Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

A name for the famous Bluesgrass 4 bar ending

Forum Members,

After making an inquiry into the Bluegrass term for the final 4-bar ending phrase (see What is it called? ), I was surprised to learn that there is no proper or known term that is attached to this part of the song in Bluegrass.

Example: Kickoff = First 4 bars is the where potatoes launches the song and Part A, Part B are other 8 bar musical phrases.

Wouldn’t it be cool for us to invent one that is more creative for the last 4 bars?

I challenge you - my fellow BanjoBen Forum members - to invent a name…

Reply to offer your suggestions here…

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I my piano playing the ending of a piece or sonatina is called a coda. They’re usually a bit more complex than bluegrass endings though.

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Is there a southern word or term that sounds like coda, that we could go with?

I think coda, in the south, means ‘could have’. Hahaha.

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How about “Bring it on Home”?


Or maybe, “I’m hungry, let’s finish this sucker”?


Tag four, or something easy to call out at a jam.

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I like this idea…

“Wrap 4”, “Home 4”, “4-Stop”?

The cows come home! Or that’s a wrap! Or let’s skedaddle

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@WillCoop it might help us to hear and see a sample for this four bar phrase.

How about Green to go, Amber for Caution, Red for Stop…


A simple example is in the basic lesson of Old Joe Clark in G… bar 35 - 38, where @BanjoBen actually has written Ending in the tab! You will also note the last 2 bars (37 - 38) is a variation of the “shave” ending… altered but still recognizable with the V - I cadence.

I do find it also interesting that these “endings” are typically 1/2 of the standard song phrases denoted as 1st A Part, 2nd A Part, 1st B Part and 2nd B Part… all being 8 bars in length.

So… As “Kickoff” is 1/2 phrase (4 bars) - so is the “Ending” (also 4 bars)… almost suggesting or implying that the two together balance out to be another full phrase (Kickoff + Ending = 8 bars)… to frame the song… but split on each side of the main song’s melody lines… at the beginning and end.

For me… That feeling and knowing the ending is approaching - having never heard a certain song before, is a cool part of Bluegrass. The listener often can feel the ending and participate with the band’s hard stop song conclusion. You can clearly notice how well this plays live by the timing of the audience’s applause, hoops and hollers. Contrast this with other songs that merely drag out and slow down the last 3 chords… Or just extend the final chord with a mini “Let’s go nuts” improv of notes and drum fills - cymbal crash. Or the classical symphonic endings with dramatic root chord repetitive counts and crescendos. It may seem subtle when you don’t think about it… but as a “music of the people”, this is another example of how Bluegrass has its’ own Mark and charm… distinctive and even celebrated by musicians with the audience/fans.

I considered “Outro”… But I think those are endings where a set of chords are repeated and faded… so not a suitable name as it doesn’t apply by that definition.

Maybe, “Ending” is simply good enough… although it seems so boring as compared with other song-part names like Kickoff, Part A, turnaround, and bridge.

Caboose? :steam_locomotive: Nah - even though I like the train tie-in, it feels a little awkward or clunky.

Maybe, Close 4 (as “4-Close” would make people think their homes are being repossessed :smirk:).

Or… To borrow from the tradition… “Shave 4” might work?

C’mon Jack! At the speed of some of these songs, the ending would be over before you finished shouting out this phrase! :joy:

Except in America Amber is a girl’s name. It’s called a yellow light

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We have Amber’s over here in the UK too not just an American girls name

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So I guess a girl named Amber in the UK is sadly lonely… Slow down - Approach with caution… and thusnever asked out on dates? :thinking::smirk:


Not the Amber’s I know. They are mostly redheads, smart and quick witted and usually centre of attention.


I would call it Ending, works just fine for me. I really can’t see it needs any other description.

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How about something with “out” in it since it’s like “let’s get out of this song”. Maybe “play out” or “get out”… or maybe “tail” or something. The Tail. You could say “let’s wag the tail” to mean to end the song. Lol.


Well now, case closed?

I personally like Kickoff more that “Start” or “Intro”… as it just fits the purpose better.

Ending works… But bland… A far cry from the Amber-types @Archie referenced. :grin:

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So probably Irish :wink:

finis, and that’s it, :wink:

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