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Banjo Lessons: “Black Jack Grove”

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[MUSIC]
This is a great tune called Blackjack
Grove.
I was at the Suwannee Banjo Camp earlier
this year, this being 2010.
And I saw Mac Benford, one of my old
buddies, a great old-time clawhammer and
fingerpicking player played this and it
just blew me away.
I, I just thought it was so amazing.
And I asked him to show it to me, and
there's some tricky stuff here.
So this is very accurate,
cuz I made sure I was getting it exactly
the way he was playing it.
And you can see his version in the video
of him playing it at that very camp as,
exactly as I was hearing it and saying I
gotta learn this too.
So let's take the A part for starters.
[MUSIC]
So, it starts actually on an upbeat.
You go one and two.
[SOUND] And one and two and.
Cuz one problem with this tablature
program, program,
everything works except for inibit, I
can't get the tied notes to tie.
So it starts off with a tied note.
You're trying to open the first string on
the downbeat of the next measure.
But, so it's one and two.
[MUSIC]
And one and two.
So you're pulling off.
[MUSIC]
Five to three.
A lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs here,
which is the old time way.
One and two and one and two and, and the
hammer-on.
[MUSIC]
And when I hold that index finger down.
[MUSIC]
And
then pull-off with the pinky three-to-zero
on the first string.
[MUSIC]
And then I keep that index down still and
add the pinky back on the third fret of
the first string.
[SOUND] And then I let go.
[SOUND]
Actually,
he hits the fifth string as he's pulling
off.
[MUSIC]
Hammer on, that's measure five.
[MUSIC]
I'm sorry,
going up to the pinky on the fifth fret of
the first string.
[SOUND] Down to the index on the third
fret of the first string.
And then take the index and just slide it
up.
So, on measure six.
[MUSIC]
It's a hammer-on, pull-off.
[MUSIC]
Ha,
make sure you snap it off that first
string.
[MUSIC]
So
hammer on's index to ring, five to seven
pull off [SOUND] Back to the five.
Add the index on the sixth fret of the
second, open first.
[SOUND] Down to the first fret of the
second.
[MUSIC]
Hammer on, another pull off.
[SOUND] And add the pinky on the third
fret of the first, and
then the pinky comes up.
[SOUND] And I pull off pinky to index.
[MUSIC]
And then pull off.
[SOUND]
And again,
these are eighth notes unto themselves.
You're not pulling off at this point to
another note.
You're just pulling off.
[SOUND]
And
you're kinda going into a D seventh
position.
[SOUND] Pulling off ring to index,
adding the middle on the second fret of
the third string.
[SOUND] Open third, open first, quarter
note.
So the whole A part is one and two.
[SOUND] And one and two.
[MUSIC]
Now you could bring it to the B part.
Let's take the second ending.
[MUSIC]
Of the A part.
[MUSIC]
Now here's where it starts getting tricky.
It's a very cool thing, but it takes a
little getting used to.
[MUSIC]
He hits the fifth string.
Second, that's the seventh,
the position of the seventh eighth note of
that measure.
[MUSIC]
And then without picking the third string,
your ham, instead of.
[MUSIC]
You're gonna
hammer-on zero-to-two on the third string.
But you're gonna do it without hitting the
third string.
So, you hit the fifth string.
[SOUND] And then.
[SOUND] You just hammer-on.
And again, you're not picking the third
string.
[MUSIC]
And then.
So.
[SOUND] And then you hit the second string
quarter note.
[SOUND] Thumb on the third string.
[SOUND] Although he uses the index, so.
[SOUND] To be true to the way he's doing
it, index, index, quarter note.
And then a pull off.
[SOUND] Again, four eighth notes.
[SOUND] Ba, ba, ba, ba.
[SOUND] And here's a tricky one.
[SOUND]
So what he does,
he hits the fourth fret of the fourth
string.
You're on the D chord now.
[SOUND] And again, as you hammer it on
without hitting the string,
now you're pulling off without hitting the
string.
What you're going to need to do is come
down with your index and
ring at the same time.
[MUSIC]
A low part of the D chord.
So you're hammering on, well you're
bringing your hand down.
The ring on the fourth fret of the fourth,
the index on the second fret of the third.
[SOUND] And then you're pulling off two to
zero.
[SOUND] On the third string.
[SOUND] With the index.
[SOUND] While you keep the ring down.
[SOUND] And then bring it back down, the
index comes back on.
[SOUND]
To the fourth string.
[SOUND] Index, thumb, index.
It's a little single string lick.
[MUSIC]
It's gonna take a little getting used to.
It took me a little while and I'm still
not fully there.
[MUSIC]
So.
[MUSIC]
And then it's the same hammer-on
to the third string that you hit the fifth
string hammer-on to the third string.
[MUSIC]
Quarter note, oh sorry.
[MUSIC]
And
he doubles his thumb there, apparently.
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC]
Sorry, once again.
[MUSIC]
And
this is measure 14, it's the same thing
you just did.
[SOUND] Bring the ring and index both down
on the low part of a D chord.
[SOUND] And you pull-off zero-to-two
without it hitting the third string.
[MUSIC]
And the same routine of the fifth string,
hammer-on without hitting the third
string.
[MUSIC]
And same routine here on measure 16th.
[MUSIC]
You're in that D position, the low,
on the bottom two strings.
[MUSIC]
And pull off, zero to two.
Get it to snap.
[MUSIC]
And
then I add the pinky on the third fret of
the first string.
[SOUND] And this is, the way you do it in
the beginning whereas that,
where you're hitting the upbeat from the
measure before.
[MUSIC]
Hm.
[MUSIC]
Okay, there it is.
It's a little tricky, but it's, it's a
little more advanced,
no two ways about it.
So, let me try this all one more time.
One and two and.
[MUSIC]
The great thing about old time tunes like
this is you can play them for hours
without getting tired of them.
Just get into a trance state.
And to get into your astral body or
wherever you want to go.
With a tune like this, cuz it is tricky,
you just play it over and
over and over and over.
Play it ten times in a row, and it'll
start clicking into place,
some of these pull-offs and hammer-ons,
these tricky things.
So, enjoy Blackjack Grove.
I certainly do.
I hope you enjoy it.
[MUSIC]