17 steps to Play Darlin' Corey on clawhammer banjo

Updated: Nov 30, 2019

We are thrilled that Dan Levenson's review of Frank's album GOURD HEAD was included in the July 2019 edition of Banjo Newsletter!
















Frank's arrangement is inspired by "Darling Cora" by B.F. Shelton, as heard on track 12 of the Music of Kentucky: Early American Rural Classics album. (We love this album! It's a goldmine of good stuff!).


Dan's review of Frank's recording includes tabs for how Frank plays "Darlin' Corey".


If you're anything like me, learning from tabs can be confusing, lonely, and not always productive.

Since we instead want you to find happiness and joy with banjo playing, I thought I'd take a minute to break the song down measure by measure with videos!


First, here's the song in modal tuning (gDGCD) played somewhat slowly.



Now let's break it down one measure at a time.


This arrangement is characterized by syncopation, which we create by adding rests and also dropping our thumb down to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strings.


(Not-so-confident in using your thumb to create syncopation? Click here for a free exercise from Frank.)


Each measure has 8 counts. I'll give you directions for each count. You gotta promise to click on the video and watch it, though. The directions will not make sense otherwise!


You can slow these YouTube vids down also. Here's a pic to show you how.



Measure 1

This is the "pick-up" measure.

1. Play 3rd string open with your finger.

2. Hammer on the 2nd fret. Keep your left hand finger on that string.

3. Where you'd usually strum, rest instead.

4. Drop your thumb down to the 2nd string open.

5. Rest again.

6. Drop your thumb to the 3rd string, still fretted at the 2nd fret.

7 & 8. Play 2nd string open.








Measure 2

1 & 2. Play 1st string open with your finger.

3. Rest

4. Drop your thumb down and play the 1st string.

5. Rest

6. Drop your thumb down to the 2nd string.

7. Play 1st string open with your finger.

8. Play 5th string with your thumb (like normal).








Measure 3

1. Hold the 1st string, 2nd fret and play the 1st string with your right hand finger.

2. Slide left hand finger to the 3rd fret.

3. Keep your left hand finger on 3rd fret and brush with your right hand finger.

4. Thumb plays 5th string (like normal).

5. Play 1st string open with your finger.

6. Thumb plays 5th string (like normal).

7. 2nd string open with your finger.

8. Rest








Measure 4

1 & 2 . Hold the 3rd string, 2nd fret with your left hand finger and play the 3rd string with your right hand finger.

3 & 4. Play the 2nd string with your right hand finger.

5 & 6. Play the 1st string with your right hand finger.

7. Rest

8. Drop your thumb down and play the 1st string.








Measure 5

1. Rest

2. Rest

3. Play 2nd string with your right hand finger.

4. Play 5th string with your thumb (like normal).

5. Hold the 3rd string, 2nd fret with your left hand finger. Play 3rd string with your finger.

6. Play 5th string with your thumb (like normal).

7 & 8. Play 2nd string open with your right hand finger.








Measure 6

1 & 2. Play 1st string with right hand finger.

3. Hold 1st string at the 2nd fret and play 1st string.

4. Pull off

5. Rest

6. Drop your thumb down to the 2nd string and play it

7. Brush with your finger

8. Thumb plays 5th string (like normal).








Measure 7

1 & 2. Hold 3rd string at the 2nd fret. Play 3rd string with right hand finger.

3 & 4. Play 2nd string open.

5. Hold 3rd string at the 2nd fret and play it with your finger.

6. Pull off

7. Hold 4th string at the 2nd fret. Play 4th string with right hand finger.

8. Slide left hand finger on the 4th string to 3rd fret.







Are you doing ok with this lesson?


Just a quick side note that I'd love to give you three songs Frank & I have recorded. Here's how you get them --->


Ok, now back to the Banjo Bizness!


Measure 8

1 & 2. Play 4th string open.

3. Rest

4. Drop your thumb down to the first string and play it.

5. Rest

6. Hold the 3rd string at the 2nd fret and play it with your right hand thumb.

7. Play 2nd string open.

8. Thumb plays 5th string (like normal).








Measure 9

1 & 2. Play 4th string.

3. Hold 3rd string, 2nd fret and brush with left hand finger.

4. Thumb plays 5th string (like normal).

5 & 6. Play 4th string.

7. Hold 3rd string, 2nd fret and brush with left hand finger.

8. Thumb plays 5th string (like normal).










Measure 10

This one's my favorite!

