Lesson #055, Continuation of Vamping Discussion I

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #055, Continuation of Vamping Discussion I

Hi Everyone,

First let me say that when you are doing these vamping techniques, that your fingers are not coming off the strings. Your fingers remain on the strings.

Vamping occurs when we deaden the strings. Thats how we are creating the percussive sound, by deadening the strings. This first method of deadening the strings comes from lifting our left hand positions slightly off the fingerboard. Let me say again that our fingers are not coming off the strings.

The first example comes from forming a 4th string position closed chord. Remember that when using this formation we are associating whatever chord we want to play with the fretted note on the 4th string(or the first string) because the 4th and 1st strings are the same note in this open G tuning, they are just an octave apart in pitch. Going back to the lesson of naming notes on the fingerboard we know that the note fretted on the 4th string at the fifth fret is a G note, so playing this formation gives us a G chord.

Playing the rhythm pattern as in the video gives us our count of 4. Remember we are concentrating on the 4/4 time signature. We are using 1/4 notes to start this example out. thumb, pinch, thumb, pinch. Thumb 1, pinch 2, thumb 3, pinch 4. That is our count of 4.

Now when we play our Vamp using the pinch, it creates the percussive sound. That sound can now be considered an 1/8 note count. The sound of the initial pinch also has the count of an 1/8 note. Remember going back to the counting series that an 1/8 note has 1/2 beat associated with it. Two 1/2 beats make 1 beat.

We can now count this rhythm pattern like this using this first vamping technique. 1 2and 3 4and............... remember the intial sound of the pinch is 2 and the sound right after it by raising our fingers off the fingerboard is "and".

Remember........ the combination of pinch/vamp is starting on the off beats of 2 and 4.

Rock On,


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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 Musicmoose.org. His video hosting site revver.com was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. Revver.com stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, Musicmoose.org 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.