July-August 2012

Hobart Smith’s Chinquapin Pie

Clawhammer Lesson

By David Bragger

Hobart_Smith_2As we all know many wonderful things come in 3s!! The last two installments of the Old Time Bang House have featured clawhammer banjo lessons of two prized Hobart Smith tunes Last Chance and Pateroller Song. This month, we’re exploring a third classic Hobart tune: Chinquapin Pie. It is tuned in G modal tuning just as Pateroller Song was from last month. Like many of his tunes, it’s very up-tempo and driving. Again, I believe certain characteristics of his playing often get lost in translation. Speed, clarity, and playing over the banjo head (not the scoop) are ideal for capturing a large part of his sound. Throw in some rapid pull-offs, drop-thumbs and left-handed plucks and you’re on your way to the land of Hobart! So this marks the end of the first Hobart Smith trilogy of banjo tunes. Enjoy this nice chunky slice of Chinquapin Pie, all you banjo pluckers!!

Chinnquapin Pie—Clawhammer Banjo Lesson

David Bragger is a Los Angeles-based instructor and player of old time fiddle and banjo music. He also photographs, films, and collects the lore of traditional artists, from puppeteers in Myanmar to fiddlers of Appalachia www.myspace.com/davidbragger


All Columns by David Bragger