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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: imponderables


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/382610

DWFII - Posted - 04/13/2022:  07:26:57


Why do the strings on banjos sound different when they are 'up-picked'  than when they are thumb picked?



What exactly is a 'roll'? Are 'bum ditties' rolls?



Are rolls used in 2F or CH style playing?



Why do strings sometimes 'rattle' or buzz in open tuning?



How do you simultaneously fret two adjacent stings such as B flat and D?



How to prevent killing the open first string after a three finger C chord without lifting fingers away from the fretboard?



====================================================================================



I have asked these questions before but either through not using the correct terminology (if I even have it right this time), or not having enough knowledge/experience to understand the answer, I didn't "get no satisfaction" So I thought I would ask again and just leave these out there for future generations. xD

GrahamHawker - Posted - 04/13/2022:  08:01:48


1. Notes sound fairly similar to me. There's probably some physics involved. I think the thumb pick could be a stronger pick.
2. Rolls are picked patterns used in bluegrass.
3. I don't believe so although I wonder if those who mix it up more might do the occasional roll.
4. Setup need adjustment. String action, nut, neck bend, frets and probably other things could be culprits.
5. With two fingers or perhaps one barring across two strings if it the 1st and second string.
6. I don't have any trouble. Fat fingers don't help. A wider fretboard could. Practice also helps.

chip arnold - Posted - 04/13/2022:  08:11:34


1) A hammer and a baseball make different sounds when they hit a bell.



2) Yes, rolls are not just for bluegrass. They are used in 2-finger styles, both down picking and up picking. A roll is simply a succession of notes used to access melody notes while filling the spaces between those notes. So bum-dit-ty with the bum being a melody note is a simple roll. Or try I on 1st, T on 2nd, I on 3rd, T on fifth with 1st and 3rd strings being melody notes is another roll. You can just as easily make an eight note roll.  There are countless combinations depending on where your melody notes fall. 

With T lead it is the same. For instance TITI ... T on the 4th, I on the 2nd, T on 3rd, I on the 1st with the 4th and 3rd being the melody notes. Experiment around and it'll all make sense.



3) Yes



4) The action is too low, or you're tuned too low, or you're picking them too hard.



5) use two fingers just like any other shape.



6) Not sure what you mean here. Lift the finger that is killing the string quicker and higher.



 


Edited by - chip arnold on 04/13/2022 08:19:06

pianojuggler - Posted - 04/13/2022:  09:13:51


>How to prevent killing the open first string after a three finger C chord without lifting fingers away from the fretboard?

I have the same problem with any chord that involves more than two fingers.

Are you blocking Number 1 with the finger that's on 2 or with the little blob of flesh as the base of your finger as it creeps up over the edge of the fretboard.

My teacher's response to either is "figure out what's causing it and work on different things to cure it." Try holding your thumb in a different place under the neck, try curving your fingers more. Try changing the angle of your wrist.

chip arnold - Posted - 04/13/2022:  09:17:51


More ...

A visual way to think about it is to picture the bare melody as a linear row of notes as in written music. Rolls or ornamentation are what one fine old member of BHO called the "connective tissue". You're just finding a way to traverse that linear row of melody notes while filling the spaces between with other notes or spaces which compliment the melody and are pleasant to the ear. You can do this in a very rhythmic way or a melodious way. You get to be the boss of things. Your ear will tell you when the notes you find are good ones.

Remember to not play 2 fast notes in a row with the same finger or thumb. So if you're thinking in terms of 1/16 notes, every other 1/16 needs to be with an alternate finger, a space or a left hand device like a hammer, slide, pull, or aspo. If you don't do it this way you will not be able to get up to speed.


Edited by - chip arnold on 04/13/2022 09:30:09

DWFII - Posted - 04/13/2022:  09:33:59


quote:

Originally posted by pianojuggler

>How to prevent killing the open first string after a three finger C chord without lifting fingers away from the fretboard?



I have the same problem with any chord that involves more than two fingers.



Are you blocking Number 1 with the finger that's on 2 or with the little blob of flesh as the base of your finger as it creeps up over the edge of the fretboard.



My teacher's response to either is "figure out what's causing it and work on different things to cure it." Try holding your thumb in a different place under the neck, try curving your fingers more. Try changing the angle of your wrist.






This is exactly what I'm struggling with. As I've gotten older the flesh of my hands has gotten a little looser. I can play open 1st easy enough. I can play full C easy enough. But my teacher told me that when practicing I should always switch back to G after playing any chord. When I do that the skin at the base of my index finger (on my left hand) always seems to be folded over the 1st string.



I've tried placing the thumb differently( my teacher also suggested that). I've tried curving my fingers more (I don't have long fingers). I've tried changing the angle of my wrist (and even the 'twist' of my wrist). And they all work to some extent but they all seem to leave your hand out of position for the next C chord or Eminor, etc.. I guess that's why it's an "imponderable"... at least for me and at least for now.


Edited by - DWFII on 04/13/2022 09:48:18

DWFII - Posted - 04/13/2022:  09:43:20


quote:

Originally posted by chip arnold

More ...

A visual way to think about it is to picture the bare melody as a linear row of notes as in written music. Rolls or ornamentation are what one fine old member of BHO called the "connective tissue". You're just finding a way to traverse that linear row of melody notes while filling the spaces between with other notes or spaces which compliment the melody and are pleasant to the ear. You can do this in a very rhythmic way or a melodious way. You get to be the boss of things. Your ear will tell you when the notes you find are good ones.

