More about Pike County Breakdown
Writers Charles Wolfe and Neil Rosenberg quote Bill Monroe in their book "In Bluegrass 1950-1955": "I wanted to write and title something after something in the eastern part of Kentucky. Rupert Jones is credited with the tune, although it is sometimes credited to Bill Monroe or Jones & Monroe. On October 20, 1950, under a serious hurricane alert in the studio of WDAE, Flatt, and Scruggs sliced "Pike County Breakdown." I listened and recorded the Breakdown of the Pike Valley. "You know Sweet Betsy from the Pike? "Pike County Breakdown" is a song which Flatt and Scruggs would also have performed as part of Monroe's Bluegrass Boys and is best described as a supercharged version of the standard "Sweet Betsy from Pike" ballad. While Monroe would record the song, soon afterward, the Flatt and Scruggs edit is widely regarded as the final cut. The tune was released twice in 1952 and distributed on single albums, once by Bill Monroe and again by Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys (Mercury Albums 6396) in May of that year.
Here on Tunefox you’ll find 3 versions of Pike County Breakdown for banjo. The Scruggs style tablature will teach you how to play slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs. In the melodic arrangement of Pike County Breakdown, you’ll learn some fancy up-the-neck melodic work. The third variation of this song is a forward roll based-backup arrangement.
Each Tunefox arrangement teaches you how to create your own solos by using a feature called the Lick Switcher. The Lick Switcher features different style licks such as Scruggs, Melodic, or Bluesy and you can swap out measures in Pike County Breakdown to learn about improvisation and creating arrangements. To use the Lick Switcher, click on the text "Original Measure" above certain measures in the song. Then select the lick you'd like to insert into the song. You can also click on "Shuffle Licks" at the bottom of the page to see a fully new version of the tablature.
Tunefox also features useful tools that will help you learn this arrangement of Pike County Breakdown. If you select the "Tools" option in the bottom bar you’ll see "Hide Notes", "Memory Train", and "Speed Up" features. Hide notes will help you train your ears by hiding some of the notes on the page for you to figure out as opposed to looking at the tab. "Memory Train" will help you retain the melody of the song by gradually hiding notes so you can rely on your ears more for memorization. Finally, the "Speed Up" tool will automatically increase the playback speed each time a measure or the song loops.
Use the Tunefox backing tracks to practice the solo you’re working on or improvising over the chord changes for Pike County Breakdown. The backing tracks are recorded samples of real instruments to help simulate practicing with an actual band. You can adjust the volume of the instrument, band, and metronome to your liking.
When you’ve finished creating your arrangement of Pike County Breakdown, export your song arrangement to PDF file. This feature is for members of Tunefox, only.