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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: what makes a player a great player?


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/393313

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Jack Baker - Posted - 10/11/2023:  11:22:28


I don't have any magic answers but Chet Atkins told me once in his Nashville office. When I asked him that. He said "Play it like you wrote it, not like you're imitating it"...good advice I always thought...Jack   p.s. Chet meant his songs also...


Edited by - Jack Baker on 10/16/2023 15:48:50

Sheenjack - Posted - 10/11/2023:  11:37:43


I have always wondered how Alison, Jens, and Bela got to be as great as they are.  It takes more than practice, practice, practice as the old saying goes.  If that was all it took we could all be as great. (providing we have the time) No, it has to be something more  than that.  Has to be something they are born with. Whatever it is , I am glad they were born with it.  Listening to them has brought me a lot of joy,  wonder, and awe even though  I have no hope of ever being as good as they are. 

Jack Baker - Posted - 10/11/2023:  12:00:19


Thanks. I guess I was asking Chet what was one of the things that makes a good player a great player with regards to my own playing...j

Bluedog2 - Posted - 10/11/2023:  12:37:10


quote:

Originally posted by Sheenjack

I have always wondered how Alison, Jens, and Bela got to be as great as they are.  It takes more than practice, practice, practice as the old saying goes.  If that was all it took we could all be as great. (providing we have the time) No, it has to be something more  than that.  Has to be something they are born with. Whatever it is , I am glad they were born with it.  Listening to them has brought me a lot of joy,  wonder, and awe even though  I have no hope of ever being as good as they are. 






I think almost anyone can practice enough to get by.  But, not everyone can be great. No matter how much they practice.  Some people are born with what it takes to be great.  We are not all born with the same  talents, or the same amount of talent for certain things.  It's like those pitchers who can throw a baseball 95 plus.  No amount of practice can give a person a quick arm.  One is either born with that ability or one will never throw that hard, although one can get by with less speed with good technique and a lot of practice.

Jack Baker - Posted - 10/11/2023:  12:45:54


Yes and thanks for your post. I think Chet was trying to tell me not to imitate but make a song sound as personal as if you wrote it, not imitating someone's playing. I think I asked the question here on BHO the wrong way...Jack


Edited by - Jack Baker on 10/11/2023 12:48:06

jack_beuthin - Posted - 10/11/2023:  12:57:40


no magic answers here either, but I believe something Yo-Yo Ma once said speaks to the question:

“…that’s the essence of what I try to do in music, transmitting something so that it lives in someone else.

At one point I had the audacity to think that I could play a perfect concert. I was in the middle of a concert and I realized everything’s going perfectly well. And I was bored out of my mind. That was the moment that I made a fateful decision that I was actually going to devote my life to human expression versus human perfection.”

Jack Baker - Posted - 10/11/2023:  13:00:23


Yes,
Excellent answer Jack....JB

Laurence Diehl - Posted - 10/11/2023:  13:40:52


quote:

Originally posted by jack_beuthin

no magic answers here either, but I believe something Yo-Yo Ma once said speaks to the question:



“…that’s the essence of what I try to do in music, transmitting something so that it lives in someone else.



At one point I had the audacity to think that I could play a perfect concert. I was in the middle of a concert and I realized everything’s going perfectly well. And I was bored out of my mind. That was the moment that I made a fateful decision that I was actually going to devote my life to human expression versus human perfection.”






I like your answer. 

I think it must be a burden trying to be great, or wondering how and when to get there. If I ever arrive I'll have to quit playing because learning is the fun part. 

But ultimately I think that music is about emotion. Putting it into your music and communicating it to others. If you can do that, people will think you're great. 

Tractor1 - Posted - 10/11/2023:  13:59:30


a wonderful topic Jack--but great is such a wide target to hit in music --Roy Clark and John Hartford were great at entertainment--Some are great at fast(super sonic} non stop scales---some are great at first position right hand mixing on the fly--I could go on to many other categories --that is why I chose banjo --way down at the bottom I can probably be the greatest on my block ha ha-

But yes certain things take certain amounts of inherent finger speed and inherent ability to make the moves up to speed in the thought process ---after that it is practice --practice --but all that practice can not change the first two--after a long test of time---however sometimes a light might shine on technique to get one closer---
being great at making a song entertaining and worth listening to--never went out of style--

chuckv97 - Posted - 10/11/2023:  14:11:16


At 49:01 ,, a great player, playing the same notes as many others but they resonate in the gut more… Bill Emerson! youtu.be/zzI8z5Zz0nY?si=IQhaaC4YN3L1dFX_  and the mandolin player - I think it's Frank Wakefield - has "it" too. 

