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Recently I posted about the wonders of alternate tunings, and presented what I consider to be 5 compelling reasons why banjoists should explore alternate tunings, hopefully putting to rest some commonly held misconceptions about them
Yet, there’s probably nothing more persuasive than just hearing – or better yet – playing in these tunings for yourself.
And, in my opinion, there’s perhaps no better song for demonstrating what makes these tunings so special than this week’s tune, “Last Chance.”
It is played out of fDFCD tuning, which is so indelibly associated with this tune that it’s often referred to as “Last Chance tuning” (again, if you feel any resistance towards playing in a new tuning like this, then click here to read the article to be dissuaded of such notions!).
It’s a tune most commonly associated with the incredible Hobart Smith, one of my personal musical heroes, and namesake for the “Hobart” model of the Brainjo banjo line (click to listen to Hobart’s recording).
As I mention in the article, many of these iconic tunes in alternate tunings have a high awesomeness to technical difficulty quotient – meaning, they’re relatively easy to play, yet generate incredible sounds from your banjo.
(RELATED: IMO, we should pay a lot more attention to tunes in this category, ones that give you the most bang for your playing buck, and I think they should form a significant chunk of early banjo instruction. Along those lines, click here to check out “The Magic of Old Time Banjo” book of tabs, a collection of 10 iconic tunes that fit this bill).
Additionally, below you’ll also find tabs and video tutorials for two arrangements of this tune, one for the version played in the video, and one for a Brainjo level 2 arrangement. These are excerpts from the new “Magic of Old Time Banjo” supplemental module in the Breakthrough Banjo course.
fDFCD tuning, Brainjo level 3
fDFCD tuning, Brainjo level 2
More tunes that showcase the Magic of Old Time Banjo
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.
[RELATED: 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