Last month, preparations for an upcoming contradance required I add a few new tunes to my repertoire. One of them was this month’s selection: “Boatin’ Up Sandy.”
There are at least a couple of tunes by this name. The version presented here is often attributed to fiddler Owen “Snake” Chapman.
Yet, despite its origins as a fiddle tune, it makes for a great solo banjo piece, especially when presented at moderate tempo.
Played out of modal tuning, with its haunting tones and hypnotic rhythms it could easily double as a meditative mantra.
You may notice in the arrangement some fingerings you don’t encounter too often (the hammer on from the 3rd to 7th fret on the 1st string being one example). Not surprisingly, this original sounding tune calls for some original bits of technique.
I like finding tunes like this, where you can’t rely on well worn patterns to play them, but by necessity must find something original.
Boatin’ Up Sandy
aEADE (A modal) tuning, Brainjo level 3-4
Notes on the tab:
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes. To learn more about these, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
Level 2 arrangements and video demos for the Tune (and Song!) of the Week tunes are now available as part of the Breakthrough Banjo course. Learn more about it here.