What someone already mentioned - emotion and reaching down into a listener’s soul.


Edited by - chuckv97 on 10/11/2023 14:14:25

beegee - Posted - 10/11/2023:  14:52:53


One of the best pieces of advice I ever got: " Play to EXPRESS, not to IMPRESS. From my HS band teacher, circa mid- 60's



And we all should know: "It's the space BETWEEN the notes" and "What you don't play often means more than what you DO play."


Edited by - beegee on 10/11/2023 14:55:44

Jack Baker - Posted - 10/11/2023:  14:53:48


Yeah Tom,


It is a wide target to hit for sure...Jack




Originally posted by Tractor1

a wonderful topic Jack--but great is such a wide target to hit in music --Roy Clark and John Hartford were great at entertainment--Some are great at fast(super sonic} non stop scales---some are great at first position right hand mixing on the fly--I could go on to many other categories --that is why I chose banjo --way down at the bottom I can probably be the greatest on my block ha ha-



But yes certain things take certain amounts of inherent finger speed and inherent ability to make the moves up to speed in the thought process ---after that it is practice --practice --but all that practice can not change the first two--after a long test of time---however sometimes a light might shine on technique to get one closer---

being great at making a song entertaining and worth listening to--never went out of style--






 

davidppp - Posted - 10/11/2023:  15:50:22


Jens Kruger has often recounted his opportunity to play for Bill Monroe when he was 19. Jens had long-since mastered the styles of the great banjo players from before. Monroe acknowledged that he was playing very well but said he should go back home and play until he sounded like himself. (I'd say he's done that.)

More useful for us ordinary guys is something along the same lines that Jens once told me when I said: For just a single, isolated lick, even just a couple of notes, no matter how much I try and practice, I can't get the sound I like so much from a particular performance of his. He replied: the more you try and the more you practice, the more you sound like you.

Like all great aphorisms, it's obviously false but very, very true at the same time.

KCJones - Posted - 10/11/2023:  15:57:30


I think people underestimate how much the greats actually practice, and how much time they dedicate to their craft. It is just practice and learning, that really is all it takes. True practice and learning and intentional expansion of skills and knowledge, not just playing and noodling around the same 30 songs every day. Not many people actually do have what it takes to practice that much.



Also one thing that is often not mentioned is the connections. So many of the great players got where they are because they had amazing connections and relationships at a very young age. Not everyone gets to play on stage with Earl Scruggs as a 6 year old like Ricky Skaggs did. Not everyone gets to start private lessons at 8 years old and be mentored by Greg Cahill like Noam Pikelny did. Yes, it took dedication and work to take advantage of those connections. But that level of education and mentorship at such an early age is something the vast majority of us never have. 


Edited by - KCJones on 10/11/2023 16:05:26

davidppp - Posted - 10/11/2023:  16:39:49


I believe that there's an aspect of musicianship and ability to connect with an audience that goes way beyond the technical prowess that can come with thousands of hours of playing.

I can think of many examples, but I'd be insulting players and fans if I said that A is actually great in comparison to B. -- Ouch! ;)

jdeluke137 - Posted - 10/11/2023:  18:03:06


I believe there are talented people who are also disciplined and focused who become great. And there are also disciplined people who work hard but don’t have whatever “talent” is. They’ll be good enough, or maybe even good, but probably never great banjo players. They can execute the technical aspects, but never quite get to the next level. However, they are able to connect with an audience, so they may not be great banjo players but the audience is having such a good time they don’t care.

But I also know some talented people who aren’t disciplined that will never be great because they never hone their craft.

And I know some talented people who walk on stage, never smile, never connect with the audience, and who will never be thought of as great because the audience gets bored.

So to me a great player is someone who has natural talent, is disciplined, and who somehow also connects with their audience. That connection might come through humor, humility, outrageous behavior or something else. But that connection, that extra “something”, is always there.

csrat - Posted - 10/11/2023:  18:30:18


Tablature?

sunburst - Posted - 10/11/2023:  21:06:41


I think practice is the most important, but only if practice is directed 'properly' with goals in mind.
My high school track coach had the "3 Ds"; desire, determination and dedication.

