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Banjo Lessons: “Blackberry Blossom”

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[MUSIC]
Well, it's been a long time coming, but
here's Blackberry Blossom should have been
up many months ago.
It's just one of those tunes that
everybody loves and it's a great tune and
this is a more advanced version.
I wanted to come up with a version for the
site and
I didn't wanna use something that I had
come up with before.
So this is from the Black Mountain Band
recorded in Galax, Virginia in the 1960s.
That's as much as I know.
I don't know who the band is.
But I don't know who the personnel is or
what their story was.
Probably an amateur band entering a band
contest at Galax,
one of the big fiddlers' conventions.
And in translating the fiddle notes, which
is what I've done here over to the banjo.
It's not hard, hard but there are some
slightly tricky things here,
one of which is the business of going.
[MUSIC]
Or hitting four notes in a row.
So what you're gonna be doing is hitting
the first string [NOISE]
with the middle thumb [NOISE] on the
second string, index on the third.
[SOUND] And thumb on the fifth string.
[SOUND] That's the first thing that
happens in measure two.
[SOUND] So you have the middle on the
fifth fret of the second,
index on the fourth fret of the first.
[MUSIC]
As the tune out lead in.
Then you bring it up here,
[MUSIC]
So [NOISE] forward roll and
that middle finger becomes the first note
of this four in a row and
this is in the lessons also.
You can check it out a little more
extensively there, but
[NOISE] this is in context.
[SOUND]
Middle [NOISE] thumb.
[SOUND] Index.
[SOUND] Thumb.
[SOUND] And you need to bring your ring
down to the eleventh fret of the third,
the third string.
[MUSIC]
So.
[MUSIC]
And then move your middle and index back
down to the four and five, fifth fret of
the second, fourth fret of the first.
[SOUND]
Little melodic thing.
And then a backward roll at the end of
measure three.
[SOUND] Not exactly a backward roll but
again,
this four in a row on the first four
strings.
[SOUND] Middle.
[SOUND] Middle on the first string open.
[SOUND] Thumb on the second string open.
Index on the third string open.
[SOUND] And the thumb goes to the fourth
string and
you're hitting that with the ring, seventh
fret on the fourth string.
So.
[MUSIC]
Then.
[MUSIC]
I'm using the ring here on the seventh
fret of the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
Maybe a little easier to use the pinky.
[MUSIC]
Then ring.
[MUSIC]
Index.
[MUSIC]
Ring.
[MUSIC]
And this is a little
single string passage, watch the, the, the
right hand as you're doing this.
[MUSIC]
And
then another four notes in a row in
measure five.
[SOUND] Middle on the first thumb on the
second.
[SOUND] Index on the third.
[SOUND] Pinky or ring on the seventh fret
of the fourth string.
[SOUND] And then this just repeats.
[MUSIC]
This
is a little different, just a backward
roll and then.
[MUSIC]
A little single string lick.
[SOUND] Two.
[SOUND] Four.
[SOUND] Index to ring.
[SOUND] Ring, index.
[SOUND] Ring.
[SOUND] Index.
[SOUND] Ring.
[SOUND] Index.
[SOUND] Ring.
[SOUND] So.
[MUSIC]
I'm sorry.
[MUSIC]
There's the second ending.
Then the B part [NOISE] is E-minor.
Although, sometimes it's cool to have the
guitar playing E-major behind you cuz
you get that tension between the major and
the minor.
And so it's like, you play your C chord
but
lift off your index, which gives you an
E-minor.
[SOUND] The E chord is the, with the index
on the third string first fret.
And again, you have your middle on the
fourth fret, fourth string of the second.
Sorry.
[SOUND] Second fret of the fourth string.
[SOUND] Ring on the second fret of the
first string.
But you have that open third and open
second.
So.
[MUSIC]
This is good practice for going back and
forth between the middle and index, which
is a tricky thing to do.
Almost universally people have a little
bit of an issue with that.
So this is a good chance to really work on
that.
[MUSIC]
So
your [NOISE] second fret open, second fret
[MUSIC]
Same thing,
[NOISE] except with a quarter note
starting that measure and then measure 13.
[MUSIC]
Just end with a quarter note
on the open first string.
[MUSIC]
Another forward roll.
[NOISE] Middle on the first.
[SOUND] Thumb on the second.
[SOUND] Index on the third.
[SOUND] Thumb again.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
And just move it back down.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
Then we'll the measure 17 is.
[MUSIC]
Quarter note on the first string.
[MUSIC]
And
then fifth fret on the second open first.
[MUSIC]
An open second.
[MUSIC]
Open third.
[MUSIC]
Second fret of the third on the index,
ring on the fourth fret of the fourth.
[MUSIC]
Open third.
[MUSIC]
Okay.
So the whole thing put together is.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
All right, Blackberry Blossom.
I hope you enjoy it.
[MUSIC]