How and Tao Second Edition

The Second edition of The How and the Tao of Old TIme Banjo is almost at the point where I can hand the manuscript over to Dear Old Dad for editing.

In addition to a lot of new and revised content, The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo Second Edition is also getting a new cover. It would mean a lot to me if some of you could take a moment and write two or three sentences about how the first edition helped you learn to play the five-string banjo to put on the back cover. Email your quote to this link. Be sure to add in a note saying that I have your permission to use your quote on the back cover.

A new edition of The How and the Tao of Old-Time Banjo! I can hardly believe it! 2015 is off to a pretty good start!

Braille-Friendly Banjo Tab Update

I am dusting off and tweaking the braille-friendly banjo tab project.

What is braille-friendly banjo tab? It is banjo tab that will work with braille displays.

It all started with an email from Rudd in the Netherlands:

Ruud in the Netherlands writes:

I am very visually impaired, well, let’s make this part less technical and say I’m almost blind. Therefore I needed to pick up most stuff by ear, which is fine by me. However I wanted to ask you if you would be so kind to write out tabs in a way that I can use them. The graphic representations as they are on sites, etc don’t work for me. I already know a bunch of songs because of the homespun tapes’ stuff I have, but most you do in part eight of you and your dad’s old time banjo vid isn’t on there, except boil ‘em cabbage down of course and the youtube buttons (play, stop, rewind, etc) I can’t use, so no chance of rewinding to listen again and figure it out. Notes or string and fret number would help out already. Just to give an example:

Willy Moore
g0h2 2 2-4 b3
b3 g4 4-2 0
or simply:
gha a ab D
D b ba g

note: I did the D in caps just to mean it’s the second octave and in the first one i put the string note only when it changes. I know on the spaces there’s a strum, except for when there are two notes, which aren’t hammer-ons, pull-offs or slides. And it’s only a little part of the song anyway.

But, if you could send me some tabs I can work with, that would be great and very much appreciated

.I looked at the examples Rudd sent and made a few changes. The formula I came up with goes as follows:

We start out with the songs title, key, time signature and the banjo’s tuning. Then on to the song.

Each numbered line represents a single measure, with pick-up notes in the measure numbered zero.

Tab is represented by string number – fret number – note value with the – symbol tying the information together.

Q = quarter note
E = eighth note
S = sixteenth note

3-0-Q tells you to play the third string open for a quarter note value.

For chords I have the name of the chord followed by st for strum thumb.

G-st tells you to play a strum thumb from a G chord.

Chords with unusual fingerings are given special names and mentioned at the beginning of the tab.

A number after a chord tells you what fret to play the chord.

G5 = G chord at the fifth fret

h = hammer-on
p = pull-off
s = slide
b = bend

1-2p0 tells you to play a pull-off on the first string at the second fret.

1-h2 tells you to play a hammer-on at the first string second fret.

Phantom effects are represented by /

3-0 /h 4-2 tells you to strike the third string open and play a phantom hammer-on on the fourth string at the second fret

Double thumbing, a frailing banjo technique where you cut quarter notes in half by thumbing the fifth string is represented by dt

3-0-dt  2-0-dt  3-0-dt  2-0-dt

Notes played with the thumb are marked with an asterisk *

This will make it easy to indicate drop-thumb patterns.

1-0-E 2-0-E 1-0-E 5-0-E tells you to strike the first string, thumb the second string, strike the first string and thumb the fifth string.

Rests are indicated with the note value followed by an R.

RQ = quarter note rest RE = eighth note rest.

Here is the melody break for Wreck of the Old 97:
Download as a plain text file.

Wreck of the Old 97
4/4 time
Key of G
G tuning

G1 = G chord with first string at the fifth fret
G2 = G chord with first string at the seventh fret

0. 2-0-Q 2-1-Q
1. 1-0-Q Gst 1-0-Q 1-2-Q
2. 1-0-Q Gst 2-0-Q 3-0-Q
3. 2-1-Q Cst 2-1-Q Cst
4. 1-2-Q 5-0-Q 1-2-Q 2-1-Q
5. 1-0-Q G st 1-5-Q G1st
6. 1-7-Q G2st 1-5-Q G1st
7. 1-4-Q Dst 2-3-Q Dst
8. 3-2-Q Dst 1-2-Q 1-4-Q
9. 1-5-Q G1st 1-5-Q G1st
10. 1-5-Q G1st 1-0-Q 2-0-Q
11. 2-1-Q Cst 2-1-Q Cst
12. 1-2-Q 5-0
-Q 1-2-Q 2-1-Q
13. 1-0-Q Gst 2-0-Q 3-0-Q
14. 3-2-Q D7st 2-0-Q 3-2-Q
15. 3-0-Q Gst 4-0h2 Gst
16. 3-0-Q Gst 2-0-Q 2-1-Q

I have a pretty nice archive of tunes tabbed out with the system. Over the next few weeks I will be re-posting them along with the braille-friendly editions of The Outlaws and Scalawags Songbook and The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo that were created by Daily Frail fans.

I am also looking into how we can adapt the system to work for guitar and other instruments. Tab is such a visual thing, so this will hopefully make it easier for visually-impaired music students. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Old News . . .

news clipping from 2000

When the folks from The Washington Post were here on Saturday my mom dragged out a bunch of old photographs and news clippings. I was kind of surprised by some of the items because I didn’t even know she had been saving any of that stuff.

That got me thinking. You see, the walls of my old bedroom are literally covered with pictures, cards from students and news clippings going back to the early 90’s. Rather than scrapbook stuff, I just thumb tack it to my wall.

Anyway, I was looking at my wall this morning and realized that some of the news clippings were falling apart. If I am going to keep them I had better start scanning them and saving digital copies.

This news clipping was sent to me after we jammed at the Old Fiddler’s Picnic in Hibernia Park back in 2000. That was a pretty good day.

I will be posting more stuff like this over the next few weeks.

Help Australian Baby Possums, Kangaroos & Wallabies

I am posting this because I know we have a lot of friends Down Under, as well as a lot of other folks around the world with a sewing machine in the house.

The IFAW has launched an initiative to help injured kangaroos, possums and wallabies recover from injury suffered during the recent South Australian bush fires. They are asking folks to sew joey pouches to help injured possums, kangaroos and wallabies.

You can read more about the project on Buzzfeed or at the IFAW web site.

joye pouch

Darling Cory

Alex writes:

Hi Patrick and Dad,

Hope all is well with you!

Loved the pictures of the seagulls in your blog recently, looked amazing! I love those cold frosty days, my favourite weather type of weather!

I’ve been doing some videos with my friend Jacqui over the holidays and finally getting around to putting them up.

Just got the first one finished and am really pleased with it.