I’ve talked before about what a peculiar thing it is that bluegrass and old time musicians so seldom cross paths.
To the casual roots music fan, the differences between the two genres are imperceptible, which is why when old time acts are presented as a “bluegrass” band (a common convention), less than 1% of the audience will detect the labeling imprecision.
Evidence of their recent split in the tree of musical evolution are the multitude of songs common to both genres, with “John Hardy” being one of them.
“John Hardy” is also a 2-for-1 deal, as it’s also common in both traditions for it to be played as both an instrumental and as a song. Today’s is the former version, and it’s a good thing, as I might rupture a blood vessel trying to sing it in the key of G.
But it’s a good key for banjos and fiddles, so a good key for vocal free versions.
You’ll note that this arrangement includes some “up the neck” adventures, pushing it into Brainjo level 4 territory (so you can keep it at 3 by staying in down the neck territory).
gDGBD tuning, Brainjo level 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.
Click here for a current list of all the clawhammer songs and tunes currently available inside of The Vault