Posted by jrjenks on Sunday, March 21, 2010
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 3/7/2010 through 3/13/2010.
I've been playing the banjo for nearly three years now and I still couldn't finger the first major chord position well if my life depended on it.
An aside: Most of you might be used to the term "F form" instead of "first major chord position." "F chord" is how I refered to this chord position in in October of 2007 when I first wrote about my inability to do it. There are a lot of people who refer to these three major chord positions...
... as (respectively) "F form," "D form" and "barre form."
But I think the terms "first major chord position," "second major chord position" and "third major chord position" make more sense because the root notes of these chord positions are on the first, second and third strings. I first encountered this nomenclature at Midwest Banjo Camp, where somebody or other told me that Alan Munde uses these terms.
Okay, enough with the aside. Back to how bad I am at doing it.
I can sorta/kinda finger this form slowly. But what I can't do is to pop right into it the way I can pop quickly between the first position C and first position D7.
How am I going to teach my fingers to switch quickly into this chord position?
For starters I'm going to find recordings for a bunch of 2-chord songs. Pete Wernick's got a good list.
Then I'm going to practice by playing these songs in a loop doing a basic strum (or boom-chick) as I switch in and out of chords that use the first major chord position.
For example John Henry is a 2-chord song that Steve Martin plays slowly in the key of G (on The Steve Martin Brothers CD). I'll play along with this song, switching between these chords...
...over and over until I burn the chord position into my brain.
Things I learned at this week's banjo lesson:
Also in the last week:
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'Anchoring Pinky??' 1 hr
'Good Tuesday Morning' 4 hrs
'Making a Vacuum Trap.' 5 hrs
'Recording King Banjos' 8 hrs
'Caravan' 9 hrs