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Playing Since: 1975
LarryD1 has made 1 recent addition to Banjo Hangout
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Gibson Granada, Gibson RB 250 , Bart Reiter Regent
Flatt and Scruggs
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Last Visit 6/19/2013
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 @7:35:54 PM
Well I've been 3 finger banjo picking for about 35 years and plan to continue as long as I'm able, however, recently, I have gotten very much into claw-hammer. I just bought my first open back with a scooped neck. It's Bart Reiter Regent. I purchased it from a member up in Kentucky who advertised it on the Hangout classified ads.
I was interested in clawhammer once before after a trip to the Ozark Folk Center in Arkansas. That was back in the early 80's. I got to hear some good claw-hammer on that trip and even got to meet Louis(Grandpa ) Jones, and attend a jam session with some of his family members.
I bought a couple of books after that trip. Mel Bay's Frailing by Eric Muller and Barbara Koehler, it cost $5.95 at the time, so you can see I've had it a while. I also bought Mel Bay's Claw- Hammer Banjo Solos by Alec Slater, it was $4.95. I just couldn't get much out of either book at the time, but now , after twenty five years of technology, and resources like the Hangout and it's members, I'm making good use of these books, especailly the Eric Muller book.
My interest in clawhammer was renewed this March when I attended The Suwannee Banjo Camp in Florida. I went for 3 finger Bluegrass and had a great expereince getting to learn from and pick with Bill Keith, Bill Evans, Janet Davis, and others.
One thing that did surprise me, however, was the fact that there were a lot more open back banjos at the camp than bluegrass banjos. Those folks had come to learn from instructors like Ken Perlman, Bob Carlin, Chuck Levy. Mark Johnson, and others. I also learned that this was originally an Old -Time Banjo Camp and that this was only the third year( I think) that Bluegrass was being offered. I didn't attend any of the claw-hammer/Old-Time sessions, but I was exposed. The faculty concerts were fabulous by the instructors of both styles.
I'm still working hard to improve my 3 finger picking, but now I'm also working equally hard at clawhammer. Not only do I like the sound of the clawhammer banjo, I like the fact that it is good accompaniment for singing. I also play guitar and sing. Over the past 35 years, if I was going to be performing alone, I always took the guitar and used my banjo when playing with others. Now, I'm looking forward to doing more with just me and the banjo.
One of my Bluegrass friends said that it sounded like I was moving over to the dark side. The truth is, I love both styles . My plan to switch back and forth and continue to improve in both styles.
Thanks for all the help from you folks at the Hangout.
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