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Banjo Lessons: “Ruben” - In D Tuning

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[MUSIC]
Howdy folks.
D tuning, it's a wonderful world to
explore.
Not explored enough cuz a lot of people
don't like to get out of G tuning to get
into D tuning, but it happens to be the
very first tune that Earl Scruggs ever
played in the three finger style as he
explained it,
he would be picking in the two finger
style,.
And suddenly that middle finger just got
in there and it smooths out the roll,
and it was just an amazing sound.
I'll try just a little bit of the two
finger style.
[MUSIC]
And here's a three finger style.
[MUSIC]
Just kind of opens things up more, smooths
things out.
[COUGH] so this is, historically really
important for three-finger pickers.
And it's, it's a very basic tune but it's
so cool, it's so
great, and it's a train song, basically.
And I'm going to show this to you right
now.
It has some of the same elements that you
find in just G tuning, for
instance the two to three slide that you
have in Boil them Cabbage Down in
the beginning section of lessons.
That's how this starts.
The first measure is
[MUSIC]
So you've got the two to three slide,
still on the third string, but
it has a whole different sound because
you're in the different tuning here.
So the two to three slide to the open
second string, then the fifth and
first string is an alternating thumb roll.
Then, you do a three to two pull-off on
the third string just like the three to
two pull-off lick with the alternating
thumb that you would do in G tuning but
it has a whole different sound.
So, three to two pull-off, middle to
index,
unless it's easier for you to do ring to
middle it's not a big deal,
but I prefer the middle to index, as
you're doing that,
it's two-sixteenth notes to the open
second string, open third, open first.
[MUSIC]
And then one more slide.
Two to three slide that what I just showed
you, and
then the fourth string quarter note.
[MUSIC]
So.
[MUSIC]
And then fourth, second, third, first.
Now, they're alternating thumb roll.
First, second, third, first.
So.
[MUSIC]
Another slide,
two to three, just like you started with.
Second string, fifth first.
And then the pull off again.
And you have a choice here in the
tablature I'm gonna have it,
go to the third fret of the fourth string,
which is this really kind of funky sound.
When Earl does that pull off he goes three
to two pull-off.
On the second string sorry on the third
string.
[MUSIC]
To the open second string then it goes to
the open third string and open first.
[MUSIC]
Sonny Osborne,
when he would do this would go.
[MUSIC]
Which is a little bluesier,
a little funkier.
So you could do it either, either way.
In the tab, tablature I'm going to have
you go three to two pull-off, open second,
third fret of the fourth string.
You could even bend it a little bit if you
wanna get funky.
To the first string.
[MUSIC] Sorry.
[MUSIC]
And then finish off that line,
fourth string quarter note, pinch the
outside second strings.
Second, I'm sorry, fourth string, first,
and fifth strings.
Second string, first and fifth strings as
outside pinches.
[MUSIC]
And those are quarter notes.
So the whole first four measures.
more up
to tempo.
[MUSIC]
And
then the last four
measures are
[MUSIC]
Slow down.
[MUSIC]
So
you've got a forward backward roll, two to
three slide to start with on
the third string hitting it with the thumb
open second, open first,
thumb index middle to the fifth string,
and then the backward roll first,
second, three to two pull-off on the third
string open first.
And then, this is easy you don't have to
use your left hand at all.
Third, second, fourth, first.
Alternating thumb.
And then another pull-off to that funky
third fret of the fourth string.
So it's the three to two pull-off.
Hitting with the thumb.
Open second, third fret of the fourth
string,
hitting that with the thumb, open first,
so up to that point it's
[MUSIC]
Then, the third measure of this section.
Quarter note on the fourth string, hit it
with the thumb.
And this is like the tab lick ending that
you have in G.
This is the D version of that, that Earl
came up with.
[MUSIC]
So quarter note on the fourth string,
then a forward roll.
Fifth, second, first, come back from there
to the open third string.
[MUSIC]
Do a two to three slide on the fourth
string to the first string.
Then fourth string, next measure, last
measure.
Fourth string quarter note.
Pinch the outside strings, first and fifth
strings.
Second string, quarter note.
Pinch the outside strings, first and
fifth.
So that whole last half would be.
[MUSIC]
Little more slowly
[MUSIC]
And put together with the first four
measures you have.
[MUSIC]
And the train really starts taking off
after that.
So this is such a great tune.
One chord wonder of a tune.
There might be a quick A chord at the end
of it,
like D, D, D, D, D, D, D.
Maybe there into a quick A chord.
D.
But you can just play D through the whole
thing and that works.
So, I hope you enjoy this basic version of
Ruben's Train, or Ruben, and
in the next lesson I'll show you a couple
variations.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Welcome to the second lesson on Ruben.
I'm gonna give you some variations, so
you have more than just one way of playing
this tune.
And it's really fun coming up with
variations.
In fact,
I just came up with a couple while I was
sitting here preparing to do this video.
