Fingerstyle Banjo Song and Tab of the Week: “SHADY GROVE”
People love the banjo because it is different.
It looks different than other instruments. It sounds different than other instruments.
And it’s played differently than other instrument – the 5-string banjo in particular.
Contemporary music is all about chords. That’s because the guitar, an instrument well suited for chord-based playing, has played such a prominent role.
But much of the traditional repertoire of the banjo isn’t about chords. It’s about melody and drone.
That’s because the banjo, with the aforementioned short 5th string, is a drone instrument.
Fortunately, it’s also versatile enough to be played in “modern,” chord-based music (like bluegrass).
But there’s a reason the old, pre-chordal songs, like Shady Grove, sound especially great on the banjo.
I’m always a little reluctant to include chord progressions on these modal tunes. Some consider it sacrilege – I think that’s taking things a bit too far.
But I do think we should take advantage of the opportunity these “modal” tunes provide to shift into the “melody-drone” mentality. It opens us up to new musical ideas, and keeps us connected to the banjo’s roots.
gDGCD tuning, 3 finger banjo
Many more tabs, plus step-by-step video tutorials for how to play them, are available inside the Brekathrough Banjo course, which is now FREE for 30 Days
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