Jack Wilson

27 Feb

(click here for tab)

[gDGBD tuning]

Here’s another guest contribution to the site; this time from a fella by the name of Clay Black. I like his arrangement quite a bit and I think folks looking to get into the 2ftl style will find this one to be very friendly. I have say it’s thanks to generous folks like Clay and our previous contributors that this site is able to stay afloat when I get bogged down with my graduate studies (one more month!). Once again, I’ll let the arranger do the talking (thanks again, Clay):


I did some thumb picking workshops at the Florida Folk Festival a while back.   Here is one of the tabs I passed out.   Jack Wilson is a Kentucky tune normally played in D with the banjo tuned aDADE but it just sort of falls into place in thumb picking as an open G (gDGBD) or A (aEAC#E) piece.  Nothing fancy here but beginners can learn this version in about 5 minutes so it’s great workshop material.  It’s easy enough on the fiddle in these keys too.

This tune is usually credited to fiddler John Salyer and banjoist Claude Helton based on their 1941 home recording but it appears to have been relatively common in the Magoffin County, Kentucky area.  J.M. Mullins recorded a banjo tune of the same name for Alan Lomax and the Library of Congress in 1937, four years before the Salyer/Helton recording, and I’ve heard that early recording artist Buell Kazee, also a Magoffin County native, played it on banjo and sang verses. ”


One Response to “Jack Wilson”

  1. LG Whittaker 10/13/2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Another great way to play Jack Wilson thumb lead style is in Old G fDGCD also know as one of the Cumberland gap tuning.

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