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Banjo Lessons: “Old Joe Clark” (Advanced)

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This is a fancy version of Old Joe Clark.
This is Bill Monroe's solo.
This was what Bill Monroe played on the
Transcribed and transferred over to the
And as I've said in other places, when you
hear Bill Monroe play a solo.
It's always great.
It's always nice.
It's Bill Monroe and he has this amazing
woody sound.
And, and it's just fabulous,
but you don't always really listen to the
notes he's actually playing.
At least, as a banjo player, you sometimes
miss things.
In fact you miss a lot of stuff and
there's just a lot of really great stuff
in this.
And this is not banjoistic, it's not like.
It's a much different sort of a thing,
because you're thinking in terms of
another instrument.
So, I do the slide to lead in.
That's the first A part.
And so as a tunal lead in.
Just a lot of this.
To get the notes he's playing,
slide this back and forth between the
index, middle.
[SOUND] You could go [SOUND] middle.
[SOUND] Thumb.
[SOUND] Middle.
[SOUND] Thumb.
[SOUND] Kind of like trying it with the
index, though.
It's good practice cuz that's a weak move
and it's good to, the more you do it,
hopefully, the easier it will get.
[SOUND] So one and two and one [NOISE] and
then you're at the ring at the third.
The fifth fret of the second, index at the
third fret of the first.
And then a backward roll.
As you get to the first fret of
the second string.
And then a single string.
[SOUND] One.
[SOUND] Thumb.
[SOUND] Index.
[SOUND] first string fifth fifth string.
It's an actual [NOISE] forward roll and
then you keep that index down.
this is something that really attracted
this to me.
The first time I heard it, rather than
having the open B string.
Monroe just keeps that first fret of
the second string, that fourth note of the
scale going [NOISE] and
it's really amazing to that.
This is, I mean, when I first heard this
This is from like, the 1950s or something,
later 50s.
I heard that, it just blew me away.
I thought that's so pretty.
So that's why I wanted to work this out.
Hear that suspension in there.
It's a,
you end up doing an Osborne roll here.
Back to C and then you slide.
[SOUND] I can do a slide hammer on.
Actually, I, I go from index to middle
[NOISE] and then slide up the middle.
It sounds very fluid, but I do it.
[SOUND] Index to middle [NOISE] and then
slide the middle up to the third fret.
[SOUND] Kind of one to two and slide.
[SOUND] Forward roll and do it again.
So this measure six [NOISE] and
more of this, [NOISE] a little more
[SOUND] And then second string, the
forward roll.
[SOUND] Seven, seventh fret of the fourth
[SOUND] Index, middle on the second, on
the second string, so
it's inside [NOISE] to a D and then slide.
I'm ending up on the pinky here.
You could have the fourth string the, the
ring on the fourth string if you wanted.
Slide four to five.
As two eighth notes.
Slide fifth, first, third.
And again, you're still in G,
actually you're in A, capoed up two frets
is the way this would be done.
then he just keeps that [NOISE] C note
there going.
The fourth note of the scale.
Single string [NOISE] to the C [NOISE] and
then move up to the third fret of the
first two strings, middle and ring.
And then move the middle finger up
another two frets to the fifth fret of the
second string.
[SOUND] Open first.
[SOUND] Open fifth.
Back down to the [NOISE] third fret of
the second string and you're hitting the
first string with that as the pinch.
[SOUND] Fifth, first, [NOISE] second
string, [NOISE] quarter note and
I'll bring the thumb across for that.
Back to that C note.
[SOUND] And then the next measure, measure
14 goes.
You go from this to the middle on
the third fret of the second and the index
on the second fret of the first string.
To the fifth string and then [NOISE] third
fret of the first with the index [NOISE]
ring on the fifth fret of the second.
Open first.
[SOUND] Pinch the first and second and
fifth strings.
And then, two to three slides.
[SOUND] As you hit the second string,
[NOISE] then the open third quarter-note
and then.
