Bluegrass Banjo Sheldon Friesen

Banjo lessons, teacher, performer – Vancouver / Surrey, BC

Old Joe Clark Sound File


I’ve heard banjo players tell me that they can play Old Joe Clark just fine at home but, when it comes to playing it at a jam, well it just doesn’t hold together.

What is it about this old fiddle tune that messes up so many banjo pickers?

Old Joe Clark has a unique melody line in the ‘A’ part that defines it. The problem is that this melody line emphasizes beats most banjo players are not comfortable with.

I’ve recorded a break for you to listen to. Listen for the melody line in the ‘A’ part and listen for the metronome in the background. Notice where the melody notes fall. If you have trouble hearing the metronome all the time, tap your foot to help you identify where the beats are.

This should help you get that Old Joe Clark to behave himself at the next jam.

Once, you licked the ‘A’ part, I’m sure you’ll find the rest of the song easy to master since the melody adheres to a more normal meter.

Here’s the link to the sound file: Old Joe Clark.mp3

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