The first one is very similar to something
that Earl did on his original
Foggy Mountain banjo recording, which is
kind of a bluesy sound.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
So to begin with
[MUSIC]
You're going to do a two to three slide on
the third string with the middle finger,
and as you slide, actually as you're
coming up from the second to the third
fret put the ring right next to the middle
finger, so the middle finger's on the
second fret to the third string,
the index is on the second fret of the
second string.
And you move them up together, so you do
the two to three slide, and
as you're sliding up you hit the second
string.
And you're gonna go into a forward
backward roll as you're doing this.
So forward roll, third, second, first,
thumb, index, middle to the fifth string.
And then, a backward roll, first, second,
third, first.
Just holding that position.
Then, you'll do another forward backward
roll for the second measure,
but instead of starting on the third
string,
as we did here, we'll start on the fifth
string for the next one.
Fifth, second, first.
Fifth, first, second, third, first.
Forward to the fifth string, backward roll
to the first string.
So you have
[MUSIC]
So that second measure by itself is.
[MUSIC]
And then for
the third measure you repeat the second
measure.
[MUSIC]
Fifth, second, first, fifth, first,
second, third, first.
So you have.
[MUSIC]
And then for the fourth
measure hit the fourth string as a quarter
note, pinch the outside strings.
First and fifth strings that is.
Second string quarter note, pinch the
outside strings again.
[MUSIC]
So you have
[MUSIC]
So you go.
[MUSIC]
Let me slow that down just a little bit.
[MUSIC]
Once again.
[MUSIC]
And
then for the last line, the last four
measures.
[MUSIC]
You repeat the first measure that you
just played.
[MUSIC]
About two to three slide on the third
string of the ring coming up on the second
string right next to it.
So, third string two to three slide,
second string which is at the third fret
with the ring.
[MUSIC]
First string, fifth string, backward roll.
First, second, third, first.
[MUSIC]
And then you take some elements
from the original version that I showed
you of Ruben.
[MUSIC]
That two to three slide.
Alternating thumb just as you would do the
Cripple Creek or
Boil them Cabbage Down slide in G tuning.
Two to three slide, reopen second.
[MUSIC]
Thumb, index, and
then the fifth string open, first string
open.
So.
[MUSIC]
That's where we are right now.
And then the three to two pull-off on the
third string to the open second,
third fret of the fourth string bend it a
little bit if you can.
[MUSIC]
To the first string.
And then quarter note on the fourth string
for the third measure of this last line.
And then you do the tag ending that I
showed you to finish off the original
version of Ruben.
[MUSIC]
So
it's a quarter note on the fourth string,
fifth, second, first, second.
[MUSIC]
I'm sorry,
back to the third string after the forward
roll.
So quarter note on the fourth, fifth,
second, first, third.
Two to three slide on the fourth string,
to the first string,
fourth string quarter note.
[MUSIC]
Okay?
Let's see.
So the whole thing would be
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Okay, there's one variation for Ruben.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Now here's a second variation for
Ruben, which starts exactly the same way,
[MUSIC].
Need a start of that first variation,
which is a two to three slide.
On the third string with the middle as the
ring
comes up next to it on the second string.
And so it's the two to three side on the
third string,
hit the second string which is as the
third fret.
Forward roll is completed by the first
string.
Fifth string backward roll.
First, second, third, first.
[MUSIC]
Now just go down one fret with those
two fingers, with the middle and ring.
Go down from the third, fret of the third
and second string.
It's down to the second fret of the third
and second strings.
[MUSIC]
And
you're doing the, exact same forward
backward roll.
Down one more fret.
[MUSIC]
To the first fret of the third and
second strings, so you've got
[MUSIC].
Then hit the third string as a quarter
note, pinch the outside strings.
Fourth string quarter note.
Pinch the outside strings.
I really like the sound of this thing.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
And
then to finish off the last line would be.
It's the same as the last line of the
variation I just showed you before,
which is the two to three slide on the
third string.
It's this.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
So you have the two to three slide on
the third string.
Forward, backward roll.
And then the two to three slide.
Alternating thumb roll.
Three to two pull off.
And then an alternating thumb,
three to two on the third string, pull off
with index.
Open second.
These are two 16th notes.
Third fret of the fourth string, open
first.
[MUSIC]
And then the tag ending in d,
quarter note, quarter note on the fourth
string.
Forward roll, fifth, second, first, back
to the third string.
Two to three slides to the first string,
and then fourth.
Pinch the outside strings, second string,
pinch the outside.
Strings.
Those are quarter notes.
So the whole thing would be
[MUSIC].
Down one fret, down one more.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
And with all of these you'll actually play
it twice through, so this would be.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Now, here's the last variation for Ruben.
And again, I just came up with this as I
was getting ready to film this, and
it's just, it's just so much fun coming up
with variations in D tuning.
So, here's what this last variation sounds
like.
[MUSIC]
Lots of fun there.
So what's happening here is, you have
groupings of six.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
And then, you repeat it and what you're
doing is you're gonna have the middle
finger on the third fret of the fourth
string.
[SOUND] And let go cuz we wanna have
separation of notes here.