1 & 2. Hold 4th string, 3rd fret and play 4th string with right hand finger.

3 & 4. Play 3rd string open.

5 & 6. Hold 4th string, 3rd fret and play 4th string with right hand finger.

7 & 8. Play 3rd string open.








Measure 11

1. Hold 4th string at the 3rd fret and play 4th string with right hand finger.

2. Pull off

3. Rest

4. Hold the 4th string at the 3rd fret again. Drop your thumb down to the 4th string and play it.

5. Rest

6. Drop your thumb down to the 3rd string and play it.

7. Brush with right hand finger.

8. Thumb plays 5th string (like normal).








Measure 12

1. Play 3rd string open.

2. Hammer on the 3rd string at the second fret.

3. Rest

4. Thumb plays 5th string (like normal).

5 & 6. Play 2nd string with right hand finger.

7. Play 1st string with right hand finger.

8. Drop thumb down to 2nd string.








Measure 13

Almost there! You can do it!

1. Play 3rd string open.

2. Hammer on the 3rd string, 2nd fret.

3. Rest

4. Drop your thumb down to the 2nd string and play it.

5. Rest

6. Hold 3rd string at the 2nd fret and play it with your right hand thumb.

7 & 8. Play 2nd string open.








Measure 14

1 & 2. 1st string open with your right hand finger.

3. Hold 1st string at the 2nd fret and play 1st string with your right hand finger.

4. Pull off with left hand finger.

5. Rest

6. Drop your thumb to the 2nd string.

7. Brush with your right hand finger.

8. Thumb plays 5th string (like normal).










Measure 15

1 & 2. Hold 3rd string at 2nd fret and play with right hand finger.

3. 2nd string open with your right hand finger.

4. Thumb plays 5th string (like normal).

5. You're still holding your finger on the 3rd string 2nd fret. Play 3rd string with right hand finger.

6. Pull off with left hand finger.

7. Hold 4th string 2nd fret with left hand finger.

8. Slide left hand finger to 3rd fret.










Measures 16 & 17

This is the end!!

1 & 2. 4th string with right hand finger

3. Rest

4. Drop your thumb to the 1st string.

5. Rest

6. Drop your thumb to the 2nd string.

7 & 8. Hold 4th string at the 3rd fret and play with your right hand finger.


1. Play 4th string with confidence to end!






Shoo! Did you make it through all that?


Write a comment to let us know you held your banjo and gave this try, and we'll be happy to deliver Frank's recording of "Darlin' Corey" from his album GOURD HEAD - as well as the complete tabs for this piece - to your inbox, free of charge.


Want more funky-sounding banjo songs and tunes? Frank has an instructional series called "Funky Frailing" that we produced a couple years back. Each of the 6 lessons (sold separately or as a bundle) includes an instructional video with Frank talking and describing the steps as well as hand-written tabs.


And if you get stuck, we're just a website chat message, email, Facebook message, phone call, or snail-mail letter away!


Meanwhile, was this multi-video, multi-step format helpful for you? It's my first time trying an instructional blog post. Let me know what you think!


PS - I'm playing a banjo built by Dean Robinson (Bryson City, NC) in these videos. Read more about Dean in my first blog post!



Allie Lee is 1/2 of Frank & Allie Lee and 1/4 of The Freight Hoppers. She teaches Wernick Method Bluegrass Jam classes and camps and manages social media for those three businesses. She's a former 7th grade Language Arts teacher who always had a love/hate relationship with writing but a great love of grammar. She lives with husband Frank Lee in Bryson City, NC with their step-daughter and herd of rescued indoor/outdoor cats. www.frankandallie.com

www.thefreighthoppers.com

www.banjofiddlefrolic.com

www.letspick.org


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About

Contact

Frank & Allie Lee

PO Box 175

Bryson City, NC 28713

828-736-2011

Booking Inquiries for Frank  & Allie, The Freight Hoppers, and The Smoky Mountaineers

booking@frankandallie.com

General:

frankandalliemusic@gmail.com

Banjo Fiddle Frolic:

banjofiddlefrolic@gmail.com

Frank and Allie Lee are vocal-driven old time and folk music performers based in Bryson City, North Carolina. Live music to make you happy with banjos, guitars, fiddle, harmonica, and singing. Performing throughout the United States and in Canada. Core duo of popular string band The Freight Hoppers. Makers of screen printed t-shirts, hosts of the Banjo-Fiddle Frolic, DIYers, parents, and cat lovers.

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