Hello folks ... I hope you can help me. I'm having trouble with the Ragtime Episode tab I've got. I can't work out the fingering as it seems so fast! Do you pinch with the thumb and forefinger on the 2cnd bar or use the ring finger to maintain the speed?? I'm used to rolls on bluegrass and knowing how the fingering works but I really can't figure this one out. I don't expect to be as good as Rob Mackillop and others but any help would be most welcome. Thanks in advance!

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Comment by Jody Stecher on June 3, 2017 at 18:19

Without seeing the Tab you are using there is no way to comment sensibly. I just now had a look at the two staff notation versions in the Music Library on this site and neither show anything in the second bar that could be a called a "pinch". That usually means playing the outside strings with thumb and middle finger simultaneously. Or it can mean playing any two strings with thumb on one string and any finger on another string that is closer to the floor. The pinch employs the opposable thumb option we have as Primates. But the second measure of the versions I see contain only single notes. Please give more information. Let us see the measure in question if possible, or describe it in detail. Tell us who created the tab. Are their other tabs reliable?  Sheet music sometimes contains printer's errors but not to the extent that tab is often wrong. 

Comment by Daniel Pearce on June 3, 2017 at 18:37
Thanks so much for the reply .... I got the tab from banjo hangout I think some time ago. I'll check what you have here on classic banjo again as the fact you say there's no pinch is interesting as mine does (I think!!) . If I can find a way to send you the tab I will.
Comment by Daniel Pearce on June 3, 2017 at 18:49
Aha I see! There's no pinch noted on the 2cnd bar as you say. It's in proper musical notation and not tab which I'm used to, but I'll see if I can work it out just the same. Things are getting a little clearer!! The one I have I think I found on banjo hangout and it says arranged by Van Epps, if that helps, and not Hal Allert.
Comment by Daniel Pearce on June 3, 2017 at 18:55
Sorry to carry on :) so if my music reading is right it's a kind of forward backward roll to use bluegrass lingo?
Comment by Daniel Pearce on June 3, 2017 at 19:09
The tab is the first thing that shows up on banjo hangout when you google ragtime episode tab
Comment by Jody Stecher on June 3, 2017 at 20:28

I don't have the Van Eps arrangement and can't find it on the internet. However, looking at the Joe Earle arrangement here on the site library, YES!  the second measure is a forward-reverse roll. Exactly. TIMTMIT preceded by a rest. All done with the left index finger barre-ing the 1st and 2nd strings at fret one. 

I did the google search and found a thread about the tab but not the tab and no notation either. Just talk.  Anyway it's simple to post the transcription here, or to post just the bar in question. Either scan or take a photo and get it on your hard drive and place on the "desktop".  Then look at the menu in the little box in which a message is sent to this forum. I am writing in such a box at this moment. You will see how to attach a photo etc. It takes seconds. Not hard. 

Comment by Daniel Pearce on June 3, 2017 at 20:43
Hi .... thanks again for the reply ... on an iPad and a phone but can't find a way to attach a picture .... I've checked Add and options but no good. What you've told me is really helpful though :)
Comment by Daniel Pearce on June 3, 2017 at 20:57
Getting mixed up !! In any case I've posted the photo as a status (for some reason) and my profile picture shows the the tab. Apologies for my confusion!!
Comment by Jody Stecher on June 3, 2017 at 22:26

OK.. I'm starting to get a handle on this. Your problems with attaching a photo are probably due to you having posted a Blog Post. In the future post a Discussion and all is likely to be well. I don't know what a "status" is, but in any case I tried brightening and enlarging the sideways photo of the tab but i could not make it legible. However a friend has emailed me a large clear copy of the same tab. In this, the second measure does contain a pinch. It contains two in fact. Because of how the timing is represented in the tab I would find this close to impossible to play at speed. So now I understand your original question. Yikes! that would be a real problem to play. What I don't know is whether this tab corresponds to the Van Eps staff notation.  HOWEVER: I do know how Van Eps played it. You can hear it here:


and the tab is wrong. the timing is wrong and the second measure does not begin with a rest. What Van Eps plays contains 8 eighth notes.The first is the open C bass string. Next comes an open G third string played with the index. Next comes the first pinch. The melody is on the first string (e flat at the first fret) played with the middle finger, and the harmony is the open G 3rd string played with the thumb. then comes the second string played with the index. Then the thumb plays the open 5th string. Then the index plays the 2nd string. Then the pinch again. Then the second string with the index. So it turns out to be very simple. It's two nearly identical groups of four beats. In the first group the thumb plays the bass string. In the second group it plays the 5th string. The rest is the same. The third beat in each group is a pinch of T and M together. But if you don't play the Thumb stroke and covert the pinch to a single M stroke you get this pattern: TIMI TIMI.  Not hard. Once you get that you can add the thumb to the M stroke. Clear?  One more thing: tab is often wrong. No, I'm being diplomatic. Tab is *usually* wrong is what I really mean.  Much better to use slow down software and play by ear. If not possible, it is not so very hard to learn staff notation. It sometimes contains printer's errors but the error rate is low compared to tab. 

Comment by Daniel Pearce on June 3, 2017 at 22:58
What a wonderful helpful reply. Many thanks. I think I need to trust my ear and not the tab so much. I'll follow what you say but I tried the roll you said earlier and the tune, whilst difficult, seems actually possible! This piece has been giving me trouble for months!! I'll also endeavour to learn notation as it's frustrating having switched from bluegrass to classic in the main to find only a.few tabs available and as you say not always reliable! Once again, Many thanks

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