Remember to not play 2 fast notes in a row with the same finger or thumb. So if you're thinking in terms of 1/16 notes, every other 1/16 needs to be with an alternate finger, a space or a left hand device like a hammer, slide, pull, or aspo. If you don't do it this way you will not be able to get up to speed.






Your last several posts (here and in that other thread) have been most especially helpful. I thank you.



I think I can see a way to play (or work my way through) songs that seem to have no tabs (or 2F tabs) written. for them. What to do with brushes baffled me esp. since there are (usually) three or four notes in a brush and I was (still may not be) which of those notes should be the one preserved to create a  'roll' or bum-ditty.  Sometimes it seems to be the first string note sometimes it seems to be the second string note. [shrug]



Just as an undoubtedly ignorant observation, it kind of bothers me that music, which seems the most mathematical of the Arts, often appears so laissz-faire. I have trouble with that if only because I like structure and recipes.xD


Edited by - DWFII on 04/13/2022 09:43:59

chip arnold - Posted - 04/13/2022:  09:47:05


"Sometimes it seems to be the first string note sometimes it seems to be the second string note". And that's the key to it. The one that "seems to be" is a good choice.

DWFII - Posted - 04/13/2022:  09:51:27


quote:

Originally posted by chip arnold

"Sometimes it seems to be the first string note sometimes it seems to be the second string note". And that's the key to it. The one that "seems to be" is a good choice.






I understand. And I don't want to flog a dead horse but why did the particular fellow who transcribed this music choose one over the other? Relation to the melody note? Dominant note in a chord (if I'm saying that right)? Or just whimsy?

chip arnold - Posted - 04/13/2022:  10:07:35


My guess is aural relation to the melody note, but since we all have somewhat different ears and sensibilities, it may be whimsey in any case :-)

I like to play in a fairly melodic way, so maybe I tend to fill spaces between notes with ascending or descending notes depending on whether the melody is rising or falling. A super simple example ... G tuning: First and second melody notes are 4th open and 3rd open, 1/8 notes with a 1/8 space in between and after. Play open 4th, hammer 4th on 2nd fret, play open 3rd, play 5th. So your filler note (the hammer) is ascending from one melody note to the next. The 5th is just being a drone.

A more rhythmic picker might play 4th open, 5th, 3rd open and 5th again. 



 


Edited by - chip arnold on 04/13/2022 10:10:27

DWFII - Posted - 04/13/2022:  10:14:25


quote:

Originally posted by chip arnold

My guess is aural relation to the melody note, but since we all have somewhat different ears and sensibilities, it may be whimsey in any case :-)

I like to play in a fairly melodic way, so maybe I tend to fill spaces between notes with ascending or descending notes depending on whether the melody is rising or falling. A super simple example ... G tuning: First and second melody notes are 4th open and 3rd open, 1/8 notes with a 1/8 space in between and after. Play open 4th, hammer 4th on 2nd fret, play open 3rd, play 5th. So your filler note (the hammer) is ascending from one melody note to the next. The 5th is just being a drone.

A more rhythmic picker might play 4th open, 5th, 3rd open and 5th again. 



 






I'll fool with that during practice this afternoon but I like the ascending descending rationale.



Thanks again.

mrphysics55 - Posted - 04/13/2022:  10:33:54


surprise

DWFII - Posted - 04/13/2022:  17:21:10


quote:

Originally posted by chip arnold

1) A hammer and a baseball make different sounds when they hit a bell.






This is not a hard concept to grasp when you factor in the differences between a hammer and a baseball--leather/steel.



But both the finger and the thumb are flesh and blood. One strikes down, the other strikes up. Why would the sound be that significantly different? One sounds round and full...dulcet, even... and the other sounds a bit thin and metallic--not 'unbanjo-ish' but more bluegrass-y and even a little harsh.



Still a little imponderable, IMO.



??

pianojuggler - Posted - 04/14/2022:  20:21:34


quote:

Originally posted by DWFII

quote:

Originally posted by pianojuggler

>How to prevent killing the open first string after a three finger C chord without lifting fingers away from the fretboard?



I have the same problem with any chord that involves more than two fingers.



Are you blocking Number 1 with the finger that's on 2 or with the little blob of flesh as the base of your finger as it creeps up over the edge of the fretboard.



My teacher's response to either is "figure out what's causing it and work on different things to cure it." Try holding your thumb in a different place under the neck, try curving your fingers more. Try changing the angle of your wrist.






This is exactly what I'm struggling with. As I've gotten older the flesh of my hands has gotten a little looser. I can play open 1st easy enough. I can play full C easy enough. But my teacher told me that when practicing I should always switch back to G after playing any chord. When I do that the skin at the base of my index finger (on my left hand) always seems to be folded over the 1st string.



I've tried placing the thumb differently( my teacher also suggested that). I've tried curving my fingers more (I don't have long fingers). I've tried changing the angle of my wrist (and even the 'twist' of my wrist). And they all work to some extent but they all seem to leave your hand out of position for the next C chord or Eminor, etc.. I guess that's why it's an "imponderable"... at least for me and at least for now.






All I have to offer at this point is heartfelt sympathy.

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