Schoolhouse

Lesson 6: Boil That Cabbage

Posted October 5, 2007

"Boil That Cabbage," an old square dance tune with dozens of disconnected nonsense verses, is a long time favorite of banjo pickers and fiddle players.  Today we look at a basic melody interpreted in three arrangements.  Think of this as three separate lessons: basic, intermediate, and advanced.  Enjoy!

 

Basic Melody

Here's a sketch of the vocal melody.  When I recorded the play along samples, I did not have the tab in front of me and I added a few extra 8th notes.  When I pick the double notes, I am using thumb and index. 

Play Along:    Tempo 80     Tempo 120     Tempo 100 cut time 

Level One Solo

Here we apply forward rolls to flow the melody into a LEVEL ONE bluegrass solo.  This version is similar, but slightly different, from the one appearing in my book, Bluegrass Banjo Level One. 

Play Along:    Tempo 80     Tempo 120     Tempo 100 cut time 

Level Two Solo: Up the Neck

Here we take it up the neck.    First exercise: master that G lick which happens three times.  Use the standard Em position at 8 and 9 with 4th finger reaching the 11.  On the final phrase, we use the double middle roll (MIMT).

Play Along:    Tempo 80     Tempo 120     Tempo 100 cut time 

Level Three Solo:  Melodic Variations

Assuming you are at ease with the previous two versions, it is time to add some spice!  One of my favorite little tricks on the G roll is the jump to 4th string 7 to get the A note between B and G.  This lick is not difficult once you are able to watch the left hand as you play.  Make this your first exercise.  On the second line, we have a melodic run across the C, G, and D7 chords.  This run is a perfect example of melodic style, where a scale passage replaces the usual roll patterns.  These two measures give an excellent preview of the challenges of tunes like "Devil's Dream" or "Sailor's Hornpipe."

Play Along:    Tempo 80     Tempo 120     Tempo 100 cut time 

These lessons are posted to help instructors and their students of various levels.  Some arrangements will be very basic while others are advanced, and then others like this one may include three levels.  Work at your own pace, absorb what you are ready for and save the rest for later.

I am presenting these lessons in response to questions emailed to me by visitors and topics of interest to my own students.  Thus, this is not structured in a linear way as an instruction course.  That is covered in my published materials.  Visit the "General Store" page for details.

Good Luck Pickin'!

Edward T Wing

Pick'n'Grin, Knoxville, Tennessee