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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: a banjo for a beginner w a neck problem

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violinoldbanjonew - Posted - 11/18/2017:  10:03:28

Are there beginner lessons for nylon string/ finger pick banjos tunes in a? Reason I'm asking is, I am tiny (4'9") and have a serious neck injury, but have found I can do some things on a free cheap full size banjo someone gave me. So I am using all those good beginner lessons on line. But, w the neck problems, I really need a smaller instrument and found a ladies banjo at Bedford Banjo shop that he's fixing up for me. Problem? It's tunes in a and uses nylon, which is fine. But now, where do I go for beginner lessons in a and using finger instead of picks? Is there software, are there dvds? I can't find them but I bet they are out there. I don't mind changing to finger/ nylon since I use to be a violinist, had to give it up bc the neck problems. The nylon sound actually hits my ear better. It's just the lessons that I want to find. And, no I don't want banjos tuned in fifths, it's frustrating with all the frets and not having a bow. I already tried mandolins and just didn't like it. So, I'm hoping someone can point me to beginner lessons for banjo in a without having to pay a private teacher.

thisoldman - Posted - 11/18/2017:  12:39:10

If you do a search here on the HO you will see some tuning options (like G) for your short scale banjo. If you choose G tuning (like a "regular" banjo) and prefer not to use picks, you could go the clawhammer style route, but that might not what you are thinking when you are thinking fingerpicking. Or  you could look a 2 finger thumb lead (2ftl).  If you choose clawhammer there are lots of books and videos out there.  If you want to explore 2ftl there are no organized lessons as such, but you can watch youtube videos and check out Sean Barth's  (mojo monk) site, here .  You could also learn tunes using some form of the 3 finger style picking (without the picks).  Key to other responders to this thread would be to know what genre of music you are interested in.  Oh, and I was thinking G tuning because most of the instructional material that would be easy to find would likely start with standard G tuning.

Edited by - thisoldman on 11/18/2017 12:43:42

thisoldman - Posted - 11/18/2017:  17:04:34

You might check this out, as it may answer some questions about fingerpicking the banjo  I'm not familiar with Josh Turknett's take on fingerpicking the banjo, but I know I liked his beginning clawhammer stuff. 

violinoldbanjonew - Posted - 11/19/2017:  11:24:15

Thank you for your answers. Right now I'm practicing Scruggs rolls on my very cheap full size Japanese Banjo someone gave me. I love the folk music stuff but can't deal w long neck banjos and doubt a short / small banjo will do well w the c tuning. I imagine I'll try to buy something that can sound good in g and then that will solve the problem. Thank you!

thisoldman - Posted - 11/19/2017:  17:22:28   Before you give up on your short scale banjo, you might check that site out. You can input scale length, desired tuning and other parameters and it might be able to give you an idea of string gauges to use to tune to C.  

WayneConrad - Posted - 11/21/2017:  11:14:41

A short-scale banjo tuned in G is, as far as I can tell, a short-scale banjo that could be tuned in A but then the strings are slackened to G instead. My proof for this is that all of my G, short-scale banjos can be tuned up to A without a capo, without breaking strings, and they play fine. But they play fine in G also

You may be able to tune that A banjo down to G and have it play fine. It may need heavier strings, or it might be fine.

The two short-scale G banjos I have are the Deering Goodtime Parlor, and the Backyard Music Basic Banjo. There are others, but I don't know them.

AndyW - Posted - 11/21/2017:  14:20:18

G tuning is usually capoed to A for fiddle tunes. Double C is usually capoed to double D.

Your short scale banjo would be excellent for clawhammer fiddle tunes.

johnedallas - Posted - 11/22/2017:  09:12:10

There's no problem using fingers instead of picks. You just let your fingernails grow to the optimum length, which isn't all that long. If they get too long, cut them back; if you cut them too short, well, they'll grow again, and you'll soon find the optimum length.

After all, fingerpicks are nothing more or less than false fingernails, and real nails have the advantage that you can play downstrokes without them flying off!



Edited by - johnedallas on 11/22/2017 09:12:50

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