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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Non bluegrass on banjo

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Big I - Posted - 01/24/2012:  17:32:42

What are some non bluegrass songs you've tried on the banjo. Recently I played "Sharp dressed man" by ZZ top and "daughters" by John Mayor. Both sounded pretty good. 

Remillo - Posted - 01/24/2012:  17:35:37

I've been learning a few Jazz-oriented Bela Fleck pieces and been reading some Bach out of a book, transcribed by John Bullard. Sounds pretty great, too.

steve davis - Posted - 01/24/2012:  17:48:14

Most of the time I'm playing something other than bluegrass.
Lots of fiddle buddies,piano players,country blues,blues blues,jug band.
I like to turn on pop radio and play along.

Banjov1 - Posted - 01/24/2012:  17:54:20

Blondie - One Way Or Another


Elvis Costello/Nick Lowe - Peace Love and Understanding

Edited by - Banjov1 on 01/24/2012 17:55:21

banjotef - Posted - 01/24/2012:  17:54:48

I have learned Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto",  and some Celtic tunes,  such as Garry Owen.   I've also done some single-string stuff, such as Jesus Loves Me,  and Shenandoah,  using D with the fifth string spiked at the seventh fret to A.   You can play these melodies on the second string, up and down the neck.

Edited by - banjotef on 01/24/2012 17:56:45

The Old Timer - Posted - 01/24/2012:  18:03:44

My last effort was John Philip Sousa's The Stars & Stripes Forever. VERY challenging! Also very satisfying.

No I take that back, that was my next to the last effort.

My most recent effort was Sylphides Mazurka from the Minstrel Banjo CD.   Not very hard but very satisfying.  A good solo piece.

Edited by - The Old Timer on 01/24/2012 18:05:19

Culloden - Posted - 01/24/2012:  18:09:02

I play a number of old ragtime and dixieland style tunes on a five string banjo, such as The Entertainer, I'm Looking over a Four Leaf Clover, Five Foot Two Eyes of Blue, Lady of Spain, Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet, When You're Smiling, and Leona. America the Beutiful and Anchors Aweigh also make good showpieces on the banjo.

Banjophobic - Posted - 01/24/2012:  18:10:34

There's not much from about any genre, that I haven't played or attempted to,haha. Some of the current material I play with bands I'm in covers everything from Sting,to Reggae, to country/pop,classic rock,old jazz,you name it.

Try everything you can on the banjo, but don't try to 'convert' other kinds of music to a bluegrass groove as your first option. There are times when doing that will be cool, and more times that it will sound hokey and really destroy the original. Think outside of just "BG" patterns and play whatever works! smiley

The Mighty Ant - Posted - 01/24/2012:  18:53:42

Neil Young....Out on the weekend, Star of Bethlehem, and Daddy went a'walkin'.

Bob Dylan...Buckets of rain, Youre gonna make me lonesome when you go, and If tomorrow wasnt such a long time. . 

 EDIT  Forgot this one...Merle Haggard, "Today I started loving you again". 

Edited by - The Mighty Ant on 01/24/2012 19:08:14

kirbonite - Posted - 01/24/2012:  19:02:57

I totally agree with this:  If you change the tempo to make it a bluegrass song then you aren't really playing the song are you ?  you're just singing the lyrics over some bluegrass song.

BTW:  my current favorites are:  Brick in the Wall by Pink floy and Staying Alive by the BeeGees(Rock)

I also find when you play a song like : Nobody knows you when you're down and Out by Bessie Smith.. you can thow in all kinds of things.  rolls, strumming, melodic runs, harmonics.. lots of variety. 



Originally posted by Banjophobic

Try everything you can on the banjo, but don't try to 'convert' other kinds of music to a bluegrass groove as your first option. There are times when doing that will be cool, and more times that it will sound hokey and really destroy the original. Think outside of just "BG" patterns and play whatever works! smiley


privard - Posted - 01/24/2012:  19:11:23

I'm working on Arrival of the Queen of Sheba for a wedding in August. I've also worked recently on the Band's Stage Fright and a couple of original tunes, Illusions of Banjeur #2 and Hell Zone Winds.

Jody Hughes - Posted - 01/24/2012:  20:06:27

"Light my Fire" works Great as well as a number of Aerosmith tunes :)
My students like rock/pop, so I'm always having to figure out ways to do this kind of stuff.

mikehalloran - Posted - 01/24/2012:  22:08:10

I liked to play my long necks in A (C tuning, no capo, 5th tuned up). Bruce Springsteen's "My Hometown" sounds really good as a solo accompaniment with that set up.


420picker - Posted - 01/24/2012:  23:03:38

wild horses

BanjoFlyboy - Posted - 01/25/2012:  04:50:03

Happy Birthday ;-)

pickNgrin - Posted - 01/25/2012:  05:05:12

I tried Sound of Silence last fall. It is on my music page.


Mike Moss - Posted - 01/25/2012:  05:29:24

I like to play in all genres (bluegrass included)... but most of what I play is "banjo music", original music for the banjo, by banjoists, which usually comes in all kinds of different styles (ragtime, jazz, marches, traditional, popular, &c.). There's a surprising wealth of it out there, and it usually falls under the label of "Classic Banjo" but it's not a monolithic genre, it's basically a way of playing fingerstyle.


I also like arrangements of popular and light classical music, which is often very fun to play because the audience appreciates hearing familiar tunes.

John Allison - Posted - 01/25/2012:  06:08:35

I guess that I have tried just about all genres of music from classical (Ode to Joy), to blues, to Shenandoah to folk music of the 50s/60s (in particular some of the songs by the K Trio, Brothers Four, Peter/Paul/Mary). Heck, I enjoy playing just about anything on my banjo.

DeanT - Posted - 01/25/2012:  07:32:22

I play with friends who do everything but bluegrass, lots of old rock and country for charities and rest homes etc. Since there is no drummer, I'm more of a percussive back up role. Tons of fun. There's some of their stuff on youtube if anyone want's so see what I mean.

darylearl - Posted - 01/25/2012:  08:24:31

There are quite a few non-bluegrass tunes that have become "banjo standards" due to their treatment by some of my heroes.  I'm thinking of Earl's "Farewell Blues", Bill Emerson's "Yesterday" and Allen Shelton's (and others) "Bye Bye Blues".  Lately, I've been working on "Muskrat Ramble" (a la Louis Armstrong) done in Bb without capo.  It's a very cool number that lends itself well to being "banjoized".


privard - Posted - 01/26/2012:  21:31:16

People always get a kick out of Sunshine of Your Love and improbable tunes like that. I also once transposed all the fill licks and the two leads from Sultans of Swing on the banjo and that just killed onstage.

skywaterbanjo - Posted - 01/28/2012:  12:40:30

I play in 2 bands, now, one pretty straight bluegrass, the other a mixture of folk, rock, bluegrass, americana. We just participated in a Led Zeppelin Cover night to benefit the local college and played "Hey, Hey What Can I Do" and "Immigrant Song." What fun!

steve davis - Posted - 01/28/2012:  13:40:00

I played in a Jimi Hendrix tribute show in the early 90s.There were 30 band types from all over the world...each doing a Jimi song.
We had Don Roy on fiddle,Chris on mando from a band called Flywheel,Don's sister on Fender electric guitar and a stand-up bass player.
We did Little Wing slow and bluesy for the first time through,then after a 4 beat stop,the bass came in laying down a breakdown pace and we played it through again in the new rhythm.
It went over very well.
Terry ended with a guitar solo of the first two measures of Purple Haze.

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