‘I’ve Been All Around This World’ + Clawhammer Banjo Tab

By Wayne Erbsen

Of all the many kinds of songs there are to sing, by far my favorites are what I call “real songs.” These were not written in an air conditioned office on the fourteenth floor by fancy pants professional songwriters. Instead, they were written about events that really happened, by real people who were there to witness it.

Judge Parker “I’ve Been All Around This World” could not be any more real if it tried. The outlaw captured in this song was reportedly hanged for murder in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in the 1870s. If this is true, the chances are

Read the rest

My Apple-Picking Gizmo and the Song ‘June Apple’ + Banjo Tab

By Wayne Erbsen

Why is it that when you drop a slice of bread that you’ve just slathered with peanut butter, it always lands peanut- butter-side down?  Maybe it’s the same cosmic forces at work that cause the best apples to be at the very top of the tree. That’s the predicament I found myself in yesterday as I contemplated how I was going to get some juicy apples down from 35 feet up a tree that was too skinny to climb.

IMG_2373

But wait! I’m getting ahead of myself. It all started this fall weekend when I was up at

Read the rest

Bigfoot’s Gone Away (+tab for banjo,fiddle & mandolin)

bigfoot Bigfoot. Sasquatch. Abominable Snowman. Whatever name you want to call him, this mythical creature has crept into our collective imaginations as far back as 1811. That year, just outside what is now the town of Jasper, Canada, a trader by the name of David Thompson discovered footprints in the snow that made him stop in his tracks. He swore that the impression left in the snow had four toes, was fourteen inches long and eight inches wide. Word quickly spread and imaginations ran wild about the existence of a huge hairy ape-like creature that walked upright on two legs. Of

Read the rest

Doc Watson’s ‘Your Lone Journey’ + tab for fiddle, mandolin & banjo

Doc Watson c 1969Whenever two old-time musicians get together to sing, there is one special song that is always held in high esteem: “Your Lone Journey.” I’d always heard that Doc Watson’s wife, Rosa Lee, wrote it, but often wondered about how she came to write it.

Recently, I asked my friend, David Holt, what he knew about the song. Of course, David and Doc played together for years.  Here’s how David explained the origins of the song:

Rosa Lee told me she was sweeping the house one day and thinking about people in her family who had passed on. She

Read the rest

Bluegrass vs Clawhammer Banjo + ‘Things in Life’ Tab

Don Stover on StageApproximately 99.99 {123c55bde288751f1d89d4e4c96fa768f85a2b1f393816eba7d3116d824c3a4b} of all banjo players fall squarely in one camp or the other: Clawhammer or bluegrass. It’s kind of like the Hatfields and the McCoys; you’re either with us, or you’re against us. This silly notion has lingered for too long. Let’s do our part in poking holes in this crazy idea by looking at the life of a renowned banjo player who played both styles extremely well: the late Don Stover.

Don grew up in the coalfields of West Virginia, and spent much of his teenage and young adult life working down in the mines. He originally

Read the rest

Bluegrass Banjo Lesson: Take Me Home, Country Roads

Howdy!

I remember back In the seventies and eighties, it was neigh on impossible to do a bluegrass show without performing “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” better known as just “Country Roads.” The audience would practically take us out to the nearest tree and hang us by our toes if we didn’t play it. And when we finally did play it, the audience would sing along, swaying back and forth and having a genuine feel-good “Kumbaya moment.”

John Denver“Country Roads” was actually written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert and John Denver, who was the first to record it in 1971. It

Read the rest

A Word About Free Mandolin Tabs

Howdy!

These free mandolin tabs are written out for you two ways, in standard musical notation, and also in a style of tab that I invented. Instead using numbers on the strings to represent the fret that you play, I put the name of the note.

This method does require you to learn the eight notes of the scale, and where to find them on your mandolin. This may seem like a “royal pain,” but trust me, this will give your music a Big Boost. You absolutely need to know the name of the note you’re playing, instead of just

Read the rest

A Word About the Free Bluegrass Guitar Tabs

Flatpicking Guitar for the Complete Ignoramus! instruction book by Wayne Erbsen

Howdy!

These free bluegrass guitar tabs are written out in my unique tab system that I invented after teaching guitar for fifty years. Instead using numbers on the strings to represent the fret that you play, I put the name of the note that you play on the string.

This method does require you to learn the names of the eight notes of the scale, and where to find them on your guitar. This may seem like a “royal pain,” but trust me, this will give your music a BIG BOOST.  You absolutely need to know the name of the

Read the rest