Bacon and eggs.
Abbott and Costello.
Modal tunes and banjos.
There’s just something special about modal tunes played on the banjo. It’s one of those pairings where each party is elevated by the presence of the other. Modal tunes just make the banjo sound extra good, and vice versa.
So, as you may have guessed, this must mean that there’s a modal tune up for today’s tune of the week. Not just any modal tune, but arguably the most popular modal tune of all, one that’s spread itself well beyond the confines of the Appalachian old-time tradition. That tune….is Shady Grove.
And while it’s been rendered in a multitude of instrumentations over the years, I’m personally still partial to the way it sounds all by its lonesome on the banjo. Vocal accompaniment is optional.
Like I said, there’s just something special about the banjo and modal tunes.
gDGCD tuning, Brainjo level 2-3
Notes on the tab
As you can see, I’m playing this one on the gourd banjo, which is tuned down to dADGA. However, this is the same relative tuning as G modal, or gDGCD, which is where I’d usually play this tune on a modern, steel string strung banjo.
Skip Notes: The notes in the shaded box are “skip” notes, meaning they’re not actually sounded by the picking finger. Instead, you continue the clawhammer motion with your picking hand, but “skip” playing the note by not striking it (this is a technique used to add space and syncopation). The fret number you see in the shaded box is the suggested note to play should you elect to strike the string.