go.
[MUSIC]
Now,
Bill Keith, who wrote all the tablature
for the original Scruggs book.
Went down to see Earl to play it for Earl
to make sure that he was accurate
in his transcriptions, and he was playing
Sally Goodin for Earl and Earl said well,
it sounds kind of okay, but it sounds like
there's a wrong note in there.
And Bill was pretty sure he had it
correct, but
what Earl was hearing was this note here
ringing across all the other notes.
[MUSIC]
Sounds like an E-minor chord.
[MUSIC]
So at that point Earl's,
when they realized what was going on, Earl
said what he does is he just puts
the middle finger down when he needs it,
rather than keeping it there.
So when you do that with Sally Goodin.
[MUSIC]
You clip it.
You just give it a little more staccato
sound.
So instead of this.
[MUSIC]
You go.
[MUSIC]
And so on and so forth.
So just get in to the habit of lifting
that off.
Keeping it fairly short.
Okay, so that's the A section of Sally
Johnson.
Where you're going.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC].
And I just do a little Scruggs thing down
here.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Now
the B part of Sally Johnson, the melodic
style, goes like this.
[MUSIC]
And single string style, for that matter.
[MUSIC]
Now instead of playing all those notes,
I'm just gonna get the essence of the
melody, and
I came up with this arrangement.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
So that's just taking the essence of
the melody and putting it in to a Scruggs
format.
And when I started doing this I wasn't
sure how it would work out.
But you come up with some kind of fun
things.
I particularly like this thing.
[MUSIC]
Just jump.
[MUSIC]
Take the middle finger and
slide all the way up to the eighth fret.
I've written out five to eight in the
tablature.
[MUSIC]
But it's just from somewhere down here,
you do a big long slide.
It could be five or three, or even six.
[MUSIC]
So, the B part once again is.
[MUSIC]
Okay,
so I'm gonna play the whole Sally Johnson
here with this
Sally Goodin position as the basis of it.
[SOUND].
[MUSIC]
I'd be very happy to play that for another
two hours, but you get the idea.
I'll do it in one more time, just a little
more slowly.
[MUSIC]
And send me a video so
I can see what you're doing on this if you
get a chance.
[MUSIC]