After learning and practicing techniques, then knowing what to play when and how to play it.
Most of us know about the "3 Ts"; taste tone and timing.

I believe the quote is attributed to Bella Fleck; "learn everything you can and then play 10% of it".

So, practice, 3 Ds and 3 Ts.

paulhealey - Posted - 10/11/2023:  21:20:03


quote:

Originally posted by KCJones

I think people underestimate how much the greats actually practice, and how much time they dedicate to their craft. It is just practice and learning, that really is all it takes. True practice and learning and intentional expansion of skills and knowledge, not just playing and noodling around the same 30 songs every day. Not many people actually do have what it takes to practice that much.



Also one thing that is often not mentioned is the connections. So many of the great players got where they are because they had amazing connections and relationships at a very young age. Not everyone gets to play on stage with Earl Scruggs as a 6 year old like Ricky Skaggs did. Not everyone gets to start private lessons at 8 years old and be mentored by Greg Cahill like Noam Pikelny did. Yes, it took dedication and work to take advantage of those connections. But that level of education and mentorship at such an early age is something the vast majority of us never have. 






I don't think I can like this post enough. I was a chef for years and I was good, not great, I won some small awards, nothing major, but I got good enough to fully understand the difference between a good chef, a really good chef and a great chef. 

The great chefs I've met and worked with all have an unbelievable attention to detail, continuously push themselves, relentless drive and they never let themselves off the hook. Every day they bring it. It was something to behold. 



Is it that way with music? Painting? Even, plumbing? I don't know, I don't know enough about those things to say for sure, but I suspect so. 

Talent always helps, but it's hard work in the end that usually does it. 

stanleytone - Posted - 10/12/2023:  03:55:37


Aside from having talent, ive always thought that what makes a good banjo player or any other musician ,is the ability  to make everyone else sound better. Good back up( back off may be a better name)  technique makes all the difference.


Edited by - stanleytone on 10/12/2023 04:00:54

KCJones - Posted - 10/12/2023:  06:24:40


Perhaps relevant to the discussion, is the story of Laszlo Polgar, a researcher from Hungary who claimed that genius are made rather than born, and that with the proper child rearing and education at an early age you could turn any child into a genius. His daughters were two of the greatest chess player to ever live.



How To Become A Genius- The Polgár Experiment | Daniel Karim



I don't believe in talent at all. It's a myth. There are numerous scientific studies on intelligence and early child education that prove this. With few exceptions, there is no "innate characteristic" that some people have and others lack that makes them better at something.



Bela Fleck's father was a professor of music, and his stepfather was a dedicated concert cellist, and he attended a music/arts magnet school in New York City and took personal lessons from Erik Darling, Marc Horowitz, and Tony Trishka (among other great teachers). Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso attended private art schools from a young age. Stephen Hawking parents attended oxford and he was enrolled in private prep schools as a child. Barry Bonds was the son of an MLB player and attended a private catholic prep school focused on athletics (Tom Brady attended the same school). Bill Gates was born into an affluent family and attended a prep school where he learned on $10,000 Teletype terminals at a time when most people had never even heard of a computer that wasn't housed in a warehouse.



The great geniuses of our world, be it banjo players or engineers or plumbers, all got to where they are with a combination of early education, caring mentorship, and consistent dedication. Yes, it takes hard work from the individual to actually make it succeed. But absolutely anyone can do it, if they have those three things. And nobody can do it without those three things.


Edited by - KCJones on 10/12/2023 06:30:36

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 10/12/2023:  06:40:32


quote:

Originally posted by KCJones

Perhaps relevant to the discussion, is the story of Laszlo Polgar, a researcher from Hungary who claimed that genius are made rather than born, and that with the proper child rearing and education at an early age you could turn any child into a genius. His daughters were two of the greatest chess player to ever live.



How To Become A Genius- The Polgár Experiment | Daniel Karim



I don't believe in talent at all. It's a myth. There are numerous scientific studies on intelligence and early child education that prove this. With few exceptions, there is no "innate characteristic" that some people have and others lack that makes them better at something.



