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Old Time Fingerpicking
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Banjo Lessons: “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” - Key of D

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Michael Row The Boat Ashore in the key of
D without a capo.
I have the fifth string tuned up to A.
The same as the seventh fret of the first
string, and you could put it under a model
railroad tack, or
if you have the fifth string capo going up
the side of your neck.
Or you can just tune it up, or if it's
problematic, and you don't have the cap or
the tack and you don't want to risk
breaking the fifth string,
you could just keep it open but it sounds
If you can get it up to A there.
And just a, a point of information, when
you're putting in these model railroad
tacks you have them at the seventh and
ninth frets don't do it yourself.
It's it's tricky to get it right.
Find a competent repair person to do it,
preferably one who's done it before and
is good at it.
A friend of mine did it many years ago and
actually drilled a hole through the neck
of my banjo.
This was like in the late, 60s or
something, so be careful.
[SOUND] Anyway the whole thing about
playing in D is-
Certain tunes, such as Michael, Row
the Boat Ashore, really lend themselves to
playing the melody on the second string.
It just so
happens that the whole melody works
You can fret the entire melody on the
Seventh, tenth, twelfth, tenth, seven,
ten, twelve, ten, third, fifth, I'm sorry,
third, seventh, ten.
Tenth, seventh.
Tenth, tenth, eighth, seventh, fifth.
Three, five, seven, five, three.
And I'm doing a unison, not a unison but a
drone on the first string.
Pinching with the first string.
Which is a really
nice sound cuz you have a good D drone
there and a good A drone up here.
So you've really got two drones going here
which gives it a really wonderful
open sound.
So, slowing it down one time it's.
So, this is something to try.
And you can try it with other tunes too,
and even if the entire melody doesn't work
on the second string you might take part
of the melody and try it that way.
So what you're gonna do is hit the third
fret of the second string and
pinch it with the first string.
As unison.
This is the two quarter note lead-in.
This is the Michael portion of the show,
and you put the middle and the seventh
fret of the second string, and again,
You're pinching with the first string
in each of these cases with these two for
sorry, with these two quarter notes.
Now, getting into the meat of the tune
You're gonna slide seven to ten on
the second string, and then hit the first
And then a forward roll.
Fifth, second, first, to the fifth string,
and then go up to the 12th fret to get
the next melody note, and pinch that as a
quarter note.
This is the end of the second measure.
So you've got.
And now, I'm gonna continue in
a forward roll and measure three.
Fifth, second, first, fifth.
Jump down to the second string seventh
And pinch it with the first string quarter
Back to the tenth fret.
Move the middle finger of the tenth fret
from the second string and
pinch with the first string.
So you've got-
Measure four.
sliding ten to 12 on the second string.
As you slide ten to 12,
you hit the first string, two forward
Fifth, second, first, fifth, second,
And then go back to the tenth
fret of the second string for the, going
back to the, the D chord, measure five.
And you keep that forward roll going.
To the fifth string so from the G,
the measure will be four of the fourth
Keep forward rolling.
I'm sorry.
Once again.
Jump all the way back to the third fret of
the second string.
Pinch with a first string, seventh fret.
Again, always pinching with a first
string, these quarter note pitches.
And then-
Continuing now seven to ten slide.
As you hit the-
First string, forward roll, fifth, second,
and first, the second string, now you're
back to the eighth fret of the second.
Seventh fret of the second for
a pinch quarter note pinch with the first
string, and then-
Continuing on that with your seven.
Fifth fret of the second, open first, and
then a forward roll.
Down to the third fret of
the second string.
Fifth, second, first, fifth.
then jump back to the fifth fret of the
second as a pinch.
With a first string, and then finish with-
Five to seven slide.
I was
telling myself I would never sing again,
but here I am singing.
I'm sorry you have to deal with that, but-
Anyway, just kidding around.
Five to seven slide as you slide up on
the second string and hit the first
And then fifth string.
And first string.
then [SOUND] index on the fifth fret of
the second.
And bring the thumb over for that so
you're not going back and forth middle,
index, middle.
You're gonna go.
Middle, thumb, middle,
it's a little stronger that way.
Thumb, open first,
and you're at the fifth fret of the second
as you hit the thumb, open first.
And add the middle and the sixth fret of
the third string.
Sixth fret of the third and
fifth fret of the second.
Little melonic touch and
then the last measure, measure nine.
Open first,
then fourth fret of the fourth.
Second fret of the third.
Open first.
So the first string in the forward roll.
then the fourth string is a quarter note
or a tied quarter note.
And now at that point,
you can either just stop, or if you wanna
play it again.
You can end on the fourth string,
but then for the last quarter note,
instead of tying it, at-
Go to the seventh fret of the second
string and play it with the first string
this would be like the very second quarter
note in measure one.
And then you're over.
And starting it over again, so it could be
from the measure eight.
And then you continue.
So the whole thing would be.
I just did a whole version that was down
an octave, which I will not be teaching in
this batch of lessons that I'm doing right
now, but it's something for you to explore
that you can also get it down here.
You can look at this as a kind of homework
if you care to just, try it.
Just see what you can come up with, even
if you're finding-
The simple melody
The whole melody is on the,
either open strings, second fret [SOUND]
Of the fourth and third strings for
fourth fret-
Of the fourth and third strings.
See what you can do with that.
There's a little bit of homework.
But anyway, so there's Michael Row the
Boat Ashore, in D.