Bluegrass Banjo Sheldon Friesen

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

High On A Mountain Tablature


In this post I want to deal with a topic that many banjo players resist. Playing in the ‘Key of D’.

All right, all right now, pipe down! It’s not that bad. I know your banjo is tuned to ‘G’. I know every song written should be played in ‘G’. I know ‘G’ is God’s key signature. Well, that’s going a bit far but I really do understand.

Nevertheless, we banjer pickers will need to play in ‘D’ from time to time.

You have a couple of options. You can retune your banjo and learn to play in a new tuning. I personally try to stay away from this option because it really is a nuisance in a jam or concert setting.

You can’t really capo up to the seventh fret and still sound respectable so you are often left with playing out of a ‘D’ position. I generally capo my fifth string up 2 when playing in ‘D’. This brings the fifth string up to an ‘A’ which works really well in a ‘D’ key signature.

Ok, here’s the tab.

This break of ‘High On A Mountain’ has some really nice highs to catch the soaring melody line. It also makes good use of the open forth string to give it that deep old-timey sound that a song like this cries out for.

With a little work, you’ll be feeling like your playing up in –

“Them Thar Hill”


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