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Old Time Fingerpicking
Classic Style Banjo
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Banjo Lessons: “Washington Post March”

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All right, folks.
It's patriotic time and we're doing the
Washington Post march and
it's by Sousa, John Philips Sousa.
Arranged by BW Dykes for the banjo back
right around the turn of the century.
Because they were doing a lot of light
classical music in the so
called Classic Style.
Like classical music, marches, rags that
sort of thing.
Ladies were taking up the banjo.
It became a parlor instrument and I just
love this arrangement.
It's just about anatomically correct as
you could possibly get for
taking it over onto the banjo.
So I'm gonna play it for you right now,
the Washington Post March.
All right.
It's a workout.
It's a finger buster.
And it's just really great fun to play.
And as you can see, I'm playing on a nylon
strung Deering John Hartford model.
[SOUND] Because that's what they used back
then was nylon strings or
certainly more of probably gut strings.
Bare fingers, no picks.
Playing close to the bridge, generally,
because they had to be heard over the
piano or another banjo or orchestras.
So there was a fairly hard attack on these
I will try to go through this [NOISE] bit
by bit.
It's a, it's a long process here, but
worth the wait cuz it's such a great tune.
So it starts.
Pay attention to the the right handed
fingerings as you're doing this.
Working on the first string,
rather in Bluegrass, rather than using
thumb index, I'm just going back and
forth between the index and middle.
Starting with the middle.
Except once I get over to the second and
third strings, then I bring my thumb in.
And that's just mostly going between the
index and middle and that's the intro.
you're basically in the A -minor position,
ring, index, middle.
[SOUND] And the pinky,
I bring the index the pinkie up to the
seventh fret of the first string.
And then going to the ring index.
D seventh,
[NOISE] add the bar across the first two
Just kinda collapse the index.
Add the ring.
This is kind of a Scruggs thing where
you're pinching every other note,
[NOISE] except in this case
It's on the heavy [NOISE] on the strong
beats, rather than the upbeats.
So it's chord, [NOISE] one note.
[SOUND] Chord, single note.
And then index.
[SOUND] Middle.
[SOUND] Index.
[SOUND] middle.
[SOUND] Index.
And the same thing,
except of the G chord now.
And now, the first time you're going.
Kind of the E minor position, but
now you're going to an A seventh.
You have the ring on the second
fret of the first.
[SOUND] Middle on the second fret of the
[SOUND] Sorry.
Again, alternating single notes and
double notes.
[SOUND] Pinky.
To a D chord on the first three things.
Index, middle, pinky.
C [NOISE] to the fifth string.
Pinky on the sixth fret of the second,
of the first.
And come up to an A chord,
F position A chord on the first three
[SOUND] Seven, five and six.
And at that point,
[NOISE] quickly shift to the index on the
seventh fret of the first.
[SOUND] Middle.
[SOUND] Pinky.
[SOUND] Index, [NOISE] starting with the
middle going back and
forth between the middle and index here.
[SOUND] Middle.
[SOUND] Index.
[SOUND] And so on.
here's your F position D chord up here.
[SOUND] Pinky on the twelfth fret of the
[SOUND] Index on the tenth fret of the
second, [SOUND] Middle on the ni,
eleventh fret of the third.
[SOUND] To the ring.
[SOUND] to the pinkie,.
[SOUND] To the ring, [SOUND] To the pinky.
[SOUND] And then that repeats.
Then you go into the second section.
So the second section starts on the first
[SOUND] Index.
[SOUND] Middle on the open first.
So anyway, starting here.
I really like to dig
into that fourth string.
I saw a man named William Ball, William C.
Baldwin put out an album on Rounder
Records, a record many years ago.
He's one of the leading lights of classic
banjo playing
at least as of 20 years ago and beyond
earlier than that, of course.
And I saw him play at the Tennessee Banjo
Institute in 1990, I wanna say.
And he really, whenever he hit the fourth
string he'd really, really plunk it.
I really like that funky almost [NOISE]
like slap bass.
So, [NOISE] and
then you can lighten up once you get here
and here's.
[SOUND] Kind of your A minor position
acting more as a D, I'd say.
Funky picking.
then the most primo cord in the whole
[SOUND] And I'm just brushing up my
[NOISE] index across the second.
[SOUND] Third.
[SOUND] And fourth.
[SOUND] And fifth string.
And that chord.
I've got the index
on the second fret of the third.
[SOUND] Ring on the third fret of the th,
second fret of the second, sorry.
[SOUND] Ring on the third fret of the
[SOUND] Middle on the third fret of the
fourth string.
second up to the sixth fret, [NOISE]
really plunking.
And I'm actually letting go each time.
[SOUND] Doing the the separation of notes.
You could keep it down, [NOISE] but I like
that little edge.
I just like how quickly each
time I hit it.
Onto the third part.
A quick little melodic like almost.
[SOUND] Fifth, fifth string open,
the fourth fret of the first back to the
fifth string.
[SOUND] Sorry.
[SOUND] To the C.
[SOUND] And this often happens [NOISE] in
turn of the century music and
John Phillip Sousa.
Things changed keys the third time round.
Sometimes, the section is the called the
trio section.
So now you're in the key of C.
[SOUND] You just C on the first two
Hit the first three strings,
[NOISE] but you're only fretting the first
two strings.
I used the pinky.
that big jump your ears are used to, if
you know this tune.
Playing your F positions C,
ninth fret of the third.
[SOUND] Eighth fret of the second.
[SOUND] Tenth fret of the first.
And I'm doubling the thumb,
the middle finger.
There are no fingerings here on the music,
so I just made it up myself.
So from that C to this C, [NOISE] except
you're only playing the first two strings
And the pinky goes to the 14th fret
of the first.
[SOUND] Add the middle on the 13th fret of
the second.
Getting the seventh there [NOISE] on
the third fret of the first.
[SOUND] Then on the fifth fret of the
[SOUND] Cuz you're in drop C tuning.
Now here's the F chord [NOISE] going down
to the pinky on the sixth fret of the
first string, back to the pinky.
[SOUND] A chord.
To a D seventh up here.
[SOUND] To an A seventh, so
the D seventh [NOISE] is the pinky on the
fifteenth fret of the first.
[SOUND] Ring on the fifteenth fret of the
[SOUND] Index fourteenth fret of the
in A seventh, pinky just goes down one
fret, as does the ring.
And the index goes one extra fret down to
the twelfth fret of the third string.
So pinky on the 14th fret of the 1st.
[SOUND] Ring, 14th fret of the 2nd.
[SOUND] Index.
12th fret of the 3rd.
And the D minor, pinky
on the 12th fret of the 1st, borrowing the
first three strings of the 10th fret.
then it's your C chord, pinky, ring and
middle [NOISE] across the fifth fret.
And here's the pinky on the seventh fret
of the first,
index on the fourth fret of the second.
[SOUND] Middle on the fifth fret of the
[SOUND] Up two frets, to a G seventh.
And that's the whole B section too.
So I will play the whole thing one more
time for
your personal pleasure, as well as my own.
The Washington Post March.
So I hope you enjoyed The Washington Post