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LoneStarMandolin
Sep-08-2010, 11:07am
am playing in a good beginner jam but there are a lot of banjo guys there and they do like to play some banjo dominated instrumentals from time to time:

* Cripple Creek - always in G and the version I learned is in A!
* Banjo in the Hollow
* Doug's Tune

of course, that means I've got nothing :crying: - I'm just chopping chords. would really like to take a break too but I'm a long ways from being able to construct a mandolin break on my own.

tried to find some sheet music to any of these and transpose to mandolin but I can't even find that. going from banjo tab to notation to mandolin tab is going the long way around!

any help, ideas, already worked out breaks in mandolin tab? your help appreciated.

AlanN
Sep-08-2010, 11:23am
Hate to say this, but...

If you hear the melody, and what you want to do, in your head...and can translate those ideas to the fingerboard...you're golden. It's a tough row to hoe at first, but that's it. Then, playing your A solo in G is not too hard.

No tab, sry.

And Doug's Tune is a great number!

LoneStarMandolin
Sep-08-2010, 11:29am
Hate to say this, but...

If you hear the melody, and what you want to do, in your head...and can translate those ideas to the fingerboard...you're golden. It's a tough row to hoe at first, but that's it. Then, playing your A solo in G is not too hard.

No tab, sry.

And Doug's Tune is a great number!

I can't translate the melody to the fingerboard yet - if I could do that I wouldn't need to ask for help!

and playing my A Cripple Creek IS hard for me - I can't do it and don't know where to start.

but yes, Doug's Tune is a great number.

fAtHanD
Sep-08-2010, 11:38am
First let me say that I think AlanN is right. It will be down right frustrating to sit down and try to pick out those tunes without any assistance. But it is one of the best things you can do. You will learn a ton by being patient and persistent.

However I was in the same situation a few years ago as our banjo player did Banjo in the Hollow but no one else in our picking circle would play lead on that song. Like you I was not at that point in my playing where I could easily pick out the melody. So what I did was to print out banjo tab for the song. I then proceeded to figure out what each note was and then write it down. Then I played those notes on the mando. Also a test of patient and persistent but well worth the time and commitment.

pglasse
Sep-08-2010, 11:44am
A couple of thoughts on Cripple Creek. First, ask the banjo players if they'd be willing to put their capos on the second fret, bringing them to the key of A, so you can play along. It really shouldn't cause a problem for them and will be better for mandolin and fiddle.

If that's not an option try this. Typically Cripple Creek on the mandolin starts on the A on the fifth fret of the E string. If you're playing in G try starting two strings lower. In other words, on the G note that is on the fifth fret of the D string. Use the same fingering your would in A, just on the lower strings. Depending how you play the B section you may run out of "real estate" for some of the notes. That's where you'll have to compose another solution. Again though, this should get you started.

All the best,

Hayduke
Sep-08-2010, 12:15pm
Never say can't. You will find a way and this is coming from a guy who started playing in his late 50's and who figures that if he lives to be about 110, he just might get somewhat proficient.

LoneStarMandolin
Sep-08-2010, 12:39pm
I don't want to offend and I do appreciate all the help but maybe I can refocus what I'm asking for here ...

* I know that I can laboriously sit down and pick out the tune myself - and that such would be good for my development (and perhaps take a millenia - okay, just kidding on that. probably only a year).

* I'm aware that you can always do more than you think you can so don't limit yourself with can'ts

* I also realize that I can do a banjo tab to mandolin tab translation/transposition and that doing such would be good too

but that's not what I'm asking for! I'm not asking what would be best for my mandolin development -- I'm asking for some QUICK help to learn these three banjo tunes ASAP. note Paul Glasse's post above - that's a workable, helpful idea. I'd like to see if I can't solicit a few more of those kind of posts rather than more "do it the hard way" stuff.

