Lesson #056, Continuation of Vamping Discussion II

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #056, Continuation of Vamping Discussion II

Hi Everyone,

Vamping is going to be used mostly in your Backup. Backup to me means complimenting the musicians around you. You are trying to compliment any combination of singers and musicians at any given time, whether it is a band situation or a Jam situation. When you are playing in these situations, you will be spending most of your time using backup techniques. Most of your time will be trying to compliment the others around you. You want to try to make them sound as good as you can. The first and foremost in your backup is rhythm and timing.

Lets play this first vamping technique now through the eight measures of guitar track I put down for you. I would like you to play the Vamp on the off beats of 2 and 4 only. This will help you in the changing of your closed chords of G ,C and D within those eight measures.

Using this vamping technique is also going help tremendously in the changing of the three basic chord formations. Those being the 4th string formation, the 3rd string formation, and the 2nd string formation. We are going to use the three different chord formations throughout the eight measures and we are going to "group" these three basic chord formations closely together on the banjos neck for right now.

Lets start with the G chord with the 4th string formation, then the C chord with the 3rd string position.......remember we are associating the C chord now with the fretted note on the 3rd string. The fretted note on the third string at the fifth fret is C, so this 3rd string position(barre position) is giving us our C chord.

We are also going to use the D chord within the eight measures. We are going to use the 2nd string position for the D chord. The fretted note on the 2nd string at the third fret is D, this gives us our D chord using the second string position.

Let me say this about changing your full position chords. When switching between the 4th string positions and the 2nd string positions, leave your ring and pinky where they are. Switch only your middle and index fingers when changing these chord formations. It will help very in the speed of which you will be able to change between the 4th and 2nd string positions.


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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.