Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Arrangement question

So I’m not sure if this is weird, standard, or just a personal preference kind of thing. At the end of the song they go into Black Mountain Rag. Billy Strings is only playing the A, B, and D parts, and the rest of the band is playing A, B, C, and D parts. At full speed it sounds great and I didn’t even notice, but when I was messing around playing along with it is when I noticed it. Seems like every time someone plays it it’s a different combination of parts just curious about thoughts on this one.


Structure/form of Black Mtn Rag is AABBCC…there is no Part D


The tab on this site has a D part

And the main question is that if there’s no D part then I’m just confused by the band playing an extra 8 bars and Billy isn’t. Just thought it was kind of weird.

I think it’s probably just a preference thing… as Ben says on the lesson description:

“This one is more in the style of the late, great “Doc” Watson, and includes the extra part he would often play, though most versions I hear omit it.”

I suppose it’s kind of weird that the band wasn’t playing the same arrangement, though. If I was to play the tune in a band or jam, I would recommend verifying with the other pickers as to whether or not you would play that section.


Hi Scott

There are two arrangements on the site. An intermediate arrangement in the Key of A and an advanced arrangement in C neither has a D part. @BanjoBen 's arrangements are ABC. Ben likes to mix things up a bit It’s always best to sit down with the band or session group and discuss how the arrangement you/they want to play.

Scott, all the breaks on that video are the same length. (counted them out for ya):wink:

What may be confusing you is that they are a not real particular about playing the defining melody at the particular time it belongs…the are jamming/improvising through the progression.


Hey @Archie, here’s the part in the guitar tab that Scott is referencing (measure 26):

gif Duh. I saw the banjo player and just assumed


Yeah I’m sure it’s something I’m missing, but when I saw D part I got confused. I’ll have to recount, I thought that when I used @BanjoBen tab to play rhythm the band played through all 4 when Billy only played A, B, and D. I’ll look closer. Then I was wondering if there was a standard way of doing it if someone were to call it out at a jam. I’m just easily confused ha.

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I suggest learning three parts…then keep your ears open…some jammers have a tendency toward playing an AABB form, or it may change with each instrument break…it’s one of those “hang on” kind of tunes.

And as Ben suggests, there’s always the chance a doc Watson fan will whip our the extra part on guitar…just in case the rest wasn’t confusing enough :wink:


Well, I never learned this song, and at camp in July it happened to come up in a jam that I was part of, and I had to do some learning real quick like :joy::joy:


In my recollection, Doc would play that little chord strike part when the other instruments would not.

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