Lesson 56-and-a-half – Cripple Creek

This bonus lesson is not strictly an Irish tune. In fact, definitely not an Irish tune at all.

This is an Appalachian tune often associated with the five-string banjo in both the bluegrass and clawhammer styles.

Normally played in G, Tony’s arrangement for guitar is played in C shapes.

The normal tempo recording on the podcast has a capo on fret 4 and is taken from Tony’s CD An Sliabh Glas – The Green Mountain.

When Tony play bluegrass or old-timey tunes he uses a much heavier pick than when playing Irish music. Because there are no picked triplets used in this style of music you can use a less flexible and thicker pick which gives you more “attack” and the tone required for a bluegrass or old-timey sound.

Unlike Irish music played at sessions the guitar often will take a major leading role in bluegrass or old-timey music, and the heavier pick helps it to be heard. So Tony would use about a .88mm Tortex for American music as compared to a .50mm Tortex for Irish music.

In the sheet music (in Book 4) You'll  see a triplet at the end of bar 2. This triplet is to be picked thus:

1st note (open G) down

2nd note (A) slur (hammer on)

3rd note (open B) up stroke

Triplets in American music are slurred rather than picked. Make sure in the second part of the tune that you use correct picking directions, that is, down “on” the beat, up “off” the beat.

So the last two notes of bar 5 would be up (open D) and down (C).

Backup is the same as for a reel, that is a bass note followed by a chord.

Tony reminds listeners to focus on accuracy and let speed come later.

Chords are C, F, and G.

Gerry GaffneyLesson 56-and-a-half – Cripple Creek