OK, so I’ve been monkeying around on the old five string with everybody’s favorite “Yee-haw!!” song, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”
I thought I would go to the original 1949 recording and see how Earl did it. I slowed it down to 50% and tried playing along. (Fat chance!)
What I noticed was it sounded funny, so I put it back to 100% and it still sounded odd, like it was in a different key. I would have bet money it was in G, so I did a little looking around. Turns out -
Flatt & Scruggs (1949 - the original recording) - key of Ab (instruments tuned up a half step higher than standard.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Y3mnj-8lA
Flatt & Scruggs (1968 - used for the soundtrack of the movie ‘Bonnie And Clyde’) - key of G
Earl Scruggs & Friends (2001 - won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance of the Year) - key of G
Thanks to the Idaho Bluegrass Association for the information.
Now I know the next time someone says, “That’s not the way Earl would do it,” I can honestly say, “Earl didn’t do it the way Earl did!”