Bela Fleck's father was a professor of music, and his stepfather was a dedicated concert cellist, and he attended a music/arts magnet school in New York City and took personal lessons from Erik Darling, Marc Horowitz, and Tony Trishka (among other great teachers). Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso attended private art schools from a young age. Stephen Hawking parents attended oxford and he was enrolled in private prep schools as a child. Barry Bonds was the son of an MLB player and attended a private catholic prep school focused on athletics (Tom Brady attended the same school). Bill Gates was born into an affluent family and attended a prep school where he learned on $10,000 Teletype terminals at a time when most people had never even heard of a computer that wasn't housed in a warehouse.



The great geniuses of our world, be it banjo players or engineers or plumbers, all got to where they are with a combination of early education, caring mentorship, and consistent dedication. Yes, it takes hard work from the individual to actually make it succeed. But absolutely anyone can do it, if they have those three things. And nobody can do it without those three things.






Seems obvious to me that neither you or the scientists are music teachers, ha ha!

wrench13 - Posted - 10/12/2023:  12:27:59


Make it yours.

tonygo - Posted - 10/12/2023:  20:03:02


It is not just being able to play well, it is being able to play well on demand, in front of others, when you don't particularly feel like it, to not get the yips, to be able to play the same things over and over and make it sound fresh. It is simply a combination of talents and abilities that sets who we consider the greats apart from the rest of us. But for the average person I say, play it like you mean it.

pickincat - Posted - 10/12/2023:  21:47:51


Just play what you feel and please yourself. We all can't be discovered as superstars. I think I can play a pretty mean banjo in clawhammer, bluegrass or old time styles. I'm not famous but my fingers now surprise me at what they can do. When my mind wants to hit a note my fingers seem to find a way whether they have to use the note with a pluck, a pick or a fingernail.

Steve Martin has always impressed me. He has shown that any song can be great no matter what style is or your forté, you are probably better than you think.

Omeboy - Posted - 10/12/2023:  23:03:11


On its face, it might seem elusive, but I think it's equal parts of God-given talent, hard work and unrelenting dedication to the art.
If any one of those things is missing, the goal of becoming a great player is not going to happen.

routou - Posted - 10/13/2023:  02:51:08


My humble opinion: Musicality and a sense of melody and rhythm. Technique is a plus, but not essential.

Sometimes sobriety (clear, precise, pleasant playing) is better than demonstrating technical knowledge.



It's like an opera singer: some have a technically impressive voice, but it can end up annoying. Others don't have a technically exceptional voice, but the timbre, warmth and emotions are there. That's the difference.


Edited by - routou on 10/13/2023 02:54:53

dtgolder - Posted - 10/13/2023:  06:57:56


Depends on your definition of "great" IMHO--



There'll always be someone better than you are--if you're constantly measuring yourself against an unattainable milestone, you'll always be disappointed.



Case in point: Jacob Collier (if you're not familiar with him, check out some of his YouTube videos: youtube.com/channel/UCtmY49Zn4...nTWfV7Wsg) -- his innate talent is breathtaking, and few (if any) other musicians (even "great" musicians) could ever hope to be able to compare.



Having said that, you will always be able to enjoy playing (and learning) if you measure "greatness" by what you are personally able to achieve. Measure yourself against your own capabilities, and enjoy the journey!



 

johnfoxhayes - Posted - 10/13/2023:  07:47:06


You can nurture talent but you can't create it. I practice a lot, my wife says why don't you do something your talented at. I just keep practicing anyway. My plan is to bludgeon my way to being good.

ButchRobins - Posted - 10/13/2023:  08:54:51


quote:

Originally posted by davidppp

Jens Kruger has often recounted his opportunity to play for Bill Monroe when he was 19. Jens had long-since mastered the styles of the great banjo players from before. Monroe acknowledged that he was playing very well but said he should go back home and play until he sounded like himself. (I'd say he's done that.)



More useful for us ordinary guys is something along the same lines that Jens once told me when I said: For just a single, isolated lick, even just a couple of notes, no matter how much I try and practice, I can't get the sound I like so much from a particular performance of his. He replied: the more you try and the more you practice, the more you sound like you.



Like all great aphorisms, it's obviously false but very, very true at the same time.






@davidppp - When I was about 16, Bill Monroe told me I needed to play like myself.  When I asked him how to do that, he told me to learn what all the other guys (Scruggs, Reno, Osborne, Shelton, etc.) do and then DON'T DO IT THAT WAY!  Sage advice that I've taken to heart!

