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Still Pickin'

Posted by chuckles50 on Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yikes! It's been a year since I posted a blog. I continue to practice almost daily on my Deering Hartford banjo. A couple of months ago now, I had the first 5 or so frets re-dressed and had a pro setup done. It plays like new. The only modification I made is changing the bridge to an Emerson Sweet II power bridge from the factory issue bridge it came with. A solid improvement in tone, sustain and clarity.

Lately I have made attempts to play without the aid of tablature. This represents a major change for me. I'm not being overly successful at present, but I perservere. I've played along singing John Denver's "Country Roads" as well as "Abilene", an old George Hamilton IV tune. I continue to use tab for the classic tunes. I am finally getting around to Foggy Mountain Breakdown and am having some success using the Earls Scruggs 5 string banjo book. I know there are many variations of this, but I might as well begin with the master's design. Perhaps I'll have gotten FMB to an acceptable level in another year or so! 

I play best in the morning, before noon. I guess that's when I'm most alert, have the most patience and and am fresh. I tend to get sloppy after 45 minutes of solid practice, so I knock it off, play the guitar and quite often come back after a couple of hours. I'm best when I start slow. I know I rush certain breaks too much as I know some licks much better than others.

This routine of practice is sometimes tough on the creeping arthritis in a few of my fingers, but after I warm up, things improve. I hope it's good exercise for my brain as well. I'd like to keep any/all Alzheimer's demons away.

I quite like the new Banjo Hangout T-shirt designs for 2010. Number 1 is my favorite, but it seems the majority prefer number 3. That's just fine with me.




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