Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: Cumberland Gap

This is an old, old folk song made very popular on the banjo by Mr. Earl Scruggs. This version is similar to Earl’s, but also adds a couple twists and turns to set it apart.

WOW… To get measure 18 to sound clear is tough. My pinky mutes the first string. If I rotate my hand down for a more straight on attack I can get it clear but Boy its tough… lol

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Can you talk a little bit about the theory behind what you did in measure 15 (Eminor?). Is that what’s called dissonance?

Yes, it is. Technically you can call it true chromatic banjo as it uses the chromatic half steps. The note that folks want to hear is the E (2nd fret, 1st string). But I delay the gratification by climbing chromatically up from the open D note using the D# at 4th fret, 2nd string, then climb back down again.

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SEE @BanjoBen this is what a College Education in music does for ya. You become a Theory Nerd and use all these fancy words that confuse your lay music students like me.

Kyle Tuttle must have attended the same college as you because his explanations are even more confusing.


There are two terms you need to know to comprehend this explanation.
Chromatic: ascending or descending using half step intervals.
Half step intervals: intervals represented when you ascend or descend up an instrument neck and play every fret.

Well, maybe a third–gratification.
Gratification (n.)- The feeling I have when I eat good BBQ or pursue equivalent mentionable or non-mentionable activities.

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Food Glorious Food. Promise me you will get a diabetic blood test. Seriously.

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Measure 31 I was having the e note in the first string being heard. It was suggested to me by a great banjo player to change the brush direction.
Sounds better to me. What do you think ?