Since it may be awhile until we can all get together again at the Pioneer Building to play together, and also to try to offer something in the meantime to all of you who have been very mindful and supportive of me and my family during this time, I got the idea to record a few songs each week from the beginner and intermediate jam lists and put them up on youtube with me leading them much like I would at the jams, for those of you who might like to play and jam along at home.
When calling the breaks, instead of calling out 'everybody', 'banjo', 'fiddle', etc., I have substituted 'together' and 'your turn'.
This is my first attempt at 'leading' a jam while playing alone, so I sometimes found it hard to remember in the moment to call out the next break or to signal the end of the song, so I apologize about many of the cues coming later than what they ordinarily would at the jam. I hope my future attempts at this will be better than this first one.
Also, I may have started some of these songs off a bit on the fast side of things, so if need be, you may find it desirable to slow some of the songs down to 75% of the recorded speed. You can do this on youtube on a laptop, but not on a phone, by going to settings, and the clicking on 'playback speed'.
All The Good Times Are Past And Gone - A
Angeline The Baker - D
Blue Ridge Cabin Home - A
I hope that this email finds you well, and I hope that you will enjoy playing some of the songs here along with me.
Also, for all you banjo players out there, Bill Evans (who was going to be one of the instructors at Weiser Banjo Camp this year until it was cancelled - but he'll be there for the 2021 camp) is teaching a free Facebook Live online workshop this coming Saturday (tomorrow) at noon Mountain Time on “Working Up Scruggs-Style Solos.” This page is set to “Public,” so anyone with a Facebook account can view. Here’s the Facebook link: www.facebook.com/BillEvansBanjo
Keep safe and well.
The song of the week is 'All The Good Times Are Past And Gone' in the key of A. This song is played in 3/4 time.
Flatt and Scruggs - key of A
Jimmy Martin - key of C
The chord progression for All The Good Times Are Past and Gone is:
This is Progression V6 on the Basic Chord Progressions handout. Probably the most well-known song in 3/4 time that uses this same progression is 'Amazing Grace'.
In the key of A: 1 = A; 4 = D; 5 = E.
With a capo on the 2nd fret, the chord shapes become: 1 = G; 4 = C; 5 = D.
In 3/4 time (a.k.a. Waltz time), there are 3 beats per measure. On guitar, when playing rhythm, one measure will consist of 'boom-chuck-chuck', i.e., 'bassnote-strum-strum', rather than the more common rhythm for bluegrass songs of 'boom-chuck-boom-chuck'. Notice that this means that in 3/4 time it takes two measures, instead of one, to get through a cycle of root-5 (alternating bass) on guitar (and on bass, if you are playing only one note per measure). For this reason, it can be useful to think of the chord progression in groups of two measures.
Root-5: Guitar, Bass (and Banjo)
The root note of each chord is simply the note that has the same letter name as the chord. The '5' of the chord is the 5th note of the major scale that has the same letter name as the chord. The first five notes of the A major scale are A, B, C#, D, and E, so when playing 'root-5' over an A chord, this means that you are alternating between an A note and an E note.
There are six major (and six minor) chords for which identifying the 5 involves nothing more than counting up the musical alphabet, without having to worry about sharps or flats. The six are: A, C, D, E, F, and G. So, the 5 of C (counting C as 1) is G (1,2,3,4,5: C,D,E,F,G), the 5 of D is A, the 5 of E is B, the 5 of F is C, and the 5 of G is D.
3/4 Time Root-5: Guitar, Bass (and Banjo)
Taking the progression two measures at a time, the first two measures allow one to play 'root-5' over the 1 chord, but the second group of two measures (i.e., the third and fourth measures) allow one to play only the root note of the chords called for there, because the second of these two measures has a different chord than what the first of these two measures does. So, this scenario is similar to what happens in the non-3/4 time songs we play at the jam in which a single measure is split between two chords (e.g., the 7th measure of each of the parts of Boil The Cabbage Down and Soldier's Joy, or the 4th measure of each of the parts of Shortnin' Bread and the B-Part of Cripple Creek.)
The second line of the progression for All The Good Times allows one to play root-5 over the 1 chord and then over the 5 chord. Notice that this means that two root notes over the 1 chord end up being played back to back, one in the last measure of the first line, and one in the first measure of the second line, since the first line of the progression ended with the 1 chord, and there was only time to play the root note of the chord, but not the 5, because the third measure of the first line called for a chord other than the 1 chord.
Notice that on the Flatt and Scruggs recording, an extra measure of the 1 chord is played at the end of each of the breaks before the vocal comes in. The same thing happens on the Jimmy Martin recording, except that after the mandolin intro break, two extra measures of the 1 chord are played before the vocal comes in. When playing this song at the jam, this may or may not happen, so be prepared for either scenario. The safest thing to do here is to just keep on hitting the root note of the chord (on bass and guitar) at the beginning of each of these potential additional measures of the '1' chord so as to guarantee that you will be playing the root note of the chord at the time when the progression starts over from the beginning.
3/4 Vamp/Chop: Mandolin, Fiddle, Banjo, and Dobro
When playing a 'vamp' or 'chop' rhythm on mandolin, banjo, fiddle, or dobro, a measure of 3/4 time will consist of 'rest-chuck-chuck', which is the same as the guitar rhythm, just without the bass note at the beginning of the measure.