RobertEarlDavis - Posted - 10/13/2023:  15:17:09


Whether it's about technique, practice routines, or anything else related to banjo playing...this is my recipe for good banjo playing

Firstly, it's essential to practice with a good rhythm machine or drum machine to develop a solid sense of rhythm and a strong downbeat. This foundation is crucial for achieving excellent tone and playing.

Secondly, consider letting go of any Scruggs-style licks you've learned or any habits you may have picked up over the years. Starting fresh can be incredibly liberating. Instead, focus on writing your own songs and instrumentals. When you play your banjo, keep the melody in mind and don't just fill space with licks. Playing in harmony with the melody is key.

After you've written 10 to 15 of your own songs, you'll start to develop a unique style, whether it's for better or worse. It's all part of the journey.

Best of luck with your banjo playing
Robert Earl Davis
The Earl Brothers



 

davidppp - Posted - 10/13/2023:  15:40:18


RobertEarlDavis -- I'd like to give a shout-out (I think that's what it's called) to Robert Earl Davis and The Earl Brothers. I read a review of The Earl Brothers' first CD when it came out, bought it, and made a point of going to hear them live at every opportunity in Southern California. It's too bad how the logistics of touring have changed.

For those who don't know, Mr. Davis is a Great Player. The music he writes and the way he plays are unique and really get to you.

(Bobby: My wife has a few chickens that she started as eggs. We have a big yard. So, it's easier than you've described. I find them quite charming, and I always think of you when they come running for a raisin.)

banjoak - Posted - 10/13/2023:  16:28:44


The OP question and title  -  "What makes a player a great player?" I interpreted as what qualities/metrics defines or gets the recognition as a great player? "How" to be a great player is perhaps different question, but would probably depend on first defining the "what"?



 



That said, worry/obsession or primary goal of achieving what other deem as "great player" title/status, or "star". trophies, awards; seems odd to me? Not having  title/status or goal myself, can't much advise what that's about. But, for myself, when I listen music, the in moment qualitative experience, is just if the music sounds good to me; not checklist of quantitative metrics; the players fame/designation of greatness, seems rather moot. Heard lot's of music that sounds good, from musicians that perhaps lack fame or greatness title. With that, reminded of quote.



Don't let idea of greatness/fame; get in the way of good.



Alternative to worry about whatever greatness/status...  is a goal is to simply make music that sounds good; as good as can. Take paths simply aiming identifying aspects what makes that music sound good; acquire and hone skills enough to achieve making good; and continue to expand/grow; what other possibilities, musical ideas, and what might make it better. Very individual pursuit that involves a degree self-directed learning aspect. Whatever lacks that others/critics might deem "greatness" designation...  at least found personally enjoyable rewarding experience, and a few others seem to enjoy; and even got me hired. [I can't but imagine most of those that others later declare "great player"... their path wasn't more focused on this primary goal as well?]



 



 

aandjcrosby - Posted - 10/13/2023:  19:19:19


Ron Block---the great banjoist with Allison Krause said something I saw and heard in a video some time ago. He was doing a workshop with a dozen or so students and he said this; "I don't practice like you guys do. You practice so you won't make a mistake. I practice so I CAN"T make a mistake!" Pretty profound and begs the question asking so how DO you practice? Sorry I don't remember if Ron addressed that but we can all list the components of good practice techniques like repetition til the cows come home and appraisal of how you sound using recordings, etc. Thanks to Ron Block!


----Jack Crosby, Hot Springs, AR

potassium2 - Posted - 10/13/2023:  23:39:04


quote:

Originally posted by wrench13

Make it yours.






J D Crowe once said to me, "I can always pick your playing out of a crowd."



I don't think he intended it as any kind of a compliment.

eccles - Posted - 10/14/2023:  03:45:16


My son despite never having had a lesson in his life is an amazing guitar player like his uncle (my bro) I just gave him my old but rather nice Spanish guitar and a few tips when he was about 8 and he never looked back. Despite my best efforts , I know that I will never be as skillful as he has become in despite any time spent/attempts by me. I also strongly suspect that if he picked up my banjo he would surpass my average talent in months. He is what is often called a "natural musician", one having built in skills like his uncle and surprisingly unaware of just how different he is from most other guys.

stanleytone - Posted - 10/14/2023:  04:26:16


This is such a good topic because there are so many things that go into making a great banjo player.

