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Banjo Lessons: “Sitting On Top of the World”

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[MUSIC]
Hi folks, I hope you're all sitting on top
of the world.
This is just one of those great tunes that
has been done many times.
By everyone from Doc Watson to, Bill
Monroe and on and on and on.
And I figured it was time to get this up
here for all of you fine folks to play.
It's a straight ahead tune in G.
You can capo up two frets to A or four up
to B if you need to.
And I'm just going to break it down bit by
bit.
You just start.
[MUSIC]
With one of these very standard, lead ins.
I'm not even sure of the, I don't think
this is anywhere on the site, and
it's it's about time it got on there.
So the timing is one and two and one
[MUSIC]
And two and one.
And I'm playing the syllables here.
Dare I sing?
Perhaps just a little bit.
[MUSIC]
Okay so.
[MUSIC]
Just starting with the hammer on,
in the second measure into the forward
rolls.
[MUSIC]
Keep it going into the third measure.
[MUSIC]
And
then I do a slide into some forward rolls.
Two to three, or if you wanna go two to
four that's fine.
[MUSIC]
You might want to bend that a little bit
to get a, that funk value.
[MUSIC]
And you could,
change the gender if you're female and
wanna make it My Good Guy Left Me.
[MUSIC]
Now in measure six,
that's the C chord and I'm doing an Earl
thing right here.
Earl does this sort of thing.
He goes late to chords or early to chords
or holds a chord out too long on purpose.
Or leaves a chord early, so I'm kind of
doing that here.
[MUSIC]
Cuz the measure six is the C-chord
[MUSIC]
But I'm doing this pull off to get
the melody.
And then going to the C and it's not a
full C it's a partial C
playing the C chord with an open first
string basically.
[MUSIC]
And while holding that C note down,
I bring my ring over to the third fret of
the third string as a quarter note and
then
[MUSIC]
And the other little
single string passage at the end of that
measure.
[MUSIC]
To the zero on the fourth string,
on the third string.
And then a pull off on the fourth string
as I hit the first string.
[MUSIC]
Back to G, forward rolls.
[MUSIC]
And ano, another slide, forward rolls.
[MUSIC]
Now here's a hammer on,.
[MUSIC]
Pull off combination.
[MUSIC]
And what I'd like you to do is,
the hammer on doesn't have, you don't have
to hit it too hard.
But for the pull off, just emphasize that
a little bit more.
Cuz that way, you're gonna be emphasizing
the up beat.
Just a very subtle syncopation.
And so.
[MUSIC]
So
bring that, don't overdo it, but bring
that out a little bit more.
[MUSIC]
Worry.
Just two quarter notes.
[MUSIC]
Worry.
[MUSIC]
And now we're in measure 14.
[MUSIC]
A lot of repetition of sound,
but that's the melody.
[MUSIC]
So
for sitting again, these slides you can
just hit them straight, or
bend them a little bit, get them a little
funky.
[MUSIC]
Then a hammer on.
[MUSIC]
And pull off combination.
[MUSIC]
And for the pull off,.
[SOUND] I would emphasize that a little
bit more as you did that previous passage.
[MUSIC]
And that lick in measure 16.
[MUSIC]
It's an Earl lick and
you're doubling the thumb.
Thumb, thumb, and thumb again.
[MUSIC]
And the pull off, nice good snap.
Again, I'm almost always pushing up, but
you can pull down too.
It's absolutely fine.
Whichever gives you the best snap.
So,thumb, thumb, thumb, index.
And then thumb, thumb.
That's one of those rare cases where you
can use the same right hand finger,
twice in a row when you're doing eighth
notes.
[MUSIC]
Now I wanna show you a variation.
This isn't in the tablature but
it's just occurring to me as I'm playing
this to do this lick.
And it's gonna be in measure three.
Slightly melodic chromatic, variation.
[MUSIC]
Instead of doing that you'll do.
[MUSIC].
So, measure three would be the forward
roll as a,
as it is there except with different
notes.
[MUSIC]
So,
you're gonna hit the fifth string open.
Ring on the fifth fret of the second.
Index on the third fret of the first.
[MUSIC]
Back to the fifth fret of the second.
Open first, and then the index goes on the
second fret of the second string.
Pinky on the fifth fret of the third
string.
And there's the chromatic like, you're,
it's the same notes as if you're going
three, two, one on the second string.
And then on the first string, so the whole
measure would be
[MUSIC]
And in context.
[MUSIC]
And
then you continue, the way you were doing
it before.
[MUSIC]
Just a little variation.
So now I'm gonna play the entire tune the
way it was originally done,
without the chromatic variation.
[MUSIC]
So I hope you enjoy Sitting On Top of the
World.
[MUSIC]