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Banjo Lessons: “Bill Cheatham”

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[MUSIC]
All right, Bill Cheatham.
This is one of the all time great standard
fiddle tunes in bluegrass, and
it's wonderful to play on the banjo.
And this is a fairly straight forward
version of that combines bluegrass,
you know, Scruggs style and melodic style.
[MUSIC]
And, let's just take the A section for
starters, it's the key of A, it's always
played in A on the fiddle so
if you play with a fiddle player you'll
need to capo up two frets and
get the fifth string up two frets to the
seventh fret.
Right now, we'll just do it in G.
[MUSIC]
So the A section goes like this.
[MUSIC]
That's the first A section.
So you're gonna start, just start with a
quarter note on the fourth string.
I love tunes that start with no fretting.
You can just kind of wave to people and
do whatever you want and just relax while
the right hand does all the walking here.
So, the fourth string is a quarter note.
Hit the first two strings twice as quarter
notes, simultaneously that is,
and then fifth and first strings as eighth
notes.
[MUSIC]
And then.
[MUSIC]
The omnipresent,
ever present two to three slide.
[MUSIC]
Two and three slide on the third string,
open second, fifth and first same one
you've gotten many times before,
and Boil Em Cabbage Down, Cripple Creek.
[MUSIC]
Three to two pull off now.
[MUSIC]
Which you've also had before.
[MUSIC]
Just these interchangeable licks.
Here they are again.
Three to two pull off on the third string
to the open second string.
They're two sixteenth notes.
[MUSIC]
Open third.
Open first.
Make sure you get a good snap out of that,
too.
[MUSIC]
So.
[MUSIC]
Now the C chord.
[MUSIC]
Now, you're playing a C
chord with an open first string and
what you're doing is, see.
[MUSIC]
I guess I have my index down
just a fraction of a second early, the
first fret of the second string, and
I'm hammering-on zero to two on the fourth
string.
[MUSIC]
That's two eighth notes.
[MUSIC]
And
then two quarter notes as I hit the second
and third strings together as pinches.
[MUSIC]
With the thumb and index and
the right hand, up, up, up, up.
And then fifth and first string is eighth
notes.
[MUSIC]
So, you've got.
[MUSIC]
So,
the third measure is.
[MUSIC]
Or the fourth measure, actually.
[MUSIC]
So this is a little bit of a melodic lick.
The middle at the fifth fret of the second
string.
[MUSIC]
Index at the fourth fret of
the first string.
[MUSIC]
Fifth string back to the second string
which is at the fifth fret.
That's with the index on the right hand.
[MUSIC]
And then.
[MUSIC]
Let's see.
[MUSIC]
Go to the F for this,
go to the second string and do a two zero
pull off to the first string.
[MUSIC]
Two 16th notes,
as you hit the first string, so the whole
thing from the beginning is.
[MUSIC]
And by the way, when I hit this I bring my
thumb over to the second string.
You certainly don't have to, but I like.
[MUSIC]
The strength of having that thumb down
there on the second string.
[MUSIC]
And then you repeat this.
[MUSIC]
And now for the ending of it.
[MUSIC]
So you're gonna do a two to three slide.
[MUSIC]
Do a forward roll.
[MUSIC]
Another forward roll,
as you hit the fifth string.
And then slide, the middle slides up and
then goes up to the fifth fret of the
second string.
[MUSIC]
Index on the fourth fret of
the first string.
[MUSIC]
So you have two forward rolls.
Three, two, one, five, two, one, fifth
string.
And the middle at the fifth fret of the
second string.
[MUSIC]
Backward roll.
Open first.
[MUSIC]
First string, second string.
Three to two pull-off.
[MUSIC]
To the first string.
Open third.
So you've got.
[MUSIC]
And
you've got that strength of the three
forward rolls.
One, two, three.
Then backward roll.
[MUSIC]
Quarter note, and
then you hit the fifth and first strings.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
To go back into the A section, and
you repeat the whole A section just as you
did it.
