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Location: Shortcut to Homepage /Sheet music/Bluegrass Banjo & Other Styles/BANJO SIGNAL ARRANGED BY DAVID COTTON.

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The Home of the Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar and Kindred Instruments


By Don Remo arranged by David Cotton

Banjo Signal is a classic bluegrass tune penned by Don Reno (1927-1984).  Reno was born in South Carolina and began playing banjo at the age of five.  By 12 he was performing on local radio. He turned down an offer from Bill Monroe to join the Bluegrass Boys while still in his teens and joined the army instead. He was the first exponent of what has become known as 'single string' style, alternating the thumb and index finger as if playing downstrokes and upstrokes with a plectrum, which allowed him to play note for note fiddle tunes. Whilst modern banjoists treat the fifth string as another fretted string, players in Reno's time still used it as a drone and so it it is unusual to see such extensive use of a fretted fifth.  At various points, the fifth string becomes the main melody string.  The arrangement here is based loosely on the playing of Bela Fleck, a technical genius who is equally at home in any style and at both ends of the banjo neck.  It's not an easy arrangement and requires left and right hand dexterity, Once you get the hang of the use of the fifth string as a melody string, you'll easily find your own variations on the simple melody.  I haven't included chord names here, because Reno generally used a capo at the second fret and played it in A, but many banjoists play without the capo in they key of G to use the richer bass notes and to have more banjo beck to play with.  It's essentially a three chord tune and any self-respecting guitarist will pick up the sequence in seconds.  But can they match you for speed?


See and hear 'Banjo Signal' being played click here

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