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Banjo Lessons: Earl Scruggs: “The Girl in the Blue Velvet Band”

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[MUSIC]
Earl Scruggs
the girl in the Blue Velvet Band.
Earl Scruggs is not the girl in the Blue
Velvet Band.
But he plays the Banjo on this tune
playing with Hylo Brown of
the 1959 Newport Folk Festival.
I think Lester was out of action for
whatever reason and
they got Earl to sit in with Hylo Brown.
I think the Timberliners is the name of
the band, if I remember correctly.
And he just, I was just listening to this
the other day and
I just got blown away by his solo on it.
And figured I wanna just check this out
and write it, write it down and
transcribe it and show you folks.
One of the great things that Earl Scruggs
has added to the Banjo is the main thing
is syncopation.
Three finger style and when I interviewed
him, he talked about how he feels.
Like his big contribution was adding
syncopation.
And this is a really great example of
this.
The first two measures.
[SOUND]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
Just going in and
out of forward and backward rolls just to
create this great syncopated feel.
[MUSIC]
That's the,
those are the open strings for this lead
that he plays in the tune, which is.
[MUSIC]
So
he's borrowing the first two strings of
the fifth fret.
[MUSIC]
Add the pinky.
[MUSIC]
So.
[MUSIC]
So it's all forward roll.
And that eighth fret of the first string
that note that really stands out
comes in one note before the downbeat.
[MUSIC]
Backward.
Backward.
And then the second lick is also on the
second C chord and it goes backward,
backward to the first, first forward.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
Again, barring at the fifth fret.
[MUSIC]
Just things to watch for in the tune.
So he goes.
[MUSIC]
So there's all sorts of just amazing stuff
in this one little solo.
So he goes.
[SOUND] And then he just does this off the
top of his head without thinking about it.
It just flows out of him, that's why he's
such a genius.
So.
[MUSIC]
Forward roll hammer.
And then he stops on that double stop
there, that pinch.
[MUSIC]
Which gives you a real nice syncopation.
[MUSIC]
There's a hammer on.
[SOUND] To the fifth string and then.
[MUSIC]
Quick hammer on, pull-off.
[SOUND] So.
[MUSIC]
And I love this.
This is again, like Cripple Creek,
like a lot of things where he emphasizes
the upbeat.
.
One and two and.
By having the double stops or the pinches
on the up beat.
[MUSIC]
I'm sorry.
Don't hit that note.
You've got the fifth fret of the first
string and
here's the stick we did before with the
syncopation.
[MUSIC]
Forward, backwards to the pull-off.
[MUSIC]
Start with two backward rolls.
[MUSIC]
Very standard move for Earl.
The alternating two three slide.
[SOUND] Two three pull-off.
The fifth string.
[SOUND] This a really cool thing right
here.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
He does something like that on John Henry,
in a different context.
[MUSIC]
In John Henry I'm gonna digress
here, he goes.
[MUSIC]
So he comes in on that two on the
downbeat.
Here he's coming on the upbeat.
[MUSIC]
Which is really cool sound from
the measure before, which is measure 20.
[MUSIC]
Another standard lick, which is great.
Just the side of the middle finger to the
index on the second fret of the first.
[SOUND] Back roll, we'll pull-off.
[MUSIC]
That's the classic example of,
of G noise, which is just a silly name we
came up for these great,
shouldn't call it noise cuz it's great
Earl licks.
No melody, just licks and they're great,
just strung together.
[MUSIC]
Then he jumps.
He slides to way down here.
[SOUND] I wrote five.
It's not exactly five.
Just from wherever he starts sliding.
[SOUND] And I'm alternating between the
thumb and middle.
[SOUND] Sorry.
[MUSIC]
And at that point,
I can't hear what he's playing anymore,
the band comes in.
So I just ended it with my own stuff for
the last two measures,
the last three measures really.
[MUSIC]
Middle pinky, middle.
[SOUND] And slide the index.
[SOUND] Index.
Pinky and you're in your Sally Goodin
position here.
[SOUND] Pinky on the eleventh fret.
You're basically at eight fret and ninth
fret on the second and first strings.
[SOUND] Pinky and middle one goes down
like that, just throw it away.
[MUSIC]
So the whole thing together is.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did and
see you soon.
[MUSIC]