[MUSIC]
This is the second time through.
[MUSIC]
Now, for the last two notes, instead of
going fifth and first string open, you're
gonna go to the fifth string for these
last two eighth notes and the fifth fret
of the second string, cuz the B parts.
Starts on the first string.
[MUSIC]
Here's the B part.
[MUSIC]
And then repeat, so you're seeing a lot
of.
[MUSIC]
Osborn rolls here.
[MUSIC]
And
when Eck Robinson recorded this around
1926.
He did some these exact same notes, just
on the fiddle,
without using the Osborne roll, I might
add.
[MUSIC]
So it's first, second, first, fifth,
middle index, middle, thumb.
And then the C chord on the first two
strings,
index on the first fret of the second,
ring on the second fret of the first, same
thing.
Same Osborne roll.
Move it up two frets for the D chord.
So the index is at the third fret of the
second.
Ring is at the fourth fret of the first.
[MUSIC]
And then,
keep that position and add the pinky on
the fifth fret of the first.
So then you can let go of the ring, but
the index stays at the third fret of the
second string.
[MUSIC]
And another Osborne roll.
First, second, first, fifth.
So you've got.
[MUSIC]
And then continuing.
[MUSIC]
G and then C.
And then, now you're gonna go.
[MUSIC]
A backward roll.
First, second, third, first.
Backward role.
[MUSIC]
To a D seventh, to a forward role, third,
second, first, fifth.
And this is interesting, cuz it's.
A backward, forward, I'm sorry, it's a,
it's a backward, forward roll,
instead of a forward, backward roll.
[MUSIC]
Backward, forward roll and then repeat.
[MUSIC]
Now, instead of going.
[MUSIC]
You're just gonna go to the fifth fret of
the first string as a quarter note and hit
the open first string as a quarter note.
[MUSIC]
So the whole B part up to this point is.
[MUSIC]
Here's the ending.
[MUSIC]
More forward rolls.
[MUSIC]
Three to be exact.
And you're gonna put the ring on the
seventh fret of the second.
This is kind of a melodic thing, but with
Scruggs-y right hand rolls,
forward rolls, to be exact.
And the ring at the seventh fret of the
second,
index at the fifth fret of the first.
Forward roll.
[MUSIC]
And
then move the index down one fret to the
fourth fret of the first string and
add the middle on the fifth fret of the
second.
Do another forward roll.
[MUSIC]
Fifth second first.
So you've got fifth second first, fifth
second first.
Now lift off the index finger so you have
an open first string and
do another forward roll.
[MUSIC]
So it's.
[MUSIC]
Falling forward, forward.
As soon as you hit that first string it
becomes a backward roll.
[MUSIC]
Open first, open second.
Three to two pull-off.
[MUSIC]
To the first string.
[MUSIC]
Open third.
So.
[MUSIC]
Quarter note.
[MUSIC]
And now you're gonna repeat the B part so
you hit the fifth string.
[MUSIC]
And the fifth fret of the second string,
and repeat the whole thing.
[MUSIC]
Now this time you're going back to A so
you go.
[MUSIC]
Fifth and first string open.
[MUSIC]
And then you're back into it.
So the whole thing, one more time, slowly.
[MUSIC]
So one more time, a little more up to
tempo.
[MUSIC]
One little trick, instead of going.
[MUSIC]
I worked up this version of Eck Robinson
and this cradle further from 1926, worked
up his version of this, and he went.
[MUSIC]
Which is really crazy, well, really crazy.
It's a subtle theme but I thought it was
so cool, after doing this for many years,
[MUSIC]
To go.
[MUSIC]
He's did three pinches.
So, fourth string is a quarter note,
except he wasn't pinching,
cuz he was playing the fiddle.
Fourth string quarter note, then hit the
first, second, and fifth strings together.
[MUSIC]
Three times and then.
[MUSIC]
Everything else can be the same.
So you have.
[MUSIC]
Anyway, just something to consider.
So, there's Bill Cheathum.
I hope you enjoy it.
[MUSIC]