I may have to do it the hard way and there may not be anybody with these breaks already worked out in mandolin tab who wants to share them and yes (again) I can do it the hard way. but since I'm working on a ton of stuff already and this jam meets every Tuesday I was hoping for maybe a little shortcut.

and yes, I know ... shortcuts are bad. :))

but I was just kinda hoping... :grin:

CES
Sep-08-2010, 1:29pm
I don't have these worked out already (sorry)...an alternative to the laborious approach may be to try to use software (Tabledit, Sibelius, etc) and let them do the busy work for you...many will transpose the notation or tab for you from either banjo or guitar (which may be more easily available) to mandolin, and many basic versions are free downloads. I remember Bela Fleck talking about transposing classical pieces to the banjo for his Perpetual Motion album (phenomenal, btw) and he used a similar approach.

Unfortunately the software isn't perfect, and so you may find it gives you the correct notes but in random places around the fretboard...SO, you may have to do a little extra work to get it under your fingers, but if you can get the bulk of it done for you it's still quicker than trying to pick it out by ear.

You may also try doing a google search for the songs you've listed and "mandolin tab." Alltabs has quite a few, and you may also find some transcription books that would help you out (not by last night, of course).

Paul, of course, is right on as well.

Good luck, man. My wife and I were discussing the very crux of the debate above just yesterday...I wanna PLAY, but I've also reached a point where I need more theory knowledge and knowledge of my fretboard to really be able to do that, especially with others, and that boils down to just basically doing the work. In a sort of messed up compromise I've been making myself transpose guitar tunes I pick with a buddy (usually pretty easy classic rock, country, and pop stuff, and many of them capo'd to different keys) to mando and occasionally banjo. It serves the purpose of letting me play along with my mando without a capo but I've also had a couple of "light bulb" moments with respect to the relationship between various keys and the lay out of the fretboard, and it's been helpful to pick out the solos by ear as I tend to remember them better that way than if I have the music in front of me.

Anyway, hope this helps, and good luck!

LoneStarMandolin
Sep-08-2010, 2:14pm
thanks Chuck! That was very helpful. unfortuantely googling up mandolin tab for doug's tune and the others has been a failure. maybe I should publish a book of mando tab of banjo tunes (what a big seller that'd be!).

does the free version of TabEdit transpose from banjo to mandolin? is that as simple as finding a command under a pull down menu or is there more I should know about how to do that?

LoneStarMandolin
Sep-08-2010, 2:32pm
aha - a breakthrough! in TefView you can turn OFF tablature and turn ON standard notation giving you a beautiful printout of the banjo tab in notation so you can go right to work turning those notes into mandolin tab. still need a button that says "transpose this to mandolin" but even if I can't find it I've got a least the basis of some breaks to work on. thanks Chuck - you put me on to that, I messed around with it and hit paydirt.

Scott Holt
Sep-08-2010, 2:44pm
Hold on, Cripple Creek is an "A" tune! I guess for a banjo, it makes little difference, however they could easily capo at the second fret. If they capo at two, your golden.

We do "Banjo in the hollow" at our local jam, and to be honest I never learned it. I just play the A part of Cripple creek and improvise the B part to correlate with the chord changes. If I am correct Banjo in the Hollow is similar melodically to Cripple Creek, at least the A part. (i.e. AABB format for most traditional fiddle tunes)

Of course I feel that after "internalizing the melody" you can figure out a simplified version to start, then over time embellish it. Easy! Don't make it too complicated, simplify it so you can play it strong and loud.

SincereCorgi
Sep-08-2010, 3:06pm
Well, if you need something in order to not be embarrassed by Tuesday night, just learn the simplest versions of the melody – just the melody, no double stops, no cute ornaments –#and then play it as all eighth notes to make it sound 'mandolin-y' (so, if it's a quarter note in the melody, play it as two eighth notes, for a half note make it four eighth notes- fake Monroe style, you know?). If you play a simple break with conviction, nobody will mind.

At a certain point, things just can't be simplified anymore and there's some irreducible 'hardness' that you've got to work through.

