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Banjo Lessons: Fiddle Tunes in D: “Chinquapin Hunting”

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[MUSIC]
Here's another D fiddle tune.
This is from the playing of Carroll Best.
Now, when you start getting into bluegrass
banjo or you hear about Bill Keith,
because he did so much, he came up with
this melodic style on his own.
And he played with Bill Monroe in 1963.
He joined in March of 63 and within about
a week and a half,
he had recorded eight tunes with Bill
Monroe, including Devil's Dream,
Sailor's Horn Pipe, and a bunch of tunes,
many of which were melodically based.
And so he was the one that everyone
associated with it, but
there were other people who came before
Bill Keith.
Not taking anything away from Bill, but
he was the one that was able to get it out
to the public at large.
And I, I heard about the Newport Folk
Festival in 1963 and
I was flabbergasted by this new banjo
style.
And, basically, because of his popularity
with Bill Monroe and
being on the Grand Ole Opry where he could
catch, you know, some of Bill Monroe's
performances even as far north as New York
state, on a cold winter day.
A lot of the people around the country
started playing in this style.
But in 1945, a man named Carroll Best, who
was a farmer in western North Carolina,
decided he was gonna learn to play this,
what he called the fiddle tune style.
He played week, weekend square dances
every Saturday night.
And as I understand it, one Saturday
night,
he knew in advance that the fiddle player
wouldn't be able to make it.
So, he decided he better come up with some
fiddle tunes on his own and
develop the style with, today we call the
melodic style,
which he called, again, the fiddle tune
style.
And the first tune he played was
Cripple's, Cripple Creek,
in the melodic style.
And he, no one had ever heard of him.
In fact, I wrote a whole book called The
Melodic Style for
Oak Publications back in 1975, and never
even heard of, of Carroll Best
until about 1990 at the Tennessee Banjo
Institute in Lebanon, Tennessee.
They had a gathering of 300 banjo players,
which I'm sure everyone in this world
would just love to have been there.
And Carroll Best was there.
He was being interviewed by John Hartford
when I arrived, and he was playing all
these fiddle tunes, and I asked him what
was the first fiddle tune he played?
And he said, Cripple Creek and it was
definitely the melodic style.
And so I did an interview with him, very
sweet man.
And he played a bunch of fiddle tunes for
me, including this next one,
which is a really pretty tune called,
Chinquapin Hunting.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
And
chinquapin is a kind of a sweet nut you
find down south.
And they make pies out of them.
There's a tune called Chinquapin Pie, and
this is Chinquapin Hunting.
[MUSIC]
That's the tune.
And.
[MUSIC]
You're using the fifth string as part of
the melody So the position you're working
out of is this.
You have the
[MUSIC]
almost like a little triangle here.
You have the pinky on the seventh fret of
the first string.
[MUSIC]
When you need it.
[MUSIC]
Index on the fifth fret of the second.
[MUSIC]
And
then bring the ring down to the ninth fret
of the third string.
[MUSIC]
This string.
Carol best just hit the first string at
that point.
I like adding the fourth string.
Nice little octave there.
[MUSIC]
And then Carol does that back and forth.
And
then.
Then the last time, it goes.
[MUSIC]
A little melodic thing.
[MUSIC]
Middle on the sixth fret on the third,
open second, ring on the second fret of
the fourth.
[MUSIC]
This is basically in E minor.
[MUSIC]
And
I have the ring on the nine, I'm sorry,
the sixteenth fret of the third, middle
on the fifteenth fret of the second, index
on the fourteenth fret of the first.
And then I move the ring from the third
string to the fifth string at
the sixteenth fret
[MUSIC]
Fifth string,
and then jump down to the 12th fret,
first two strings with the middle on the
second string 12th fret.
[MUSIC]
Ring on the 12th fret of the first string.
[MUSIC]
And
I bring the thumb across to the 11th fret
of the 5th string.
[MUSIC]
And
then I go the index on the seventh fret of
the first and the middle, or
you could use the ring on the ninth fret
of the second.
So.
[MUSIC]
Now, just add the ring on the 17th fret of
the first string.
[MUSIC]
Jump to the 12th fret.
[MUSIC]
Down here to the seventh fret of
the first.
Ninth fret of the second.
And open fifth.
And that's the whole tune.
So once more it's.
[MUSIC]