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Author Topic: Banjo players, Talk to me.  (Read 19144 times)

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Offline David M.

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #50 on: Nov 17, 2008, 07:06:59 PM »
Hey, Mornin'.  Just now looking at this thread.  lots of info/advice.

a few months ago I bought an OLD vega openback 4 string banjo.  paid about $300 for it w/orig. hard case.  it's cool.

I play it like a fiddle.  that is, I have it tuned in 5th, crossed tuned at this time.  I can play the tunes I play on my cross tuned fiddles, which is fun and some good modal stuff.  same as mando except the stretch is greater and you really need to use the pinky and some quick shifts alot.  Right now the tuning is in CGCG.  Fun stuff.

Offline patheslip

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #51 on: Dec 02, 2008, 08:40:10 AM »
(tried to delete but don't know how)

Offline patheslip

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #52 on: Dec 02, 2008, 08:46:08 AM »
There are some good banjo players, somewhere, I'm sure, but my heart sinks anytime anyone brings one out at a local session.  If they take the lead on a tune then no one else knows what it is, if they join in with someone else then no one else can hear the lead.  They even appear to have some sort of herd behaviour, congregating in clumps from time to time.  Everyone else leaves with his or her ears ringing (and hands wringing).  

I like what is written above about muting it down.  There's a really good instrument in there somewhere.
And please don't take offence.  I'm sure non of you are like that.

Offline feodosia

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #53 on: Dec 04, 2008, 03:29:23 PM »
There are some good banjo players, somewhere, I'm sure, but my heart sinks anytime anyone brings one out at a local session.  If they take the lead on a tune then no one else knows what it is, if they join in with someone else then no one else can hear the lead.  They even appear to have some sort of herd behaviour, congregating in clumps from time to time.  Everyone else leaves with his or her ears ringing (and hands wringing).  

I like what is written above about muting it down.  There's a really good instrument in there somewhere.
And please don't take offence.  I'm sure non of you are like that.

  There's alot of truth in there ....  even as a banjo player myself , usually the things that will drive me out of a jam is the appearance of an accordian , or another banjo that has a resonator and played very loud.

In southern oldtime USA fiddling the problem has been well noted and dealt with ...the fiddler is considered lead , with banjo in support... most often open-backed banjos are used and the banjo players will even carry alittle stuffing to stick inside their banjo to keep their sound level under the fiddle ....  In bluegrass or Irish circles louder banjos are more often used and the banjo loudness problem can become everyone's problem .

When I bring a banjo , at the beginning of the jam I flat out tell the other players to let me know if my banjo gets too loud and I'll adjust it .
Sadly , alot of banjo players have no idea how their playing is affecting others.

  When properly used the banjo and guitar are the two best instruments for a fiddler to play alongside IMHO ...

Offline Luther

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #54 on: Dec 05, 2008, 09:34:21 PM »
Yep, banjos and fiddles go together like peas and carrots.

Offline frodopogo

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #55 on: Dec 06, 2008, 08:30:22 AM »
There are some good banjo players, somewhere, I'm sure, but my heart sinks anytime anyone brings one out at a local session.  If they take the lead on a tune then no one else knows what it is, if they join in with someone else then no one else can hear the lead.  They even appear to have some sort of herd behaviour, congregating in clumps from time to time.  Everyone else leaves with his or her ears ringing (and hands wringing).  

I like what is written above about muting it down.  There's a really good instrument in there somewhere.
And please don't take offence.  I'm sure non of you are like that.

One essential problem with the banjo is this:
the things are VERY directional- they push sound straight out the front,
and the player can actually hear very little of what sound is being produced, so they think they are being drowned out, when in fact they
are drowning others out!

Offline Lyn

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #56 on: Dec 12, 2008, 11:25:57 AM »
why did I start reading this thread?? I have NO intentions of ever playing the banjo - maybe a mandolin if I ever have the time. But WHAT a corker of a thread - I have learned so much.  First, to you, Morning, had no idea of your illness but pleased you have made it through and doing fine - love the Lakshmi image - how positive is that!

I had the natural reserve one has after being ina room with 10 guys on resonator banjos (not that I knew what they were called) all playing fast and furrious - it was definately a macho thing with them. Met a guy here a few months ago who plays clawhammer - wow!Total change, mellow, melodic, lovely. He wants to play old time with a couple of fiddlers - including me!
Last night we had a concert 'starring' Adam Hurt, who played banjo and fiddle - he was over here to do a few banjo workshops, and a fiddle workshop tomorrow which I'm going to. Should be good.
Thanks for the thread and all the info, guys, this is so interesting.

