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Banjo versus TV: Week 63

Posted by jrjenks on Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s ongoing plan to spend more time on his banjo than on TV. This post covers 5/10/2009 through 5/16/2009.
Banjo 389 hrs, TV 371 hours

Remember how in week 61 I'd ordered two portable power speaker sets? Of course you remember. I only posted it about an hour and a half ago, because it's Memorial Day weekend and I'm catching up.

So never mind that question. The point is, I've compared the two and decided that I prefer the Panasonic RPSPT70 Folding Travel Speakers to the Sentry Clamshell Folding Amplified Speakers. The RPSPT70 sounds much better. Also, if your batteries are dead or the unit is switched off the RPSPT70 can still be used as a non-amplified speaker set. The Sentry model only works when it's got power.

The Sentry isn't without its advantages. Its smaller size and its rounded design is a better fit for a gig bag. And its power switch is kept inside when folded. That's important because the RPSPT70's outside-facing switch tends to get accidentally flipped when I travel. But still, good sound is good sound so I like the RPSPT70.


Things I learned at this week's banjo lesson:

  • I'm thinking of getting better tuners. Dave recommends planetary tuners.
  • I've been putting some thought into how I learn.
    • Most of the (few) licks that I know I learned by playing from tablature, memorizing the piece note-for-note.
    • Once the lick has entered my brain this way I can use it in another piece.
    • But I find it very hard to learn a lick simply by repeating the lick itself over and over, as I did when I struggled to learn the first lick of Bill Knopf's Hot Licks & Fiddle Tunes for the Bluegrass Banjo Player:

    • My conclusion: I need to start picking up some books again and learning their tabs, note-for-note. But I need to be very direct about why I want to learn a particular tab, to avoid the trap of just planing things that sound nice. I want to play things that will teach me the stuff I need to know.
  • We explore some ways to create simple variations, like changing some open notes in a song to other notes.


Also in the last week:

Cross-posted at J.R. Jenks' blog


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