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Thread: Roanoke

  1. #1
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Roanoke

    Hey Everyone,

    Working on Roanoke over here in State College, PA. Itís been a work in progress for years. Tough for me to get any good at. Any tips or suggestions welcome. I suppose Iím looking for some new approaches:

    Hamlett Two-Point
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    Default Re: Roanoke

    A lot of fiddle tunes can sound great at a slow, medium or fast tempo.

    But many Monroe tunes are speed-dependent: the speed is integral to the tune, and it won’t sound “correct” until it’s played at a fast-enough tempo.

    Tunes like Come Hither to Go Yonder, Old Ebenezer Scrooge, Rawhide, Roanoke, etc. fall into this category. I learn them at a slow tempo (I LOVE the YouTube feature that lets you dial down the tempo without affecting the pitch) so that I can hit the notes cleanly. Then, I work hard to get it up to speed. At a certain tempo, the magic will start to happen and it will start to sound authentic.

    I really admire Chris Henry’s playing and his understanding of Monroe’s subtle stylistic / artistic innovations. Henry thinks there’s a lot of value in playing Monroe tunes up-to-speed…. And playing them “as written”. Check out his teaching videos… I think he has one on Roanoke.

    New Hamlett sounds great!
    Northfield Big Mon
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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roanoke

    Sounds great and very fine mandolin tone and voice-Is that a John Hamlett? I love the two point.

  6. #4
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roanoke

    Thanks guys!

    Sure is, Will. It’s a one month old John Hamlett two-point. I’m certainly a grateful and zealous owner, but it is really, really nice. Like, I’m still in a bit of disbelief that it’s mine. It’s everything I hoped for and more, and John was wonderful to work with.

    Jstring…. Thanks for the great tip!
    Hamlett Two-Point
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  7. #5
    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roanoke

    Kevin you really play this tune nicely and that is a great sounding mandolin!

    I used to play Roanoke with a banjo player that would not slow down. No matter what. I came to think that he may not have been able to play it much slower and keep it right. Either way it pushed me to speed up. When I could get it going close to fast enough to keep up with him my right hand was almost like tremolo right hand. I would have to loosen up my right hand and wrist to where I was actually trying to keep up with my left hand fingers. Sometimes all I could get were the main accents of the melody. Kinda sloppy but something anyway. I don't play a lot of really fast stuff now but I do believe that playing fast on Monroe tunes like this is all about the right hand.

    There are a few different takes of Roanoke in the Song of the Week group. Sgarrity rips it off really fast. He mixed in some right hand shuffle flavors that sound good to me. Good Luck!

  8. #6
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roanoke

    Sounds good to me. Your playing is clean and that makes it good no matter the tempo?
    Bernie
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    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  9. #7
    Registered User Tom Morse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roanoke

    Nice job. A little more syncopated shuffle in the B part, I think. This old video has it played very fast, but Sierra schools it on the B part rhythm.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpGQ7gDrWtE
    Jethro lives! (Tiny, too!)

  10. #8
    Registered User mingusb1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roanoke

    Sounds good, and I concur with Jstring that a lot of the Monroe breakdowns won't really sound like Monroe until up to speed. But they can still sound good, as you do here. An old mando fiddle and mando friend of mine in Raleigh is a really good on the Monroe breakdowns. When I play them with him he has advised not to dig in to the strings as deeply in order to keep speed and the feel. I that light it can start sounding like a shuffle or tremolo as Ky Slim said, and that's when it starts sounding Monroe to my ear. I also moved to a rounder, thinner pick to help with this attack and tone. And it sounds to my ear like you can play faster than you do on this cut, and I'd recommend just cranking it up, not worrying about mistakes, and seeing how it changes. Pick it with someone who plays it faster than you do now and see what comes out.

    Cheers,
    Z
    Member since 2003!

  11. #9
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roanoke

    I've always loved what Dick Fegy did with Roanoke on the David Bromberg album My Own House: the second tune of Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Medley, about 3 minutes in where he says "play it in G, Feedge"

    I also love Dawg and Ronny McCoury's version on Dawg Plays Big Mon, but it's stupid fast (and tasty).
    Clark Beavans

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