Just a melodic lick,
[NOISE] with that inside, not just a
melodic lick, a very lovely melodic link.
[SOUND] I hit the middle of the second
string and
then the seventh fret of the fourth
[SOUND] I let go each time at the seventh
fret, [NOISE] so
you have the separation of notes.
[SOUND] When you back down.
[SOUND] Let go.
[SOUND] Index on the fourth fret of the
first string.
[SOUND] Open first.
And then slide the index.
Two eighth-notes.
[SOUND] Four.
[SOUND] Five.
[SOUND] Fifth.
[SOUND] First.
[SOUND] Third.
[SOUND] And you can pinch there, or else
go fifth and first, [NOISE] either way.
And then the B part there's some really
interesting stuff.
This is not the way most people play Old
Joe Clark.
Most people go.
What he's doing is.
No one on this planet has ever played old
Joe Clark like that, that I've ever heard.
But it's just an amazing variation.
He probably learned it from his Uncle Penn
Vanover when he was a kid.
Cuz his Uncle Ben helped raise him after
his parents died.
And when his two brothers went up to
Illinois to work in
the refineries up there.
And they would go to these fiddle contests
and just go out into the woods and, and
play mandolin while his uncle played the
And he might have learned it from Uncle
Ben, it's hard to say.
But anyway, the B part goes.
So you're just going up the scale.
you don't hit the seventh fret of the
first string.
I mean the fourth fret of
the first string.
It could mean the seventh note of the
And then fifth and first.
those two notes open give you a chance to
jump to this position.
So it's the fifth string,
it's a forward roll.
And you have the middle and
the 14th fret of the third string.
Indexed on the second fret of the first
Thumb wraps around the 12th fret of
the fifth string.
So, and there's a tied note there.
two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
Add the ring on the 14th fret of the first
Back to the fifth string at the 12th fret,
and then jump to the s, nine, ten
position, index and
middle and the blackberry blossom position
if you will, two backward rolls.
then index on the ninth fret of the third
string, open fifth, open first string.
Quarter, three-eighths, quarter,
two-eighths and I kinda slide into that
And then I slide off the fifth fret,
just down, and then the last four measures
Those are the third and
fourth measure, measures from the end, or
fourth and third.
I love this sound.
Quarter note on the third string.
Slide two to four with the middle.
Add the index on the third fret of the
second string as a quarter note.
Then slide four to nine.
Through the middle and
add the eighth fret of the second with the
Side, side, and
then when you're on the second string hit
And slide eight to twelve into a bar
position across the first two strings at
the twelfth fret.
add the ring on the fourteenth fret of the
fifth string.
And the open fifth, fourteenth fret of
the, of the fifth string going to the
twelfth fret of the first open fifth, so.
then just this little backward, two
backward rolls.
With the index and middle, ninth and
tenth frets, open fifth.
Move the middle down for
the second string to the seventh fret of
the second string,
add the ring on the seventh fret of the
first string.
And then the last measure is.
All open strings.
Or you could go.
Two forward rolls.
Anything to fill out that space.
All right.
And I'm just gonna throw a quick ending on
we have something to do at the end of
Fifth string, seventh fret of the first,
forward roll.
Fifth string open, fifth fret of the
second, open first,
again fifth same forward roll again so.
Let go of that index each time at
the fifth fret so we have the separation
of notes.
Then open second, open third, and then
second fret of the third with the index,
fourth fret of the fourth with the ring.
Pinch the first and
third strings to the index and middle.
And then, so the timing would be.
it's a pinch with the first and third
You're just sliding two to four on the
third string.
Fifth, third, two,
zero on the fourth string, quarter,
quarter and then let's see.
first, four to five, slide, pinch on the
first and third.
So the whole thing would be.
Okay, now let's do the whole old Joe
Clarks slowly and then up the tempo.
Again, just an amazing arrangement that
Bill Monroe came up with for this and
it's nice to have it on the banjo.
Little bit faster.