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  • kenhaigh

Banjo Friday 1

Here's a catchy tune that I am trying to learn, Wabash Blues.

I think a lot of clawhammer players hear this tune and immediately want to play it, but like me can't figure out what Hobart Smith is doing here. The problem, I quickly discovered, is that he is not using a common banjo tuning. He has tuned his banjo to eAACD and he is mostly hammering on or pulling off on the first string, second fret. It sounds easy, but it's not. Smith's recording is from 1963 and seems to be a tune of his own invention, and not related to a jazz tune of the same name. If you would like to hear a modern rendering with a fiddle, you can't do better than Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves, from their recent self-titled album. I heard them both perform at Banjofest in Guelph last year, just before everything shut down for Covid-19. It was an amazing performance, both toe-tapping and zen at the same time. Enjoy


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