LoneStarMandolin
Sep-08-2010, 3:39pm
Well, if you need something in order to not be embarrassed by Tuesday night, just learn the simplest versions of the melody – just the melody, no double stops, no cute ornaments –#and then play it as all eighth notes to make it sound 'mandolin-y' (so, if it's a quarter note in the melody, play it as two eighth notes, for a half note make it four eighth notes- fake Monroe style, you know?). If you play a simple break with conviction, nobody will mind.

At a certain point, things just can't be simplified anymore and there's some irreducible 'hardness' that you've got to work through.

trust me - I'm looking to play the simplest thing out there! I'm such a beginner I need help playing that!

but there is a big difference in working the break out entirely from scratch and having something - some tab or notes - to start with. I'm glad I'm getting help making what is pretty tough for me a little easier.

ChrisStewart
Sep-08-2010, 4:33pm
I am a proponent of learning to play by ear. With practice this really expands the ability to pick up tunes. Also it is OK to simplify a tune so that if Cripple Creek in A gives you trouble than just rearrange the parts that are giving you trouble.

Learning to pick up a tune by ear is not near as hard as you make it out to be. There is no need to get any ones version note for note what you want is the basic melody and after you do a few it becomes easy to pick out the basic tune.

You always build around the chords as you see here I did this Cripple Creek around the A chord (xx45).


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sus-eFIuErM

When I first started I tried to mimick good players, but I can't play fast enough so I was discouraged for a long time. Now my attitude is just do something simple

LoneStarMandolin
Sep-09-2010, 2:53pm
Learning to pick up a tune by ear is not near as hard as you make it out to be. There is no need to get any ones version note for note what you want is the basic melody and after you do a few it becomes easy to pick out the basic tune ... Now my attitude is just do something simple

thanks for the video Chris but I want to note something here: you're entirely mistaken when you say picking up a tune by ear "is not near as hard as you make it out to be." YES IT IS! For me, this is tremendously difficult. It is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do. Yet consistently I meet people who can do it who dismiss me with this same "Oh, it's not that hard" or "Just play what comes naturally" or (best of all) "try harder!"

Clearly for some this is not hard. But I would beg those who CAN do it to be patient with others who DO find it to be hard and are struggling to do even something simple. Saying "this isn't that hard" can be pretty discouraging to me -- it makes it sound like not only am I a failure, I am just about the only failure because every other living person on the planet can (apparently) do it and do it easily. That's not encouraging to hear...

Okay rant off now. Again, thanks for the video link and for all here who have patiently tried to help.

Scott Holt
Sep-09-2010, 3:26pm
I hear your frustration, but I think everyone here is trying to help you through this. It is hard for everyone at first, but with time and dedication it will get easier. I spoke of 'internalizing the melody', meaning I listen to the tune ad nauseum, then once I am able to "hum the melody" to myself I am ready to figure out the tune. Once ready, just sit there with your mandolin and slowly figure out the notes. Sometimes it comes quickly, other times not. Sometimes I will do while listening to a recording of the tune. Tab it out for yourself if that helps. But I agree, figuring these things out by ear is incredibly important, Given that bluegrass/OT music is an aural tradition.

Just remember everyone learns at different speeds, try to avoid becoming frustrated.

As well, if figuring out tunes by ear is one of the hardest things you have ever tried to do, you should consider yourself very fortunate. As many of us have had to navigate life situations that make these issues seem somewhat petty.

Don't give up!

Dan Johnson
Sep-09-2010, 4:33pm
try this out... I've never done this before, but it was kind of fun... good luck... also, it's a mirror image because of the way my camera records...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKyxF3j2xAg

Ivan Kelsall
Sep-09-2010, 10:57pm
"Banjo in The Hollow" does have a Mandolin break in it, "Doug'sTune" on the other hand doesn't. I'd just go with Dean Webb's break on 'BITH' but Doug's tune is all yours. I've played than on Banjo for nearly 40 years. It's in "A" on the record. If i were doing it,i'd try to translate as much of the Banjo styling onto the Mandolin. For example, for the opening bars where the Banjo is playing basically 2 string chords (?),i'd strum the chords to it. On the following little 'run' down the neck,i'd single string it & follow a similar styling through the whole tune. It's a tune i still play on Banjo so i've never thought of Mandolising it - i wish i had,i could have been more help,
Ivan

