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Banjo Lessons: Melodic Style Part 1: “Devil's Dream”

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[MUSIC]
Now
we're gonna move into a whole other arena
of endeavor, and we're gonna start talking
about the so called melodic style, that's
what it's called.
Not sure if it's the most accurate name
for it, but that's what it's called.
And it's a play, a way of playing that's
completely divorced from Scruggs style.
It's just a whole other thing.
It's a three finger style and it was made
popular by Bill Keith,
who was living in Boston, Massachusetts in
the early Sixties and started
fooling around with a fiddle tune called
Devil's Dream, which goes like this.
[MUSIC].
It has a whole different sound.
Completely different sound, and it doesn't
use any of these licks.
[MUSIC].
And it's based on scales.
[MUSIC]
So, instead of having
a quarterly based style as you do when you
have Scruggs style.
[MUSIC]
Where you might do
something like You Are My Sunshine, just
to use that as another example.
[MUSIC]
So you have all these extraneous.
Not extraneous notes, but these filler
notes, if you will,
that are have nothing to do with the
melody.
[MUSIC]
But
rather than having it all bare like that.
[MUSIC]
You have all these other notes.
And those notes most often are just notes
of the chord you're playing in.
So if you're in playing, you're playing in
the key of G and
you're playing in G chord, as you are here
[MUSIC]
Melody notes on the second string, but
all these other notes are just notes on
the G chord.
[MUSIC]
You make me happy.
[MUSIC]
So
we have these other notes that are not,
again, part of the melody.
What are they?
They're notes of the C chord.
[MUSIC]
More filler notes that are just
notes of the chord.
So it's a chordly based style, with melody
notes interspersed amongst those chord,
chord tones and when you take a chord and
break it up into its individual notes
that's called an arpeggio, and so
you're arpeggiating, whatever chord you're
playing on at the time.
And throwing the, the melody notes into
that arpeggio.
In the melodic style, every note's a
melody.
And the melodic scales based on scales.
So.
[MUSIC]
If you just go up on one string.
Let's say the third string, cuz that's G.
[SOUND] And just go up.
[SOUND] And do a Do Re Mi scale.
Why don't you try it first?
Even though you may be looking at the
tablature.
Don't look at the tablature.
And just see if you can find the notes of
a G scale, starting
[MUSIC]
Do, re, mi.
I'll give you those first three notes.
And then just go up into the 12th fret.
So I'll just give you a moment to do that.
If you're having trouble.
You're basically gonna go zero two four
five seven nine eleven twelve.
That's the easiest, easiest way to look at
it.
Just going up on one string.
[MUSIC]
Or
you could go across the strings this way.
[MUSIC]
Now again this isn't the melodic style but
zero two on the second.
Zero one on the I'm sorry.
[SOUND] Zero two on the third.
Zero one on the second.
And then four hits on the first string.
[MUSIC]
Zero, two, four, five.
Again the idea of using one finger per
fret.
Index, ring, pinkie.
[MUSIC]
Now what you're doing here every time.
Let's take this last example.
[MUSIC]
Here's the first note G.
And then you go to the A note here at the
second fret of the third string.
When you do that, when you go to that A
note, that second note of the G scale,
the first note's gone.
[MUSIC]
Cuz it's on the same string.
So the G immediately disappears.
And then you go to the second string
[MUSIC]
And as you hit, and
that note's ringing, the B note, the open
second string.
[MUSIC]
As you go to the first fret
[MUSIC]
you've lost the B.
And by the same token on the first string,
[MUSIC]
Zero, two, four, five.
[SOUND].
There's your open first string.
Nice and ringy.
[SOUND].
It disappears when you hit that second
fret.
[SOUND].
Which disappears as you hit the fourth
fret.
[SOUND].
Which disappears.
[SOUND] As you hit the fifth fret.
And that's fine.
There's a whole style which we'll talk
about later,
called the single string style, which is
based on playing the same string one, or,
two, or three, or 30 times in a row
depending on what you're doing.
In melodic style, you're always gonna be
playing a separate string as you do in
Scruggs style and that gives you all that
ring that you have in Scruggs style.
In the melodic style, it tends to be a
ringier sound.
I was playing Devil's Dream before.
[MUSIC]
And it's ringing.
In single string style you go
[MUSIC].
It's a little more clipped.
[MUSIC].
Instead of
[MUSIC]