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  3. How to Play Foggy Mountain Special
  4. First Half of the First Break

First Half of the First Break

Here We Go!

Even though this is not a fast tune, there are still some significant challenges for us to overcome. This tune uses a lot of double thumb, and requires us to shift positions very quickly. Take advantage of the Tunefox tools to help you learn this one. The looper is an indispensable tool when learning a new tune. It helps us to focus and master one small piece at a time. We can conquer learning a new tune much like someone might build a new house: one brick at a time. In this case we work on one measure at a time. The tempo slider is another great feature that will help us practice at a speed we can manage.

Watch the demonstration video to see what fret hand fingers to use, and when the position shifts happen.

PICK HAND - We start off with double middle finger. Not that kind...The banjo picking kind. The 1st and 2nd finger pinch in measure 4 is the only technique we haven't seen in this lesson yet, but it shouldn't be much of a problem as long as you're playing at a speed you can manage.

FRET HAND - There's a lot of new challenges here. The position shift we see most, goes from the 12th fret to the 8th fret. Practice measure 3 by itself. If you can master that position shift, the others will seem come much easier. Reaching that 11th fret note may be tough. Watch the demonstration video to see how the angle of the hand will change when reaching for that note. There's another big pinky reach in measure 6. Again, watch the demonstration video to see the hand posture. Check out the ghost notes in measures 4-7! Add them if you have the technique down. If not, it'll still sound great with a standard double thumb note.

The fret hand fingers used here are ones that Earl used. If you'd rather shift and play the high notes with your 3rd finger in measure 6 that's fine. Ultimately it just needs to work, but you should try these first.

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Next up, we'll look at the second half of Earl's first break.