In this video, Hilarie Burhans of Athens, Ohio teaches the tune “Liza Jane” on clawhammer banjo. This is a fairly standard “festival” version of the tune, and one that she’s been playing for more than 40 years. The lesson is suitable for beginners who are familiar with the basics, and gives the learner a chance to practice skills including hammer on, pull off, and slide. Hilarie’s down-home, relaxed instructional style is known to thousands of aspiring banjo players through her YouTube channel. These days, you can find all her new videos on her Patreon site.
Here’s the structure of the ubiquitous tune “Liza Jane.” Remember that each bar (measure) contains two “bum ditties” or their equivalent. Tune your banjo in the key of G (gDGBD), then put a capo at the 2nd fret, and tune the 5th string up to A to play in the key of A.
You’ll play the same chord shapes that you’d use in G tuning:
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|In the key of G:||In the key of A:|
|The I chord is G||The I chord is A|
|The IV chord is C||The IV chord is D|
|The V chord is D||The V chord is E|
|The VI minor chord is Em||The VI minor chord is F#m|
Some guitar players will capo up to A and play G chord shapes too, while others will just play in A without a capo. Also, in the 4th bar of the B part, some people might prefer a IV chord rather than the VIm.