Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
The song of the week is 'Hand Me Down My Walking Cane' in the key of G.
The progression is:
This progression is not one of the progressions on the Basic Chord Progressions chart, but, if it helps you to think of it in these terms, it can be thought of as a cross between two progressions on that chart: the 1st half of Prog. V5 (or W5) followed by the 2nd half of Prog. V4 (or V10).
Here are a couple of versions of the song to take a listen to:
Norman Blake: key of A
Flatt & Scruggs: key of G
In the version of the melody that I have provided in the attachments, the melody has a 'built-in' pickup phrase consisting of 3 quarter notes: D, G, and A. For the sake of ensuring that you are able to effectively kick off the song on your instrument, I recommend spending extra time practicing playing these three notes together with the B note that follows them that begins the first measure proper of the melody, paying attention to your timing and tempo. The notes need to be spaced absolutely evenly, and the B note that follows the three pickup notes needs to be played with a greater accent than the pickup notes.
Not all songs have a pickup phrase built into their melodies consisting of 3 quarter notes. Some song melodies have no pickup phrase at all. But, apart from 8 potato and 4 potato intros which should normally be reserved only for starting fiddle tunes, the use of pickup phrases consisting of 3 quarter notes tend to be the most effective way to start a song at a jam. Make use of your experience with songs that do have these 3 quarter note pickup phrases built into their melodies to guide you for selecting appropriate pickup phrases for songs that do not have such pickup phrases built into their melodies.
In the case of 'Hand Me Down My Walking Cane', we are dealing with a song that is being played in the key of G, that starts with a G chord, and has a 'B' note as the first note of the first complete measure of the song. So, try using the same pickup notes that are given here in the melody of 'Hand Me Down My Walking Cane', namely D, G, A, as pickup notes to use to start your breaks for other songs played at the jam in the key of G that start with a G chord and have a 'B' note as the first melody note of the first measure proper of the song: 'I'll Fly Away', 'My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains', 'All The Good Times Are Past And Gone', 'Beautiful Brown Eyes'. 'Blue Ridge Cabin Home'. 'I Still Write Your Name In The Sand', 'Leaning On The Everlasting Arms', 'Worried Man Blues'.
Raise each note in the pickup phrase up a whole step to E, A, B (either by capoing to the 2nd fret on guitar or banjo, or by manually transposing on fiddle and mandolin), and then you will be covered for kicking off these songs in the key of A. In the key of A, these songs will start with an A chord and the first melody note of the first complete measure of the song will be a C#. Go yet another half step higher and you will be set for the key of Bb: F, Bb, C, leading into a D note, etc.
Have a happy New Year!
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Jason's Intermediate Jam Blog 2017 - 2018
started as Beginner Jam in Jan 2015
Songs regularly called at Bluegrass Jams and links from Jason's "Song of the Week" emails. (from Renee)
in alphabetical order