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Banjo Lessons: “Shortnin' Bread”

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[MUSIC]
Here's Shortening Bread, a really great
old-time song and one that some of us grew
up hearing when we were kids.
And I want you to get comfortable playing
in the key of D without a capo.
We've done G, of course, and
G is home base for all of us when it comes
to playing Scruggs style.
But it's great to use other keys to get
different flavors.
[COUGH] Excuse me.
So we've done a little bit in the key of
C, but now we're gonna go into the key of
D, and let's say you're in G tuning
[MUSIC]
which you undoubtedly are.
Now, you don't have to do this, but when
you're playing in D,
sometimes it's nice to have the fifth
string up to A.
And if you have a little railroad tack
here,
model railroad tack to slip it under,
[MUSIC]
or a fifth string capo,
you can do this, or if you're brave you
can just tune your fifth string up to A.
A whole step.
[MUSIC]
Or if you don't want to,
if you don't have the fifth string capo or
the railroad tacks here.
[MUSIC]
And
you don't wanna tune up you could just
leave it at G too.
It won't be quite as effective.
[MUSIC]
Coz that sound is really nice.
That's the fifth note of the D scale,
[MUSIC]
do, re, mi, fa, so, one, two,
three, four, five.
There's your A note.
[MUSIC]
I think it gives a nice kind of stark
quality to things.
[MUSIC]
Now,
you're gonna be working out of the D chord
here without the fourth string.
Don't worry about the fourth string for
now.
You're gonna have the pinky on the third,
fourth fret of the first, middle on
the third fret of the second, index at the
second fret of the third string.
And I think you'll really find that it's
not that much harder to play in D
depending on what you're playing.
[MUSIC]
And I decided to use Shortening Bread,
because it's a fairly easy tune.
[MUSIC]
And by just putting your ring on
the fourth fret of the third string and
then sometimes moving it over to
the fourth fret of the fourth string just
for a moment.
[MUSIC]
And I know some people have trouble
[MUSIC]
Grabbing the full D chord with the ring
at the fourth fret of the fourth string.
It's a lot and I certainly understand
that.
But if you do put it down, it'll just be
for a moment.
I mean, you will put it down, but it will
just be for one note,
so hopefully you can do that without too
much trouble.
So let me play the A section one more
time.
[MUSIC]
Sorry, one more.
Once again.
[MUSIC]
So here you are with the D chord.
You're gonna hit the second string, here's
the first measure.
Second string, first string, index and
middle.
Now add the ring on the fourth fret of the
third string.
[SOUND]
Hit that an, with the thumb.
You're gonna do an alternating thumb roll.
[SOUND] So it's the fourth fret of the
third string.
[SOUND] Over to the second string which is
just sitting at the third fret.
[MUSIC]
Let go of the ring, so you're, and
you're just holding this D chord
throughout the whole thing.
[MUSIC]
Third string at the second fret, and
the first string, which is already sitting
there at the fourth fret.
[MUSIC]
And bring the ring back down for
one note, fourth, fret of the third let go
of it.
[MUSIC]
As you hit the second string which is at
the third fret remember keep the in, keep
the full D chord down.
Well not full cuz you're not using the
fourth string, but
on those first three strings, so the first
measure is.
[MUSIC]
Now,
the second measure's almost the same
except for the first note.
[MUSIC]
Instead of the third fret of the second,
you're gonna hit the fifth string.
[MUSIC]
It's actually a little bit different,
but it's the same idea, and
what you're going to be doing here is two
alternating thumb rolls.
[MUSIC]
Fifth string, second string,
third string, and you add the ring at the
fourth fret of the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
And, I'm sorry,
fourth fret of the third string.
[MUSIC]
And then hit the first string, so fifth,
second, third string at the fourth fret,
first string.
[MUSIC]
And then let go of the ring and
do another alternating thumb roll, third
string,
third string which is at the fourth fret
with the ring and then the first string.
So you've got.
[MUSIC]
The third measure is the,
exactly the same as the second.
[MUSIC]
And now to finish off.
[MUSIC]
So.
[MUSIC]
You
could either just go fourth, fourth fret
of the fourth string is a quarter note.
[MUSIC]
Second fret of the fourth string is
a quarter note.
[MUSIC]
Open fourth string is a quarter note and
then pinch the outside strings [SOUND] as
a quarter note.
[MUSIC]
Which would be.
[MUSIC]
Or
[MUSIC]
You could do,
fill up the space a little bit more for
that last measure and have the fourth fret
of the fourth string, open first,
[MUSIC]
second fret, of the fourth string,
open first.
[MUSIC]
Fourth string quarter note.
[MUSIC]
Pinch.
[MUSIC]
So the.
[MUSIC]
And that happens twice.
It's a fiddle tune.
So the A section happens twice.
Now the B section is this.
[MUSIC]
Now,
for the B section, the first two measures
are different, but
the last two measures are exactly the same
in this arrangement as the last
two measures of part A, so here we go with
part B of this fun old folk song.
[MUSIC]
So,
[MUSIC]
hit the fourth string to start.
This is the first measure of part B, the
full D chord here, well, again,
the first three strings D chord
[MUSIC]
with an open fourth.
[MUSIC]
So you're gonna hit the fourth string-
[MUSIC]
open.
Second string.
Which is at the third fret.
[MUSIC]
Add the ring at the fourth
fret of the third ring at the fourth fret
of the first.
[MUSIC]
And then let go of the ring and
go third string.
[MUSIC]
Second.
[SOUND] Bring the ring back down.
[MUSIC]
To the fourth fret of the third string.
[MUSIC]
First string.
[MUSIC]
The second measure of part B is the same
as the first measure.
[MUSIC]
And then,
the last two measures are the same as the
last two measures of part A.
[MUSIC]
Fifth string,
second string, fourth fret of the third,
fourth fret of the first.
[MUSIC]
Let go of the ring,
go to the second fret of the third string,
second string, at the third fret.
[MUSIC]
Ring at the fourth fret of the third.
[MUSIC]
Pinkie on the fourth fret of the first.
[MUSIC]
Hit that with the middle.
[MUSIC]
And
then a fourth fret of the fourth, open
first, second fret of the fourth,
open first, open fourth quarter note,
pinch.
Quarter note on the outside strings.
So part B is
[MUSIC]
Either.
[MUSIC]
Or.
[MUSIC]
Now, one thing,
at the end of measure three and the end of
measure seven,
[MUSIC]
you might wanna let go of that first
string and make than an open first instead
of the fourth fret of the first,
cuz you need to get over.
[MUSIC]
You can do it either way as
you're playing.
If you're, you're, find your pinky let,
lifting up so you have an open first,
don't worry about it, about it that's
fine.
So the whole thing put together is.
[MUSIC]
Let me slow it down a little bit.
[MUSIC]
Repeat the A section.
[MUSIC]
Okay, here it is one more time, a little
more up to speed.
[MUSIC]
So I hope you enjoy that version of
Shortenin Bread.
Key of D, no capo.
You're really expanding your boundaries by
doing this.
And there's so much that can be done in
all these other keys,
even if G is still home base and our most,
our biggest comfort zone, playing in C,
playing in D, you get a whole different
texture.
The relationship between the fretted
strings and
the open strings just gives everything a,
a unique sound so.
Anyway, there's Shortnin' Bread for you.
[MUSIC]