ChrisStewart
Sep-11-2010, 9:33am
Well I apologize LoneStarmandolin I did not intend it that way. Actually I sympathize with you because I had the same attitude. Maybe you are right in that somewhere along the way I picked up the ability to do it that I did not have before but I don't think so. At some point you have to change your attititude from "I can't do that" to "well maybe I can't do that but I can do something"

You already know the tune Cripple Creek so it isn't even a matter of hearing the notes because you already know them -all you are doing as playing them two frets lower in a different key. What I was trying to demonstrat in the video is that you do not need all the additional notes that you may see in some particular version. If you can hum the tune than you are hearing the melody. If you know the chords than you know a lot of the notes that are in the tune.

I am not saying every tune is easy -Doug's tune is hard because it rambles and it is kind of jazzy.
If you want to give up by saying it is hard that is your choice. I think what we have all been saying is that you basically have to make yourself do it. I don't understand the comment about patients. No one here expects you to be able to do it instantly. We are here just trying to help you get started.

Rroyd
Sep-12-2010, 9:56am
What key are they playing Doug's Tune in? If they are in B, play on the first two strings,(1*) c#, g#, f#, g#, f# twice, then b, g#, f#, g#, f# twice. (2*)Then do the first half again, and end with something like (3*) b, a#, b, g#, f#, g#, f#, e, d#, e, d#, c#, b, starting on the first string and playing that descending lick.
Then back to the beginning and do (1*), then at (2*), play an ascending lick (4*), starting on the third string, up to the f#, then descend. g#, g#. a#, b, b, c#, d#, d#, e, e, e, f#, e, d#, e, d#, c#, b. The rhythm will be a combination of quarters and eighths on both halves, so you need to match the rhythmic feel of the banjo break. This is only the first half, but the second half (part B)has the same progression, but can be played with some sequential scale patterns, like (5*) e, f#, e, d#, c#, d#, c#, b, a#,b, a#, g#,f#, g#, a#, f#, starting on the first string and descending, then play a similar sequence starting on the (6*) d# on the second string and ending up on the b on the fourth string, playing the first half of part B again, doing the (3*) lick from the first part. Then play (5*) and (6*) again, and end with (4*) from the first half. Much of the sequential scale patterns will be eighth notes. I hope you can figure your way through this; even though it is a banjo tune, it can have great breaks by other instruments.
Now, back to learning to pick out things by ear. Trying to hear the melody from a banjo break can be very difficult initially (Hum Foggy Mountain Breakdown for us) so don't start there. Figure out simple little tunes you have hummed or sung all your life, like Skip to My Lou, or Mary Had a Little Lamb. That can help you take the "mystery" out of figuring out how to play a song by ear. Then you can learn to hum or sing more difficult tunes, like Turkey in the Straw or Devil's Dream, and then figure them out on mandolin. Pretty soon you not only know how to play a bunch of songs, you also know a bunch of phrases from those songs that can be combined in different ways to play breaks on songs you haven't figured out note-for-note yet.
lick from the first half of the song

JeffD
Sep-12-2010, 2:23pm
you're entirely mistaken when you say picking up a tune by ear "is not near as hard as you make it out to be." YES IT IS! For me, this is tremendously difficult. It is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do. Yet consistently I meet people who can do it who dismiss me with this same "Oh, it's not that hard" or "Just play what comes naturally" or (best of all) "try harder!"

Clearly for some this is not hard. But I would beg those who CAN do it to be patient with others who DO find it to be hard and are struggling to do even something simple. Saying "this isn't that hard" can be pretty discouraging to me -- it .


Believe me when I tell you. We ALL sympathize. All of us. Every single one of us. That which binds all musicians is that each of us individually had to tackle exactly what you are struggling with. And whether we had an instructor or a mentor or instructions or a video or muscal parents or nothing at all, ultimately we all had to scarpe through it by ourselves.

