This week’s selection, “Julianne Johnson,” ranks up there as one of the most popular old-time tunes.
It’s melody is catchy and easy to remember. It’s beginner friendly, too, and makes for a nice early foray into “double D” tuning on the banjo (just don’t play it in the same session with Angelina Baker, or your brain will lock up).
As such, this is a tune I’ve been playing for quite some time. And I’d settled upon a fairly consistent way of playing it.
However, as I was recently geeking out over the finer details of Round Peak banjo for the “Elements of Round Peak Banjo” module in the Breakthrough Banjo course, I noticed some of those elements starting to work their way even more into my playing these old standbys.
For those of you who’ve been through the Round Peak module, you can likely pick out the Round Peak-ish elements that I’ve included here.
Things like the predominance of a “bump-a-ditty” rhythm, the use of alternate string pull-offs as a rhythmic embellishment, frequent slides into a melody note, and a more staccato sound with a sparing use of brush strokes (a.k.a strums).
Even the call and response drone on the open 4th string as found in measures 9,10, and 13 could be considered a Round Peak feature.
(RELATED: The complete “Elements of Round Peak Banjo” module is now available in the Breakthrough Banjo course. Click here to learn more.).
I also played this one at a modest tempo to give this busier arrangement a bit of breathing room. I think it sounds great slowed down just a bit.
aDADE 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.