Introduction to Train 45

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #026, Introduction to Train 45

Hi Everyone,

I Must say something before you start on Train 45 for all you beginners out there. As I look at my lessons and look at this tune, I feel now that this tune is really an Intermediate tune. I may have jumped the gun on this tune for all you beginners. I would rather you continue on with your lessons starting with the lesson right after this series on Train 45 (lesson 33) because the last thing I would want to do is discourage any of you out there learning the five string. I wanted to show the left hand techiques in combination with the right hand rolls but I didnt realize at the time that this tune is probably to hard to take on at this particular time in the learning process. So if you want to try it, you sure can, but I'd rather that you move on past this tune towards the other lessons before you try to tackle it. Thanks everyone and I surely hope these lessons are Helping.


Here's a rendition of the Bluegrass standard Train 45. This is a great Bluegrass tune that I've enjoyed jamming at festivals and have performed on stage several different times I'm sure. This will be the next tune I'm going to be teaching here on the Moose.

This tune definetly has "Drive". Drive is word used in Bluegrass to describe the feel of the tune. I likened it in the video to a freight train going down the tracks. To play with Drive doesn't mean you have to play the song fast. It means that the song is being played with momentum...... a solid forward momentum...... just like a freight train going down the tracks. The freight train has purpose and momentum getting to its destination, so you can think about that as you are learning this tune.

I usually play this tune in the key of B. For simplicity's sake I've kept it in the key of G. I will be talking about playing in different keys in the future. I've showed you my capo in this video as well. A capo is a device used to bar a fret to easily change keys without retuning or using different left hand positioning. It is used alot in Bluegrass so I would definetly suggest purchasing one for yourself.

Good Luck with Train 45 everyone and I hope you reach your destination in good time!


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In 2009, at the age of 60, I decided to learn to play the 5-string banjo. I searched the internet for lessons and struck gold when I found David Cavage's free banjo lessons at His video hosting site was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, is no more. I contacted David early 2020 and he told me he no longer had the original master videos and feared they may have been lost forever. This amazing course of free banjo lessons, from absolute beginner to advanced player, is too good to be forgotten, so this is my attempt to get David's work back out there again so that he can teach, inspire and spread the joy of banjo pickin' to more generations of budding musicians, just like he did with me. I've rounded up all the Moose stuff I could find and put it here, so start pickin' and enjoy!-------MooseHerder.