Offline patheslip

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #57 on: Dec 13, 2008, 08:35:32 PM »
On Tuesday I went to a session at the Green Dragon, Bishop's Frome.  Great black and white pub with prize winning beer.  There was a banjo player who didn't drown out everyone else (Bob Dovey).  Well done Bob.

I apologise to you all.  Now I know it can be done. :D :D :D
« Last Edit: Dec 13, 2008, 08:45:43 PM by patheslip »

Offline Lyn

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #58 on: Dec 15, 2008, 10:57:40 AM »
Well, despite roaring chest infection and asthma flare-up, I made it to Adam Hurt's fiddle workshop - and SO pleased I went. The range of the other fiddlers was 25 years, 15 years, 10 years and 4 years, so my 2 years at the fiddle was somewhat overwhelmed; however, I just about managed to keep up, though learning a new tune AND a very new bowing pattern simultaneously was a bit like the old 'rubbing your tummy and patting your head' kind of thing. I got most of it recorded, with some very full 'walk throughs' by Adam. He's a great teacher. I'm now veering off towards Old Time again - oh so much to choose from, isn't there, with this music thing. But I do want to learn some OT so I can play with our new friend John , the banjo man.

Offline catty

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #59 on: Aug 17, 2010, 02:31:57 AM »
I guess there isn't much interest in banjo around here.  :-\

Just wanted to go on record as being a player--both 4 & 5 string.  Being an American, I've come to have more appreciation of the instrument recently.  It is, after all, indigenous to the U.S. (in its modern incarnation, and considering that much old-time American music derives from Scots-Irish and African origin).  When I play a variety of instruments for folks, they usually request more banjo--I think this has to do with its upbeat, bright, plunky and kinetic sound.

And the tenor banjo is quite a versatile instrument (don't forget, it's 5ths-tuned like a fiddle)--I play jazz and pop standards from the 20s, 30s, 40s--Gershwin, Porter, Rogers, Kern; fiddle rags; Irish; and ragtime like Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin.  It's a most excellent performing instrument--loud, clear, rhythmic...

Hope you folks are still playin!
« Last Edit: Aug 18, 2010, 01:33:17 AM by catty »

Offline chaoscat

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #60 on: Sep 24, 2010, 10:25:44 PM »
If you're looking for banjo related information, forums, lessons, pretty much ANYTHING Banjo  Banjohangout.com is your place

Most fiddlers think banjo's and banjo players are necessary evils - like penicillin.

Last time I was in Ireland, I saw signs on some of the pub doors at sessions that said,

 NO BANJO.   Silly me, I first thought that was the name of a group, not a keep out sign.

Offline frodopogo

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #61 on: Sep 27, 2010, 06:48:33 AM »
The fingernail thing might be a deal-breaker for me.  I'm a reformed nail-biter, and I have to keep my nails very short to prevent relapses.  Can I wear just one finger pick?


Yes, one fingerpick will do.

I've used two different ones that I like- not just any backwards fingerpick will do.... the angle of attack is such that it puts more stress on the fingerpick and they wiggle loose, also, not all give the right tone.

The kind I'm using most is an Ernie Ball Picky Pick, with the sharp point bent to tuck down under the fingernail (or what's left of it)
This puts the end of the pick at about the same place the end of the nail is, and this is important for feel, also less pick sticking out means less leverage acting on the pick, and therefore more stability on the finger.
Another thing I've done is use a cable tie (also known as a zip tie) to cinch the ends together that wrap around the finger, using the two holes near the end.... this gives a tighter more stable fit- leave the bump on the OUTSIDE and trim off the excess.

I think the other one I like is called the Kelly Freedom Pick.  They come in small, medium, and large, and you have to hope that your finger is a perfect fit for one of those sizes, because they don't have ANY give in them at all.
But they sound good, and are very stable.
My banjo student has one, and it's helped her a lot.

I think there's also one called the Perfection Pick.... it's made of brass, but it's VERY expensive for a single pick... the Kelly's and especially the Ernie Ball Picky Picks are much more reasonable.

Resonators are removable, but sometimes they have a flange, and if you remove the resonator the flange will dig into your leg.

Some people just stuff a rag or hand towel in the resonator,
others stick a large sponge between the rod and the underside of the head, to cut the ringiness.

Offline Emma

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Re: Banjo players, Talk to me.
« Reply #62 on: Sep 27, 2010, 01:15:06 PM »
Good lord, I'd forgotten all about this, that I did actually spend some time practicing banjo! 
I had to stop.  Fiddle is enough work for me, specially with lessons and a band to cope with.
I would like to get back to it some time though.
Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.
(Michael Pollan)

 




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