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Up this week is another tune by member request, this time for the [typically] rollicking 4-part fiddle tune “Hangman’s Reel.”
Specifically, the request from member Michael M. was for the version played by Chris Coole on his “Old Dog” album. It’s a soothing and plaintive rendition, and a recording I wasn’t already familiar with.
It contains some unique variations from the way I’d typically played it, and including them has breathed some new life into the tune for me.
(RELATED: Breakthrough Banjo members can now request songs to be added to the clawhammer song library. Click here for more information about the course.)
Whereas “Hangman’s Reel” is typically played in the key of A, on the aforementioned album it’s played in the key of F#, in a banjo tuned down a half step from standard G, and with what sounds like an extra bass string, which gives it some fine low end growl.
But, if you’re just picking up this tune for the first time, and it’s possible you’ll find yourself playing it with others at some point down the road, then file this one away in your noggin’ in the “A tune” compartment (which is where I’ve played it here).
(RELATED: I get asked a good bit about how to best navigate between all the various tunings. When to capo, when to just tune up, how to handle the 5th string, and so on…I recently made a video lesson on the subject, which you can click here to view).
aEAC#E tuning, Brainjo level 3
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.