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Banjo Lessons: New Tuning: Calloway

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[MUSIC]
We're
going to do a tune right now called
Calloway.
This is an old time tune that I learned
from the playing of Burl Hammons who's
just a wonderful banjo player who played
with his family,
the Hammons family out of West Virginia.
A family rich in storytelling, banjo
playing, fiddle playing, and so
on and so forth.
This tune, Calloway,
it's probably coming out of the turn of
the century parlor style.
Meaning the 1800s going into the 1900s.
It's in a drop C tuning which means,
instead of being in just G tuning.
[MUSIC]
We're gonna take the fourth string and
tune it down to C.
[MUSIC]
This was the original tuning that
the banjo was in back in the mid-1800s.
[SOUND] At least in a relative sense.
[SOUND] Cuz now we're in our drop C
tuning, fourth string down to C.
[SOUND] It may take you a little while,
but it presumably or
hopefully you have one of these tuners
here that makes, makes life a lot easier.
So this is Calloway by Burl Hammons.
And, again, it has that kind of flavor of
the turn of the century parlor style, or
classic style as it's sometimes called.
And it's not Bluegrass, it's old-time.
It's old-time three finger banjo playing.
And it's just a really nice thing, rather
than always playing bluegrass it's nice to
try some of the old-time stuff too for a
different flavor.
So, this is Calloway.
[MUSIC]
And that's the whole tune.
It's short.
It's a lot of fun though.
And not that hard, so slow down, it's.
[MUSIC]
Pretty little tune.
And the B part is just basically a
variation on the A part.
It's just chords but it's really fun and
really pretty.
And you got that nice low C note, which I
love.
I love playing with a low C note.
Earl Scruggs does Home Sweet Home,
Farewell Blues Old Folks.
Which is basically Soldier's Joy with that
drop C tuning, it's really effective.
And here we are using it in old time
music, Burl Hammons' version of Calloway.
So.
[MUSIC]
Since you have that low C here,
you don't need to be fretting the second
fret of the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
And then you bring the middle over to
the second fret of the third string and
hit it with the index.
[MUSIC]
And then you go to a, a G seventh would
be just the third fret of the first string
and you could use your pinky.
But you can add the middle finger on the
second fret of the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
So.
[MUSIC]
And
add the middle finger on the second fret
of the third string.
[MUSIC]
Back to C on the first two strings.
[MUSIC]
Add the middle on the second fret of
the third string.
[SOUND] And he's anticipating the
G-seventh by having an open second string.
[MUSIC]
And hits the second string twice.
So here's the A part.
[MUSIC]
Now for the B part instead of quarter
notes there's a little more rolling going
on.
Forward, backward.
[MUSIC]
Like forward, backward, forward, backward.
So.
[MUSIC]
So once more, slowed down a little bit
more.
[MUSIC]
You just got the C chord.
[MUSIC]
Middle.
[MUSIC]
Let go.
[MUSIC]
Into the G seventh.
[MUSIC]
So, one more time for Calloway.
And when you're doing the G seventh.
[MUSIC]
I put the middle finger down first,
cuz that's the first thing you're hitting,
is the second fret of the third string.
Then I add the pinkie, so
you don't have to feel like you have grab
the whole thing at the same time.
[MUSIC]
First the middle, and then the pinkie, so.
[MUSIC]
Calloway.
[MUSIC]