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Old Time Fingerpicking
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Banjo Lessons: “Happy Birthday” (Key of C)

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All right, here's another version of
Happy Birthday, a little bit fancier, this
time in the key of C.
Even though most Happy Birthdays tend to
be fairly atonal Shern Burgin,
kind of affairs.
This is, [COUGH] a chance in case more
people have a voice in C, or
if that's more in their range they can do
it in C as opposed to G.
So, the melody's all still there.
This isn't a bad idea if you know a tune
in, in G, try it in C.
It works pretty nicely for Happy Birthday.
So you're doing a quarter note.
you're filling the space by doing two
forward rolls.
Bring the thumb to the second string.
On the second string first fret.
And then a little bluegrass in G,
little two to three slide forward roll.
catch that pinch in measure five, with the
index and middle.
then I use the ring on the fourth fret of
the fourth.
then the pinch with the middle and thumb.
And you're getting a G ninth chord here.
You, it start with the melody on the
second fret of the third string.
I'll use the mid, middle finger.
Add the ring on the third fret of the
fourth string.
This is sort of a Reno quarter note and
two forward rolls deal with no fifth
Don Reno would do a lot of this
sort of thing.
If you're just fretting the third fret
of the fourth string.
That gives you a G seventh.
If you add the second fret of the third
That gives you a G.
G ninth cord.
Bill Keith is the one that really brought
the G ninth into Bluegrass.
Or the ninth cord in general.
Because he was a plectrum banjo player and
knew a lot of cords.
And when he started playing Bluegrass in
the early 60's.
It was actually a little bit later on,
mid 60's he started to throw that ninth
cord in.
But the ninth cord is the combination of
the flatted seventh,
which in this case is the third fret of
the fourth string.
And the ninth note of the scale which is
the same as the second note of the scale.
In this case, do re, G's on the third
second fret of the third string is the
second note.
Do re mi fa so la ti do.
Do re, one, two, there's the second note
of the scale which is again the same
as the ninth note of the scale.
And when you say a G ninth chord it
implies the ninth plus the flatted
This is just the way it works.
Okay, so.
Measure, six.
I've got a two-zero pull off.
I'm using the ring.
Real good snab.
It's right on the first string.
There's no other string to get in the way.
The note you pull off.
To should be as strong as the one you're
hitting initially.
Back to C and
I bring the thumb over to the second
string cuz it's just a little bit
Two forward rolls.
Thumb, thumb, thumb.
And I'm using the pinky on
the fourth fret of the fourth string right
That's a Scruggsy kinda deal.
I'm sliding middle finger three to five,
you're going up to the barred C position
here, but
you're only using the first two fret,
first two strings thereof.
what Earl probably does is hit with the
index in the right hand.
And then bring the thumb across.
like the Foggy Mountain Break Down role
except with a C slide.
So sliding.
Slide to the middle finger, add the ring.
And then measure 11.
I'm riding three to, a five to three slide
But it's
it's not exact, you're not exactly sliding
to three, you're just kind of throwing it
away again.
And you're, you've got the middle finger
here in the left hand.
And then hit, it's really you're playing
against an F chord.
But the, the melody's on the open second
string, so I'm just fretting the pinkie on
the third fret of the first string.
And then I go to an F chord on the first
three strings.
The F position F chord, add the middle on
the second fret of the third,
forward roll to the index on the first
fret of the second string.
then I go to an F minor chord, just cuz I
needed to get fancy here on the C version.
And so here's the F.
to get the minor chord you take a regular
triad, a regular chord.
Do, re, mi.
And then flat that.
One, two, three,
flat the first note of the scale.
Which is the first fret of the third
Back to C.
then the bottom part of an F chord with an
open first string, cuz you don't need it.
So, so
right now you're left with the D seventh
position out of your F chord.
And I move the middle down one fret to a
So the whole thing put together slowly is.
All right, there's the fancier in C Happy
Enjoy and use often as the years roll on.