I am a novice with Classic Banjo, and part of the trouble I am having is learning how to play a composition from the standard notation. I find it difficult to translate a note from the sheet music to a fret on the neck. I have read standard notation for many years in the context of band instruments, but that is a simple mapping of one note to one finger position. On a banjo neck, there are many places to play a note.

I have been playing banjo now for about 20 years, but I only recently started learning Classic Banjo. How do you more experienced players go about arranging a tune? I find it to be agonizingly slow without tab to show me where the notes are properly found. It takes me forever to figure out a tune. 

Any hints or tips or suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks,

Brian

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I have finally tabbed Skeleton Dance so that I can start learning how to play it. I voiced it myself, so there are probably some mistakes, but it looks pretty good so far. Working out the fingerings was very time consuming, and it is clear that I would never be able to play it directly from the standard notation.

Working out the fret positions for the notes really opened up the tune for me. I am starting to see patterns in the piece. I tabbed it from the score that I downloaded from this site. It looks like the music could be simplified with some repeats with different endings, but I left it like it is in the score. I may go back later and make it more space efficient.

To help me remember the chord sequence I added chord fingering charts in key places above the tab.

Now I need to sit down and learn it.

Attachments:

If you would like to compare TAB, mine has been posted into the BHO tab archive for a couple of years. You'll see some alternate fingerings, for sure!

I find working thru this stuff (as you have) helps me internalize the tune...and then, if I can, I compare with video of others playing, etc., and see if I need (or not) to make changes.

I did not know that your tab was there. I usually don't look in the BHO tabs because a lot of them are in Tabledit, and I can't run that program on my Linux computer. I did mine in Lilypond, which is a bear to learn, but it runs everywhere and is free.

I am glad that I put in the effort to do the tabbing myself anyway because it allowed me to get into the tune. I like the way you use the barre chord at the fifth fret to do the arpeggio of 32nd notes. That one didn't occur to me. It will be a lot easier than pulling in the 5th string like I did. I will probably adopt that one.

Also, I seem to have found the hardest possible way to do the last three chords. LOL

Thanks for the feedback.

It would be expedient and worthwhile  and advisable and sensible to learn the basic chord forms used in classic banjo playing. Once you know these positions you automatically know  well over 50% of the fingering for thousands of banjo solos. My estimate is conservative and may be understating the case. Maybe it's 80%.

Brian Kimerer said:

I did not know that your tab was there. I usually don't look in the BHO tabs because a lot of them are in Tabledit, and I can't run that program on my Linux computer. I did mine in Lilypond, which is a bear to learn, but it runs everywhere and is free.

I am glad that I put in the effort to do the tabbing myself anyway because it allowed me to get into the tune. I like the way you use the barre chord at the fifth fret to do the arpeggio of 32nd notes. That one didn't occur to me. It will be a lot easier than pulling in the 5th string like I did. I will probably adopt that one.

Also, I seem to have found the hardest possible way to do the last three chords. LOL

Thanks for the feedback.

Yes. I did refer to the basic chords pdf file that I downloaded from this site to discover the chords by moving the basic forms up and down the neck to find the notes. However, I dropped the ball by choosing, for example, the 2 1 3 major chord instead of the barre major chord when matching some of the notes. It was not clear to me what chord I was looking at from the notes.

There is more than one way to skin a cat, and unfortunately I appear to have chosen the wrong cat in some places.

It's all good.

I go 'chord blind' sometimes. I'll look at a stack of notes and somehow pick the worst possible position for them. Later, I'll revisit the piece and suddenly see the 'right' position for it.

I've gotten better at choosing positions over the years. For pieces that are fully marked for position (and fingering) it is no big problem, of course. However, each publisher and arranger can have their own secret code...esp. when you start looking at the earlier stuff. Sometimes it is like being a code-breaker!

Marc is right ; you may take up years to find the good fingering for a tune ; the fingering is the most important thing ; each banjo player will not use the same but the one according  himself

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