"Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" is a folk song written in 1880 and in this lesson Mike will break the basic rhythm of the tune down for you in the key of G. This is a typical key to play the tune at a jam to accommodate a lower voice like that of a male singer.
- Alright, it's been a while since I've been in the Napa studios, it's great to be back here. I'm Mike Marshall. And I thought I'd take this time to show some nice, easygoing tunes for just strumming open chords. We're gonna expand the library of material available to you guys so you have a nice collection of things to work with. There's so many hundreds of these great old folk songs and bluegrass tunes that were great with just a mandolin and a voice, so this'll give you a little chance to have a little bit of variety.
At the most basic level, we're just working with G, C and D. Open chords. There's your G chord. With the second fret B note on the A string and the third fret G note on the E string. And you simply move it over to the C chord, the middle two strings is a C chord. And your open D chord, with the second fret on the low string and the second fret on the high string.
We're just gonna work with those three chords. You've probably already learned them on some of the other tunes. Here we go with "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane." ♫ Hand me down my walking cane ♫ Hand me down my walking cane ♫ Hand me down my walking cane ♫ Gonna leave on the morning train ♫ My sins, they have overtaken me So that's about it.
You got G...my walking cane. I love to learn these songs and I love to, rather than count bars or count how long I stay on each chord, I think about the words to the song and I change the chord on the word. That's how I learned to do a lot of this music as a kid. ♫ Hand me down my walking cane ♫ Hand me down So on the word down, you go to a D chord, D, D, D.
♫ Hand me down my walking cane On the word cane, you go back to the G. ♫ Hand me down On that down, we go to the C chord. ♫ Down my walking cane ♫ I'm gonna leave On the word leave, we go back to the G. ♫ Leave on the morning train ♫ My sins they have over Over is the D. ♫ Overtaken me When we go back to the word me, we're going back to the G chord.
So that's just a nice simple way if you have the lyrics laid out and you just mark the chords over the words, we'll do that, we'll provide that in the study materials of course. It's a great way, you know, if you don't read music or you don't want to think about oh, three bars of this chord and then only two bars of that chord, simply change on the word. That's the way a lot of this music is actually passed down. So.
The strumming pattern I'm using is the same one we're using for a lot of the simple two-beat bluegrass tunes we teach. (strumming) I'm kind of hitting the low strings, the low G string. And then I'm doing a down, up on the upper strings. (strumming) Sometimes, rather than boom, chucka, boom, chucka, it's simply boom, chuck, boom, chuck.
And you can vary that. Boom chuck, boom chucka, boom chuck, boom chucka. It's a great little pattern to set up. Works fine for this tune, works for hundreds of tunes, right? The other thing you can do is begin to pick out individual strings, sort of taking it up to the next level here. You can hit the low string and do your chucka and then your third string. And the chucka after that. So you get this kind of, I call it guitar-style mandolin strumming.
That's what guitar players do, is they play the bass notes for us. And then they strum the upper notes of the chord. (strumming) ♫ Hand me down my walking cane ♫ Hand me down my walking cane Et cetera. So that's a nice way to play it.
Especially, these open chords are really good for if you're just singing and playing the mandolin alone. Because it has that nice ringing quality that fills out the sustain of the sound of the chords and fills out the time in between. As we get into playing with guitars and with bluegrass bands we go to more of the chop chords which is more of an advanced way of playing rhythm. But for now we're gonna leave it right there with "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane." Simple, open chord strumming.
Hope you enjoyed this one. More to come later.
Note: This course is one of a 4-part series created and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Sitting and standing with the mandolin
- Tuning a mandolin
- Positioning the right and left hands
- Strumming open chords
- Playing two-finger chords and melodies
- Playing beginner mandolin tunes
- Finding minor and moveable chords
- Playing 7th chords
- Playing chop chords
- Picking on the mandolin