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 Playing Advice: 4-String (Jazz, Blues & Other Trad Styles)

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guitarbanjoman - Posted - 05/08/2020:  10:19:46

Thanks to my tremolo guru Seth B, I have been making some progress, though my tremolo is still not as silky-smooth as I would really like... however, this is the best I can do for now...

I've always loved this tune... "Bess, You Is My Woman Now"... one of Gershwin's loveliest, and that is saying something!


Edited by - guitarbanjoman on 05/08/2020 10:25:24

sethb - Posted - 05/08/2020:  14:04:11

Will, that tremolo sounds pretty good to me! 

I especially liked the combination of the tremolo and the slides up the neck (there's a fancy musical term for that, but I can't recall it at the moment).  SETH  

Edited by - sethb on 05/08/2020 14:04:37

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 05/08/2020:  14:52:04

Yeah, I always forget that word, too... glissando... the plectrum banjo was made for it... I remember the the word by calling it “glee-sando”

sethb - Posted - 05/09/2020:  11:12:58

Will, I forgot to mention one thing that you may want to try.  You can vary the tempo of the tremolo in some places, particularly on whole notes or longer, or at the end of a phrase, perhaps slowing it down a bit, for emphasis.    

I see that violinists sometimes do the same thing with vibrato, not always maintaining the same tempo on the same note.  You can see their fretting finger rocking back and forth a little slower on part of the note. 

That's the great thing about music --- there's a;ways something else to do or try!    SETH

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 05/10/2020:  06:24:49

Sounds like a good idea, Seth... any chance you could record and post a little demo?

sethb - Posted - 05/10/2020:  15:58:55

Hmmm . . . . I've never done that, let me see what I can do, and how I can do that!  SETH

sethb - Posted - 05/12/2020:  12:29:54

Okey-dokey, Will, I was able to create and have attached an MP3 for you!  It's "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise," a well-known plectrum banjo favorite.  I've included tremolos with varying tempos, as I noted in other posts in this thread.  Hope it demonstrates what I was explaining,  and that it's helpful.  I would not normally play this tune with quite this long of a tremolo-only section --- too much tremolo is just as bad as not enough tremolo, in my opinion.  

There is a much more skillful version of this same tune on YouTube, done by my teacher Don Van Palta, the "Flying Dutchman," with a few key changes and some wonderful strums and fancy fret work.  Here's the link:  

It took a few tries to get the MP3 into my computer and then onto the Banjo Hangout.  But as I tell folks when our PA has a problem during a show, "I'm a musician, not an electrician!"   SETH

Edited by - sethb on 05/12/2020 12:41:10

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 05/13/2020:  13:13:08

Thanks, Seth!

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