The moment I first heard this tune (or, more precisely, this version of this tune) on Taj Mahal’s “Old Folks at Home” album, I had to learn it.
And I know I’m not the only one who’s had that reaction.
Yet the “performance” version, with a Brainjo level 4 rating, can present a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re earlier on in the Timeline of Mastery.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t join in on the fun! As I’ve said before, always having access to material to play that you find inspiring AND that’s appropriate for your current level is essential for your continued growth as a player.
Enter the Brainjo level 2 rendition, which is technically simpler but retains much of the spirit of the Taj’s original recording, and sounds fantastic in its own right.
(RELATED: Click here to see all the songs and tunes currently inside of “The Vault,” the Ultimate Clawhammer Song Library).
This tune might also be your first foray into gCGCE, or “open C,” tuning. Getting here from “double C” (gCGCD) tuning requires you crank up the 1st string from D to E, which can be a nerve racking experience the first time you do it.
Fear not, your banjo can manage the extra tension just fine, and this wonderful tune and tuning is well worth a few fleeting moments of anxiety.
Colored Aristocracy, Brainjo level 2
Notes on the tab: The notes at the introduction of the tune are played as harmonics, or “chimes.” To get the desired sound, lightly rest your fretting finger over the string (do not press the string to the fretboard).
Colored Aristocracy, Brainjo level 4
For more on how to read the tabs, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
To learn more about the Breakthrough Banjo course, where you’ll find hundreds more tabs and videos like the ones above, with arrangements tailored to all levels, then click below:
Prior “Clawhammer Top 10” Videos:
- Episode 1: “Soldier’s Joy“
- Episode 2: “Shady Grove“
- Episode 3: “Arkansas Traveler“
- Episode 4: “Cripple Creek“
- Episode 5: “Cumberland Gap“
- Episode 6: “Cold Frosty Morn“
- Episode 7: “Waterbound“