I have absolutely nothing against a "short cut". Grab all you can of what can be grabbed. We all did.

And folks here will help. There is some slowdown software available too, that may help in getting recorded breaks under your fingers.

And I am confident as well that, ten years from now, when some relative newbie asks you for help sounding overnight like he's been playing for ten years, that you will be as patient and understanding, though perhaps more usefull than I have been.

Dan Johnson
Sep-12-2010, 8:54pm
also, I should have mentioned, although I played the melody (somewhat), I'd probably play something like a few double stops, a couple triplet type things, and maybe a canned lick or two... especially if you come in with a some strong double stops, a little chord and a lot of right hand go a long ways... I call the right hand "the money hand," so take the chord shapes you know, and play something cool... I like the elmore james type riffs that Monroe played a lot of... in the key of G, play the 5th fret on the A string and 3rd fret on the E string... play it like a blues riff... syncopate it a bit and trail off at the end...

ChrisStewart
Sep-13-2010, 8:20am
oops -now I see I got it backwards he knows Cripple Creek in A and wanted it in G. I thought you had a good version Dan also good exercise for playing up the neck a bit.

I agree with above if you want to hear the melody banjo is not the easiest.

Earl Gamage
Sep-13-2010, 6:24pm
On Cripple Creek if you normally start your A break on the 5th fret of the E string try starting on the 3rd fret of the E string and play exactly the same break except you'll play a couple of open strings in the G break. If you know your A break well you can do it that way or Paul G's way pretty quickly.

Thanks to Dan for his way too, I never tried it there but it work real well.

I don't know the other two tunes.

CES
Sep-13-2010, 6:40pm
Lonestar,

I think that TefView does have a pull down tab that transposes to mandolin tab, but could be confusing it with Sibelius...I honestly haven't checked out either in quite a while, and am at work (where I can't download the file and play with it)...

One of the things that helped me pick stuff out by ear was the realization that most BG/country songs follow the I/IV/V formula (Nashville numbering system for search purposes)...If I can get one or both of the chords I can usually figure out the others with that formula (or a cheat sheet with all the chords in each key). As for melodies, it just takes practice, and I still have a lot of trouble just "playing what I hear" off the cuff. The "Amazing Slowdowner" software can also be very helpful in this regard, because you can slow tunes down to the point that you can painstakingly pick out each note.

I'll admit I rarely use these tools like I should, but know they're out there from threads here, and from playing with TefView while downloading tabs.

Good luck!

John Gardinsky
Sep-15-2010, 9:33pm
There is no substitute for ear training, but there is also no substitute for learning the fingerboard... Here is Cripple Creek in G for Tefview. You need to learn it in A too just in case we ever meet in the same jam. Hope this helps, John

pepcjim1
Sep-16-2010, 11:07pm
You tube! ya get to watch for chords to songs. When ya get that wired, kind of connect the dots as you hear the tune. Before long ya will be playing in many keys and up the neck. You can do it..

farmerjones
Sep-17-2010, 11:41am
My lightbulb moment was Solfege. i heard that tune Doe a Deer, in the movie Sound of Music, in my pre-teens, but it didn't click for ten years. Doe-ray-me, etc.. I didn't even know it was called Solfege until a few years ago. (im 48) But i could hear the intervals easily that way for the first time. Eventually, it taught me to leave the instrument in the corner. IOW hum or whistle what you want to learn. Better still, theoretically, if you know where "doe-ray-me" is on any instrument you can play it.

So how does hearing a major scale help anything? Seven notes are the building blocks of western (civilization) music. 3.7 times fewer than letters in the English alphabet.
My point is, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. Reduction. Seven notes to build phrases. Phrases build measures. Measures build tunes. Many many repeat.
Speech and language are analogous to music. help or hinder

LoneStarMandolin
Sep-17-2010, 12:33pm
wow - thanks everybody so much for all the help.

I've been out of town and unable to check in for a bit. your encouragement and help are greatly appreciated. gonna see if I can put something into "play!"