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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: McNeil plectrum book question

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guitarbanjoman - Posted - 12/30/2020:  09:48:47

I no longer own the McNeil plectrum banjo method, having been encouraged by my wife to get rid of several mouldering boxes of sheet music from my Man Cave.

But one thing about that book always frustrated me, and I am hoping someone here is a good enough music reader to help me.

Near the beginning of the book, there was a double paged collection of banjo strums written out in standard musical notation, which to the best of my recollection included McNeil’s banjo version of the rhythm created by a cement mixer.

Does anybody recognize the pages I am talking about? Does the McNeil tenor banjo method include these same strums?

And if so, is anybody out there a good enough music reader to be able to record little examples of what these strums actually sound like?



Joel Hooks - Posted - 12/30/2020:  11:11:33

Here is the McNeil book...

While I don't "play" plectrum, I have read through a few plectrum instruction books. I could not find the pages you were talking about. There are some rhythm studies towards the back, but presuming one has worked through all the progressive studies, page by page, then one would have no trouble with playing various rhythm strokes and fill-ins.

Please post the page numbers and I am sure someone could help you.

hobogal - Posted - 12/30/2020:  11:22:34

Yes, the tenor banjo book does contain stroke patterns.  There is a recording on youtube that features the strokes.  He names some of the strokes from 4.10 onwards so might be of some help?

Edited by - hobogal on 12/30/2020 11:25:47

Omeboy - Posted - 12/30/2020:  12:21:31

So you actually threw away the Charles McNeil Plectrum Banjo book ??!!

ocarina-man - Posted - 12/30/2020:  16:02:35

Regarding the McNeil recordings: Most of these strokes are useful only when done as parts of a banjo solo or feature (the exceptions are Latin tinged rhythm strokes). They should never be used in a band rhythm section since that needs to provide a solid straight 4 beat or 2 beat. If a horn ensemble or soloist tries to play against a syncopated banjo, it's like measuring with a rubber ruler. If one plays syncopation against syncopation, it just becomes a muddle. Sadly, many newbies falsely figure if it's jazz then the banjo should "jazz it up." In that case there's just no place to "hang your hat" and it doesn't swing.

Ryk - Posted - 12/30/2020:  18:13:44

I'm with Paul on this .... You threw away a McNeil?

Ryk - Posted - 12/30/2020:  18:16:07

Many thanks for that You Tube link!

guitarbanjoman - Posted - 01/02/2021:  19:53:41

Hey, everybody...

Don’t worry, I didn’t throw away my McNeil book.

I gave it to Devin Z., a young plectrum banjo player I know.

Along with several boxes of vintage sheet music and other junk that has been sitting in my studio closet for years.

I made sure it all went to a good home because I'm pushing seventy and if I were to die of COVID-19 tomorrow, all that wonderful stuff would all end up at the city dump!


Edited by - guitarbanjoman on 01/02/2021 19:56:03

Rob MacKillop - Posted - 01/03/2021:  00:19:18

Good for you, Will, and for Devin too!

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