[SOUND] So, you don't have that note ring,
ringing across.
You don't want.
[MUSIC]
And then you're gonna have to jump anyway.
So, just.
[SOUND] As soon as you hit that third fret
of the fourth string, as you're about to
hit the third string open.
[SOUND] Let go of that middle finger from
the third fret of the fourth string.
Let go with the open third.
[SOUND] With the index.
[SOUND] Hit the second string with the
middle.
Now this may be a little unusual for, if
you haven't done this before.
[MUSIC]
It's an inside forward roll,
is what it is, where the, and I call it
that, because the middle's on the inside.
It's not on the first string anymore.
It's on the second string.
So.
[SOUND] Middle on the third fret of
the third string, index on the.
[SOUND] I'm sorry.
[SOUND] Middle on the third fret of the
fourth string.
[SOUND] Index on the third string.
[SOUND] Middle on the second string.
And if that feels weird to you.
[MUSIC]
Just do some forward rolls with
the metronome because the metronome is
your friend.
[MUSIC]
And just do forward rolls.
Fourth, third, second.
Fourth, third, second.
Get used to that.
And then, you can add that middle.
[MUSIC]
And just repeat that for
a while letting go of the middle, each
time.
So, you have that separation of notes.
So, you have that forward roll and
then you're gonna do another forward roll
on the fourth, third, and second strings,
but now move the middle finger over one
string from the fourth,
third fret of the fourth string to the
third fret of the third string and
add the index on the second fret of the
first string.
[MUSIC]
And you have that sound.
Fourth, third, second, open fourth, third
fret of the third of the middle.
Second fret of the second with the index.
[MUSIC]
So, you're gonna go.
[MUSIC]
And then jump right back again,
cuz these are groupings of six.
You're gonna go.
[MUSIC]
And it gets
very syncopated where notes are falling
where you don't expect them to fall.
And so, what's gonna happen is you're
starting on the downbeat.
[MUSIC]
Now the next time you do it,
you're gonna be on the upbeat.
[MUSIC]
You're gonna do the six-note sequence
three times.
So, it's one and two, sorry.
[MUSIC]
One and two, and one and two and one.
So, it keeps jumping around.
It's on the down beat.
[MUSIC]
On, of one.
One and two and.
Now it's on the up beat of two.
[MUSIC]
One and two, and one and two.
Now, it's on the two beat of the second
measure.
[MUSIC]
And, then, you
start to do another one, a fourth one, but
you actually bail out a little bit sooner.
[MUSIC]
And so,
it's the third fret of the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
It's another forward roll,
third fret of the fourth.
Let go.
Open third, open second, open third.
Now you're gonna come back and the index
and
then the third fret of the fourth string.
[SOUND] One more time, let go as you hit
the open third.
This is gonna be a lot easier just looking
at the tablature, cuz it gets a little,
where am I without it.
So, it's one of the two forward roll
sequences.
One.
[MUSIC]
Two.
[MUSIC]
Three.
[MUSIC]
And then, start a fourth one.
[MUSIC]
With a forward roll.
But now, you go back to the third string,
third fret of the fourth, open third.
Then, fourth string, quarter note.
Pinch the outside strings, quarter note.
[SOUND] Second string.
[SOUND] Outside strings, first and fifth
quarter note.
So, you have.
[MUSIC]
Then the last line, the last four measures
are.
[MUSIC]
So,
you're carrying this theme forward a
little bit.
[MUSIC]
You do one more of these six,
six-note sequences.
[SOUND] Third fret of the fourth, open
third, open second, forward roll.
[SOUND] And you move the middle over to
the third fret of the third string.
[MUSIC]
Index on the second fret of the second for
a second forward roll.
[MUSIC]
And then you start another one of these.
Third fret of the fourth, open third.
Open second and then, you go back as you
did in the earlier line.
[SOUND] Open third.
[SOUND] And you repeat third fret of the
fourth.
[SOUND] Open third, open second through
the middle.
[SOUND] Back to the third, third fret of
the fourth, open third.
[SOUND] This is a little wacky.
[MUSIC]
And
then you go back to the original version
where you hit a quarter note
on the fourth string and do this tag lick
ending.
[MUSIC]
So, fourth string quarter note.
[SOUND] Fifth, second, first, back to the
third string.
So, quarter note on the fourth of the
thumb.
Thumb, index, middle, index and the two to
three slide on the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
As you hit the first string.
And then fourth string.
[SOUND] Again the same thing, pinch the
outside strings.
These are all quarter notes.
Second string.
[SOUND] Pinch the outside strings, quarter
note.
So, this whole crazy little variation is.
[MUSIC]
And up to tempo.
[MUSIC]
Okay, I hope the loved ones around you
won't get too driven crazy by this
particular lick cuz playing it over and
over again with a metronome might drive
them batty, but hopefully not.
So, anyway, I hope you enjoy these
variations.
They, these are four different ways now of
playing Ruben: the original version,
close to what Earl did and then three
other ones.
So, I hope you enjoy it.
[MUSIC]