One thing i suggest is that if you dont have it get a copy  of Masters of the 5 String Banjo.

You will hear from some of the greatest banjo players of that era( 80s and earlier) as to what makes a great banjo player.

BHO's own Butch Robins, who has commented on this thread, is featured in the book. His interview is probably the most interesting of them all.


Edited by - stanleytone on 10/14/2023 04:27:44

Grammabanjo - Posted - 10/16/2023:  06:54:18


quote:

Originally posted by Omeboy

On its face, it might seem elusive, but I think it's equal parts of God-given talent, hard work and unrelenting dedication to the art.

If any one of those things is missing, the goal of becoming a great player is not going to happen.






So true! I just want to play for my grandchildren so they dance around the living room and enjoy the music and with my friends taking up an instrument late in life. I think if a musician plays to enrich the lives of others and enjoys the learning, instead of just for their ego, the 3-D's and 3-T's will fall into place and they will become great in the eyes of their listeners, no matter if its a living room or an auditorium. The pleasure of creating something beautiful for others will show up in their music. Child prodigies are rare, and not necessary to become an accomplished musician. Personal responsibility for success is key.

phb - Posted - 10/16/2023:  06:56:31


quote:

Originally posted by aandjcrosby

Ron Block ... was doing a workshop with a dozen or so students and he said this; "I don't practice like you guys do. You practice so you won't make a mistake. I practice so I CAN"T make a mistake!"






Pete Wernick said something similar about what's the difference between an amateur and a professional: the amateur practices until he can play a piece of music without mistake, the pro practices until he can't play it wrong.



 

phb - Posted - 10/16/2023:  06:57:58


quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

J D Crowe once said to me, "I can always pick your playing out of a crowd."



I don't think he intended it as any kind of a compliment.






Aren't you the guy in the striped pants in that Scruggs video on YouTube? You certainly stood out in the lot... :)



 

Grammabanjo - Posted - 10/16/2023:  06:58:24


quote:

Originally posted by johnfoxhayes

You can nurture talent but you can't create it. I practice a lot, my wife says why don't you do something your talented at. I just keep practicing anyway. My plan is to bludgeon my way to being good.






I am also trudging along the bludgeoning road to playing banjo for my own sense of accomplishment, not approval of others. Progress not perfection, one day at a time. hahaha

potassium2 - Posted - 10/16/2023:  08:25:24


quote:

Originally posted by phb

quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

J D Crowe once said to me, "I can always pick your playing out of a crowd."



I don't think he intended it as any kind of a compliment.






Aren't you the guy in the striped pants in that Scruggs video on YouTube? You certainly stood out in the lot... :)



Affirmative; and usually any comments such as yours are not intended as any kind of a compliment.  52+ years later, I'm still getting derision for that.






 

phb - Posted - 10/16/2023:  08:44:01


quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

quote:

Originally posted by phb

quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

J D Crowe once said to me, "I can always pick your playing out of a crowd."



I don't think he intended it as any kind of a compliment.






Aren't you the guy in the striped pants in that Scruggs video on YouTube? You certainly stood out in the lot... :)



Affirmative; and usually any comments such as yours are not intended as any kind of a compliment.  52+ years later, I'm still getting derision for that.







My apologies if my comment came across as derision. I have great respect for anyone that stood on a stage together with Earl Scruggs. I don't know how many times you met and talked to JD Crowe (he was there, too, on that occasion) but you did play something different than all the others and I assumed that this made your playing distinct.



 

chuckv97 - Posted - 10/16/2023:  09:00:48


quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

quote:

Originally posted by phb

quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

J D Crowe once said to me, "I can always pick your playing out of a crowd."



I don't think he intended it as any kind of a compliment.






Aren't you the guy in the striped pants in that Scruggs video on YouTube? You certainly stood out in the lot... :)



Affirmative; and usually any comments such as yours are not intended as any kind of a compliment.  52+ years later, I'm still getting derision for that.






 






I like the striped pants look,, I had a pair back in the day , (no, I wasn't doing prison time),,, sans banjo, though


Edited by - chuckv97 on 10/16/2023 09:02:33

Owen - Posted - 10/16/2023:  09:02:39


quote:

Originally posted by johnfoxhayes

You can nurture talent but you can't create it. I practice a lot, my wife says why don't you do something your talented at. I just keep practicing anyway. My plan is to bludgeon my way to being good.






