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8th of February

Posted by Enviroguy on Friday, February 16, 2007

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks. You just gotta be patient with those old dogs. Thanks to several years of messing around on the banjo, and three years of attendance at the Sorrento, B.C. Bluegrass workshops under the tutelage of Dick Brown (Lost Highway) , Richard Bailey and Nick Hornbuckle (the Jaybirds) along with many lessons from Toronto's own Chris Quinn of the Foggy Hogtown Boys, I think some skill is starting to permeate my aging brain cells.    Finding time to practice and just noodle around on my Price Knight banjo (a magnificent instrument, by the way) is the biggest challenge, especially when your family thinks you slipped into some kind of musical backwater.

It sure doesn't hurt to have a great bunch of friends who are into jamming in the Bluegrass genre. My best friends have come from musical activities.  It's interesting.. everybody else I know has some sort of axe to grind.. musical  folks just want to play and hear good music.     It's great to know people at a mix of different levels of playing ability and it's important to stretch your ability by getting in a bit over your head occasionally.  

Well, this is supposed to be a blog entry, so here's my entry for today.

February 16/07. It's cold here in Toronto.  I don't think I've seen a longer cold snap. Thank goodness we're only weeks away from turning the corner on winter and beginning to think spring. My annual spring banjo serenade to the neighbours from the back porch is not too far away. Lucky them.  I have a neighbour who wrecked three mature trees along our boundary, while building a wall. For him, I may buy a pickup and amplifier (just kidding). 

 I am contemplating buying  a prewar Gibson. After playing a friend's 30s vintage RB2,  I seem to have been bitten by the bug.  Amazing what prices you see on these - so I may have to look around for a while for a good investment on one. 

I am fascinated with my new Amazing Slowdowner. I've been trying to learn February the Eighth (John Reischman) as played by Dennis Caplinger in a masterful arrangement. Ian Perry tabbed this out in Banjo Newsletter and did a great job. Slowing it down and playing along has done a lot to help get the right feel and very slight syncopation/bounce in the melody.  Even if I never get this piece up to speed (I can do it about 85% performance speed) it's been excellent training for the old two finger TITITITITITITITI stuff.

That's it for now.


1 comment on “8th of February”

chuckles50 Says:
Saturday, February 17, 2007 @1:19:48 AM

It's great to see (read) a fellow Canuck wax poetic regarding his interests in banjo and bluegrass. Cudo's to you Dennis. I met Chris Quinn recently (October 2005) at the Brunswick House with the Foggies and am considering asking him for a lesson or two, so your comments on that issue are much appreciated. I wish I had started banjo pickin' a lot earlier in life but it's better late than never. I am contemplating the purchase of a second banjo myself, but hope to put a few more dollars in the piggy bank before I indulge.

All the best,


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