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For the singing banjoist, the Carter Family catalog is the gift that keeps on giving.
The body of work produced by the first family of country music is both voluminous and thematically a natural fit for fans of traditional southern music.
Beyond that, there’s also the guitar picking of Maybelle Carter (originator of the now famous “Carter style” of guitar picking). While the Carter Family band didn’t include banjo, its influence can certainly be heard.
Maybelle was an old-time banjo player before she took up the guitar, and when she did so, she took the technique she’d learned on banjo and mapped it onto the guitar.
Which means the process of taking one of Maybelle’s classic and elegantly simple guitar breaks and adapting them for clawhammer banjo is usually quite natural.
Speaking of those guitar breaks, her work on this week’s song, “Wildwood Flower,” is arguably her single most famous piece of solo picking, and learning it has become a rite of passage for those entering the world of Carter style guitar.
gDGBD tuning, Brainjo level 3
Notes on the Tab
In this arrangement, I’ve tabbed out the part I play in the banjo “solo,” as well as the vocal backup I play on the banjo while singing.
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes – to learn more about skips and syncopated skips, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
PRIOR SONG OF THE WEEK EPISODES
- Episode 1: “Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow”
- Episode 2: “Gumtree Canoe”
- Episode 3: “Crawdad Hole”
- Episode 4: “Oh Susanna”
- Episode 5: “Freight Train”
- Episode 6: “Grandfather’s Clock”
- Episode 7: “Hop High Lulu”
- Episode 8: “Been All Around This World”
- Episode 9: “I’ll Fly Away”
- Episode 10: “Leaving Home”
- Episode 11: “Poor Orphan Child”
- Episode 12: “Mr. Tambourine Man”
- Episode 13: “Swanee River”
- Episode 14: “Big Sciota”
- Episode 15: “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms”
- Episode 16: “Darling Corey”
- Episode 17: “Battle Hymn of the Republic”
- Episode 18: “America the Beautiful”
- Episode 19: “Bury Me Beneath the Willow”
- Episode 20: “Way Out There”
- Episode 21: “New Slang”
- Episode 22: “I Saw the Light”
- Episode 23: “Amazing Grace”
- Episode 24: “Blowin’ in the Wind”
- Episode 25: “Yankee Doodle”
- Episode 26: “Budapest”
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.