Makes sense to me.    Re. bludgeon my way to being good, I figure [hope?] that I've got sufficient talent so that, with enough practice, one of these years I'll reach the "not crappy" plateau.



My mammy occasionally used the expression, "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."



I sometimes make comparisons to other occupations [teaching in particular] and see that some have what I call "the spark" and become superior teachers, while those that lack that intangible don't seem to ever get to the same level regardless of the work they put into it.  I suppose it's what's widely known as the "it" factor.


Edited by - Owen on 10/16/2023 09:04:02

potassium2 - Posted - 10/16/2023:  09:51:29


quote:

Originally posted by phb

quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

quote:

Originally posted by phb

quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

J D Crowe once said to me, "I can always pick your playing out of a crowd."



I don't think he intended it as any kind of a compliment.






Aren't you the guy in the striped pants in that Scruggs video on YouTube? You certainly stood out in the lot... :)



Affirmative; and usually any comments such as yours are not intended as any kind of a compliment.  52+ years later, I'm still getting derision for that.







My apologies if my comment came across as derision. I have great respect for anyone that stood on a stage together with Earl Scruggs. I don't know how many times you met and talked to JD Crowe (he was there, too, on that occasion) but you did play something different than all the others and I assumed that this made your playing distinct.



Apology accepted; your lack of intended derision is the exception to what I usually receive.



 



 






 

Tractor1 - Posted - 10/16/2023:  10:02:36


quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

quote:

Originally posted by phb

quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

J D Crowe once said to me, "I can always pick your playing out of a crowd."



I don't think he intended it as any kind of a compliment.






Aren't you the guy in the striped pants in that Scruggs video on YouTube? You certainly stood out in the lot... :)



Affirmative; and usually any comments such as yours are not intended as any kind of a compliment.  52+ years later, I'm still getting derision for that.






 


 




anti establishment--hippy era--but yes Earl sure as hell didn't want no war either and accidently git caught on the crossfire



all we were doing was thinking we could ==get the older generation to quit fighting and shooting each other---99% became the ones we thought we were changing--



make love not war ran into the love for being hateful by  those that really had no true aspiration or were smart enough to know mankind better


Edited by - Tractor1 on 10/16/2023 10:05:52

wrench13 - Posted - 10/17/2023:  05:05:52


quote:

Originally posted by potassium2

quote:

Originally posted by wrench13

Make it yours.






J D Crowe once said to me, "I can always pick your playing out of a crowd."



I don't think he intended it as any kind of a compliment.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



I have always cultivated my own way of playing, incorporating what I like and rejecting what I don't.  I sound like me, something that several excellent professionals have noted.  Don't think JD was putting you down!  MY  banjo journey is barely begun, but fiddle and guitar - many decades of making music that sounds like me.  






 

KCJones - Posted - 10/17/2023:  07:54:37


potassium2 Rick of course you know this but just ignore the haters. I've always enjoyed your contribution to that exhibition, because in a long line of banjo players all doing literally the exact same thing, you're the only one that actually stands out. Of course there's a lot of amazing talent on that stage, no disrespect to them, but it seems to me that a lot of talent is wasted on trying to copy another person verbatim.

Earl Scruggs himself felt the banjo was a progressive instrument, he went on record many times saying he didn't want the banjo to be boxed into the same old sound. His later career shows this as well, he was tearing down boundaries and trying new things. What you were doing was exactly what Earl Scruggs wanted to be done with the banjo. You should be proud of that.

Tractor1 - Posted - 10/17/2023:  08:46:00


as much as I agree--that stairstep scales were great and melodics were coming of age--hindsight being 2020--it really did not fit the Earl toast atmosphere of that moment--
I have asked around here and got 2 Earl quotes on melodics--He supposedly said Bobby Thompson's He Haw break was cool--another time he mentioned that melodics lacked some rhythm capabilities---the reason I asked was because his smile disappeared----when the melodic break was played--and that got me wondering---He was super courteous and not about to diss anybody's playing--He could hear and do so much--within the scruggs style --which certainly was not void of scale type passages---but did not neglect the use of chord tone tricks---

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