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Instrumental Workshops July/Sept 1997


The Gold Rush for Flatpick Guitar
Click for Oklahoma Run (Banjo)

By Chris Moreton

THIS IS ANOTHER REAL FAVOURITE at picking sessions and a beautiful fiddle tune. The first recorded version I heard was by Johnny Whisnant, with the tune re-titled Claim Jumper. Tony Rice also plays a super guitar version, with his brother Wyat playing backing guitar, on his album Church Street Blues.

Gold Rush is mostly played in A (for the fiddle) so my guitar arrangement is in standard G tuning without a capo - this allows use of the bottom E note that other bluegrass instruments can’t reach.

At the start of the Low A-part the tab shows a lead-in bar before the single eighth-note slide in bar 1 (counting the ‘lead-in’ bar as bar 0). All other slides, etc., consist of two separate eighth notes. Get into an A chord for the 5-note strums in bars 4, 12 and 24, and likewise in the high B-part.

The High A-part strums can be played out of this chord shape at the 9th to 12th frets, (Diagram to go in) using the index, middle, ring and pinky (little) fingers in the positions shown. Barré the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings at the 9th fret as an anchor point, using the index finger; the other fingers are then used to fret the associated melody notes.

An alternative last four bars (plus repeat) are included for the High B-Part. Allow the middle finger to stay on the 2nd string/10th fret as an anchor - there is no need to keep lifting it off. The Low A-part and High B-part will be included next time.

Chris Moreton, Usk


Oklahoma Run arranged for Banjo

By David Cotton

Oklahoma Run is a jolly old time tune also known as Old Purcell. Purcell is a town in Oklahoma. The “run” in the title was a run to claim land as Oklahoma became established as a state.

This piece will be found to be excellent exercise for both fingers and mind and practising picking other than straight 8-note Bluegrass rolls. It’s in the key of C major and note that the fourth string must be tuned down to C. The third and fourth bars give you a nice chance to try some single string picking, alternating your right thumb and index finger. I would tend to use my left little finger on the fourth string, 5th fret (G), then ring finger on the 4th fret and index on the 2nd fret, but do try out the run with different fingers and find out what suits you best.

In part 2, there’s a syncopated, vaguely rag-timey influence; playing along with a guitar will help with the timing. Note that the tie mark above the notes in the second bar means play and hold the notes for the duration of the tied notes. The fourth bar uses quavers and dotted crotchets. Hold the quaver for a count of “one” and the dotted crotchet for a count of “two - three - four”

David Cotton, Hale, Cheshire


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Updated 23rd Jan 1999