3/4 Rolls (Banjo)
When playing a roll in 3/4 time on banjo, you will have time for a maximum of 6 plucked notes per measure (counted as '1 & 2 & 3 &'), rather than the usual maximum of 8 notes per measure ('1 e & a 2 e & a'), Considered in relation to a roll pattern consisting of 8 notes, this usually involves omitting either the last two notes of the roll, or in some cases, the 5th and 6th notes of the roll, or the 3rd and 4th notes of the roll. If approaching playing in 3/4 time from his angle, make sure that the 3/4 time rolls you create by dropping notes from the standard 8 note rolls don't result in the need to play two 8th notes back to back with the same finger of your picking hand.
There are many standard (common time: 4/4, or cut common time 2/2) licks on banjo, as well as on the other bluegrass instruments, that have 3/4 time equivalents. The 3/4 time versions of these licks in many cases can be derived from the common time or cut common time lick by omitting a quarter of a measure's worth of the least essential notes of the lick.
To help illustrate this, I have included in the attachments a chart of A and E fill-in licks for fiddle and mandolin, and G and D fill-in licks for banjo and guitar (capo 2 to raise them to A and E), presented in the context of 2 measures worth of 3/4 time backup playing.
The two A measures (written as G measures, capo 2, for banjo and guitar) fit the last two measures (that is, measures 15 and 16) of the progression for All The Good Times when played in the key of A. The two E measures (written as D measures, capo 2, for banjo and guitar) fit the last two measures of the second line (that is, measures 7 and 8) of the progression for All The Good Times when played in the key of A. To see the relation between these fill-ins and their cut common (2/2) time counterparts, refer back to the attachments in the recent song of the week write-ups for Nine Pound Hammer and Way Down Town:
Ending the Song
In the attachments I have included a chart of 'Waltz Time Endings in the Key of A' which shows simple, but effective, ways on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo to end 'All The Good Times Are Past And Gone', and almost any other song in 3/4 time when played in the key of A. These endings are played for the last 2 measures of the final chorus. They are not 'tack-on' endings to be played after the last 2 measures of the final chorus. The first beat of the first measure shown for each of the endings coincides with the last sung syllable in the song. Each of the endings shown are easily transposable to each of the other 7 major keys that songs are played in at the jam.
The melody for All The Good Times Are Past And Gone consists of the same five notes that make up the melodies of Down The Road and the B-Part of Cripple Creek. In ascending order of pitch, these five notes are:
5 6 1 2 3
sol la do re mi
Key of G: D E G A B
Key of A: E F# A B C#
Key of Bb: F G Bb C D
Key of B: F# G# B C# D#
Key of C: G A C D E
Key of D: A B D E F#
Key of E: B C# E F# G#
Key of F: C D F G A
Fiddle & Mandolin Breaks: Easy Double Stops
When played in the key of A, the melody of All The Good Times Are Past And Gone can easily be harmonized in the context of a melody-based fiddle or mandolin break, by playing the next highest open string together with the string that the melody is being played on. On the A chord measures, play the open E string along with the A, B, and C# melody notes that are played on the A string. and play the open A string along with the E melody note that is played on the D string. On the E chord measures, play the open E string along with the A, B, and C# melody notes that are played on the A string. On the D chord measures, play the open A string while playing the F# and A melody notes on the D string. All of this works well because the A and E notes (2nd and 1st open strings) are notes that are part of the A chord, the A note is also part of the D chord, and the E note is also part of the E chord.
The first melody note of the first complete measure of All The Good Times Are Past And Gone is the third note of the major scale, just as is the case also with several previous recent songs of the week, including My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains, Beautiful Brown Eyes, and I'll Fly Away. Therefore, the same set of pickup notes that work well to lead into an intro break for those songs will work just as well for All The Good Times Are Past And Gone. Refer back to the section on pickup notes in the song of the week write-up for My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains and for I'll Fly Away:
I sing the three verses that are on the Flatt & Scruggs recording, and occasionally add Jimmy Martin's second verse to this for a fourth verse.
For the chorus, I sing the set of lyrics that are on the Flatt & Scruggs recording. Notice that there is a difference between the lyrics for the 1st and 3rd lines of the chorus. The first line is the same as the title of the song ('All the good times are past and gone'), but the third line is: 'All the good times have passed and gone.'
Since the starting note for the melody of the chorus is the third of the 1 chord (a C# note when in the key of A), the starting note for the tenor harmony is the fifth of the 1 chord (an E note when in the key of A), and the starting note for the baritone harmony is the root of the 1 chord (an A note when in the key of A).
15 songs were played at the jam on Thursday: 11 from the main list, 2 from the additional songs list, and 2 that are on neither list:
All The Good Times Are Past And Gone - A
Beautiful Brown Eyes - G
Bury Me Beneath The Willow (played twice) - G & C
Cripple Creek - A
Down The Road - A
I'll Fly Away - G
Little Birdie - Bb
Mama Don't Allow - A
My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains - G
Way Down Town - E
Will The Circle Be Unbroken - A
Angeline The Baker - D
You Are My Sunshine - A
Hand Me Down My Walking Cane - G
Lonesome Feeling - G https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLSInreqjw4
The chord progression for Lonesome Feeling is:
1 1 1 1
1 1 4 4
In the key of G: 2m = Am. Am is the relative minor of C.
All The Good Times - banjo tab
All The Good Times - guitar tab
All The Good Times - mandolin tab
All The Good Times - melody in A
Jason's Beginner Jam Blog 2019 - 2020
Weekly on Thursdays
Songs regularly called at Bluegrass Jams and links from Jason's "Song of the Week" emails. (from Renee)
in alphabetical order