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(NOTE: The Tab-Walkthrough for this tune is now available in the Breakthrough Banjo course. Click here to learn more about and view a sample of the tab walk-through videos. Click here to learn more, and see the full schedule.)
If you think playing in the old time tradition means rigidly adhering to how iconic old time musician such and such first played a tune, think again.
For Exhibit Z, I give you the backstory for this week’s tune, “Salt River.”
I was fortunate enough to learn this one from one of my favorite people and players in the old time world, Paul Brown.
That was a 2 finger version, which Paul had learned from Benton Flippen’s own idiosyncratic banjo rendition.
(RELATED: If you’d like to learn 2 finger style, plus old time 3 finger and bluegrass, click here to check out the Breakthrough Banjo course for fingerstyle banjo)
The first Salt River recording comes by way of Clark Kessinger on the fiddle. Flippen recorded that on fiddle as well, adhering to Kessinger’s original structure, mixed with his own distinctive stylistic elements.
On banjo, however, he took even more poetic license. Gone is the Myxolydian scale and that infernal VII chord, replaced by our tried and true I, IV, and V.
Personally, I think the tune got an upgrade!
And of course, what you hear above is Benton’s 2 finger version adapted for clawhammer, with bits of poetic license of my own, of course (and yes, it is the same tune as Bill Monroe’s “Salt Creek,” which Bill Monroe took his own musical and terminological liberties with)
(NOTE: For those considering acquiring a Brainjo banjo, the banjo played in this video is a “Hobart” model. Click here if you’d like to learn more, or claim one in the next batch (shipping May 2019!)
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.
[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.