G and D strings

G and D strings

Hi. Any recommendations for Banjo tunes with more emphasis in the lower strings (low G and D)

Re: G and D strings

Hi Hedtheball

I would firstly say that you don’t need to look for *banjo tunes* specifically – no traditional dance tune (jig, reel, hornpipe etc.) is unsuitable for the banjo.

For tunes that use the G string a lot (nearly all tunes use the D string), you could try:

Jigs
Brendan Tonra’s https://thesession.org/tunes/451
The Bush on the Hill https://thesession.org/tunes/1305#setting24012
Dancing Eyes https://thesession.org/tunes/2697
The Castle https://thesession.org/tunes/273

Reels
Paddy Fahey’s https://thesession.org/tunes/150
The Galway https://thesession.org/tunes/613
The Blockers (in D) https://thesession.org/tunes/274#setting274
The Farewell to Ireland https://thesession.org/tunes/33
The Lads of Laois https://thesession.org/tunes/58
The Cedars of Lebanon https://thesession.org/tunes/2268

Hornpipes
Cooley’s https://thesession.org/tunes/1052
The Fort of Kincora (in A) https://thesession.org/tunes/8152#setting42123

This is just a small sample – there are many more. Also, if you are feeling adventurous, there is nothing to stop you transposing tunes into lower keys to make more use of the G string.

Re: G and D strings

Thanks very much for that CreadurMawnOrganig! Appreciate it.

Re: G and D strings

CMO already covered many of them, but I could add -
Reels
Master Crowley’s [D min [dorian] not E!
Paddy Faheys - here’s the problem I have no idea what PF number it is! Its the one that uses the low A on the G string a lot.
Jig
Father O’ Hanley’s [G version]
H’pipes
The Home Ruler uses the low G string a fair bit.
If you wanted to stray out of strictly Irish trad, Billy in the Lowground [C] starts on the low G string.
Happy picking!

Re: G and D strings

Cheers Christy taylor.

Re: G and D strings

ps I think the Paddy Fahey Reel is referred to as number# 1

Re: G and D strings

Reel: Porthole of the Kelp

Posted by .

Re: G and D strings

Reels:
The Dingle Reel
Farewell to Miltown
The Jug of Punch
Lizzie in the Lowground
The Belles of St. Louis
Farewell to London

Hornpipe:
Paddy Fahey’s

Re: G and D strings

As CMO suggests, transposing tunes into the lower octave is great fun and good practice for the fingering which will also help when playing in other keys too..

The "Jar of Slugs" is a great tune for this. https://thesession.org/tunes/35
In fact, I actually played it in the lower octave when I first learned it by year many years ago. That was before I knew about "the dots". 😉

Re: G and D strings

"As CMO suggests, transposing tunes into the lower octave is great fun and good practice for the fingering which will also help when playing in other keys too.."

I suggested transposing into lower *keys*, but yes, shifting tunes (or parts thereof, where the range allows) down a whole octave is good too – and also keeps the tune session-friendly, where changing the key might not.

Re: G and D strings

John J:
"I first learned it by year many years ago"

Is that a typo, John?

Surely you meant "many ears ago".
Marvellous what surgeons can do these days.

Miss Lyall is a good one.

And any number of pipe tunes, like all of them, fit wholly down an octave on the G & D if you don’t mind using your little finger on the 7th fret.

Others to give your bottom strings a good workout:
Cape Breton Fiddlers Welcome To Shetland
Big John MacNeil
Tam Dhu, the dearly beloved Glasgow Reel
Donald Ian Rankin
Dr Morrison’s 7 Thistles
Graham Townsend’s Pat d Budgie, and Rocking Chair

Posted by .

Re: G and D strings

The Green Fields of Glentown by Tommy Peoples is another option, a great tune…

Re: G and D strings

Reels:
Paddy Ryan’s Dream
The Dawn

Hornpipes:
Kitty’s Wedding (goes great with the Home Ruler)

And I agree that playing tunes an octave lower is nice sounding, while “doubling” the higher octave. It’s also worth playing a fifth lower, down one string on the banjo, mando or fiddle is great fun. The lower pitch has a nice growl, but best of all it drives the pipers crazy! Box and ‘tina can often make the changes down a fifth pretty easily but whistle, flute and pipes have to jump up an octave for the notes on the G string. Not hard at all for many, but a mental exercise for some.

Re: G and D strings

Correction above, the Glasgow Reel is Tam Lin.
Tamdhu is another cratur altogether.

Posted by .

Re: G and D strings

Reels:

Beare Island
Martin Wynne’s No. 2