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 I want to better study Sonny Osborne

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A27StarWolf

United States
140 posts
since 8/10/12

08/12/2017 18:34:58 Reply with Quote

I've recently realized that I've not studied up much on the banjo playing works and styles of Sonny Osborne. Is there a definitive guide on where to start and everything I should listen to?


tkersey

United States
11 posts since 5/17/15

08/12/2017 19:37:54 Reply with Quote

He made an instructional DVD with Homespun Tapes.

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beegee

United States
20084 posts since 7/6/05

08/12/2017 19:39:53View beegee's MP3 Archive View beegee's Photo Albums View beegee's Blog Reply with Quote

Sonny's got a video, but his older instruction books are pretty strightforward Scruggs stuff. Problem is, Sonny is so creative and innovtive and imaginative it would be hard to capture that magic stuff he does. And although he has lots of signature licks he uses, I have never seen  a comprehensive collection of tabs that could do the job. Then there is the perspiration it takes to develop those licks. Sonny did a column for BNL years back and he explaines some stylistic stuff in there.Get a copy of Masters of the 5 String Banjo,, Sonny's old Mel Bay book and Neil Griffin's Sonny Osboren Mel Bay book. Again, tabs do not begin to do justice to the nuances and art that characterize sonny's playing. I have a pretty large collection of Osborne Brothers music and the full set of sonny's early works on the Gateway label. I try to do a lot of his stuff, but there ain't but one Sonny.

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Mark Cox

113 posts since 5/30/16

08/12/2017 22:27:56 Reply with Quote

You could ask him yourself. He is a member here on the hang out. He is The Chief! He tries to help anybody he can. Nobody better than him can point you in the right direction. But again as mentioned before, there's no way to really describe his playing. All I have ever heard him say about "his" styled is, " I just played what I felt".The best thing you can do is listen to all the Osborne Brothers music you can possibly listen to. And there is a lot of it so that should keep you busy for a while


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overhere

2395 posts since 12/6/09

08/13/2017 04:34:44 View overhere's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

also just listen to a lot of his recordings.over and over until you get his sound in your head. helps a lot.

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stanleytone

United States
2799 posts since 7/12/06

08/13/2017 06:11:33View stanleytone's MP3 Archive View stanleytone's Photo Albums View stanleytone's Blog Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by overhere
 

also just listen to a lot of his recordings.over and over until you get his sound in your head. helps a lot.


this is the best advice you will get. you can also slow down his breaks and you will get them note for note

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n1wr

United States
577 posts since 12/27/10

08/13/2017 07:39:24View n1wr's MP3 Archive View n1wr's Photo Albums View n1wr's Blog Reply with Quote

Read through this string of messages.  Sonny is a frequent poster there.  Note - it's LONG - there are 133 pages!

http://www.banjohangout.org/topic/154475/1

 

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Richard Hauser

United States
367 posts since 2/10/13

08/13/2017 08:08:41 Reply with Quote

I remember him saying that he also listened to other musical instruments to come up with new ideas for his banjo playing.  So don't restrict your search to what banjo players are doing.

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A27StarWolf

United States
140 posts since 8/10/12

08/13/2017 11:06:32 Reply with Quote

I do want to listen to his recordings but finding them all is rather hard because I use music streaming services. Is there a breakdown of different points in his career that is good to listen to?


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From Greylock to Bean BlossomPlayers Union Member

United States
3755 posts since 10/13/07

08/13/2017 11:21:56View From Greylock to Bean Blossom's MP3 Archive View From Greylock to Bean Blossom's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Bear Family has many of their old recordings on their CD sets. With those and Amazing slow downer as Gary suggested I would think you could study all you wanted.

https://www.amazon.com/Bluegrass-1956-1968-Osborne-Brothers/dp/B0000282W8

http://www.oldies.com/product-view/91149N.html

ken

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Culloden

United States
1974 posts since 5/29/11

08/13/2017 16:18:37 View Culloden's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Unlike some professional musicians, Sonny plays a lot of his breaks on the fly so he does not always play something the same way each time. That makes it harder to find his licks in tab. His backup playing is the epitome of what a banjo player should aspire to.

The suggestions to listen as much as you can are probably the best bet.

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gospelman97

United States
2734 posts since 9/4/10

08/14/2017 05:36:47View gospelman97's MP3 Archive View gospelman97's Photo Albums View gospelman97's Blog Reply with Quote

When I really want to study a specific banjo player, I listen to only that person for several weeks.  Sonny has a large library to pull from.  Listen for repeated licks or phrases that define his style.  I would highly recommend listening to live sets. I'm sure that there are some where the banjo mic is hot and you can really hear what he is playing on breaks and backup.  If you can find some accurate tablature, it would help to learn some of his famous breaks, but also to look for repeated ideas across multiple songs.  Good luck and have fun!

PS.  Don't forget that Sonny played a 6 string banjo for a while with a low B string.  If you can't replicate what he is doing sometimes, it may be because he was using the 6-string.

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chief3

Canada
1014 posts since 10/26/03

08/14/2017 06:42:02View chief3's MP3 Archive View chief3's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

From what I know regarding how Sonny's style was developed, I would suggest your approach could start with a very good understanding of the style of Earl Scruggs and then take notice to how Sonny made modifications to create his own style. If you really want to understand the music of a great musician, it helps to understand how they think and interpret what they hear.

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Banjophobic

United States
13010 posts since 3/6/06

08/14/2017 16:07:16View Banjophobic's MP3 Archive View Banjophobic's Classified Ads View Banjophobic's Photo Albums View Banjophobic's Blog Reply with Quote

Beyond Sonnys interpretation of Earl, his style is made up of his own ideas, plus comping licks and phrases from other instruments beyond the bluegrass realm. Sonny is a genius of the banjo and his skill set goes much beyond just traditional Scruggs. If you really want to explore his rule, look to all the outside influences too.

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stringman711

United States
342 posts since 11/29/07

08/14/2017 21:54:56 View stringman711's Classified Ads View stringman711's Photo Albums Send stringman711 a Yahoo! Message Reply with Quote

I have spent nearly 10 years on the road with Sonny Osborne, and have been a friend of his for more than 35 years. When Sonny stopped playing the banjo in 2004, he continued with the Osborne Brothers singing with his brother Bobby. I played the banjo with the group until Sonny retired, and then continued with Bobby for another five years. I can say for certain, that Sonny knew every note Earl Scruggs ever played. Every note. This, combined with other musicians like Chet Atkins, Leon Rhodes, Hal Rugg, Buddy Emmons, James Burton, Roy Nichols, and SO many others, Sonny was such the genius, that he was able to take the playing of these greats, and incorporate into his own style. He is the most creative banjo player I have ever heard, able to play anything that was in his mind. Am I bias? Of course I am! Listen to Bluegrass Concerto, Dandylion, America The Beautiful, or anything he recorded.

We are still best friends today. Long live the chief! The best! 

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