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One string at a time Oh string at a time!

Posted by kc8tby on Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sorry to disappoint you folks, but no, those aren't the words to a new and poorly written folk tune I am composing, rather they are some guidlines I am using to help me become a better and less " frustrated" banjo learner.  (Notice I didn't say "player" because what I do with the banjo is far, far removed from actually being called "playing" the banjo!)  :)

A few weeks back I was getting very frustrated because I just simply couldn't learn to play a good, clear, bum-ditty strum no matter how hard I tried!  I was having a problem with the very first string that I would attempt to strike.  What was happening was that instead of hitting just the ONE string I was aiming for, (let's say the first string), nine times out of ten I would end up hitting a second string as well!  Bad form right (?)  and not, in any way shape or manner, could I say that I was making any sort of progress in my attempts to learn the very basics of this so, so fundamental element of clawhammer style banjo playing!

Well, I took my frustrations right to one of  the forums on-line here at the BHO and I asked the members for some advice.  WOW, did I ever get some great advice as well as some well needed encouragement as well!

In short,  most of the advice centered on my need to slow it down a bit.  I was adviced to go back a few notches and practice string ONE string, over and over and over again UNTIL I knew I could strike the intended string clearly and efficiently each time. The key seemed to be to slow down and not to expect too much "advancement" too soon!  Advice well taken!  I also learned that I was striking the string(s) in a somewhat incorrect manner.  One of the members pointed out to me a method of string down on each string with an angle that certainly seems to have helped me quite a bit! 

I continue to be very thankful to so many of you guys and gals here that are more than willing to lend a helping hand to those of us who are just starting out and struggling somewhat in our efforts to learn!  By the way, if anyone else is struggling along as I am, I highly recommend Tony's  "Rocket Science Banjo" as a great resource toward learning.

I also recommend taking a good look at Zepp's "clear head" instructional videos available on-line as well!  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!!  Thanks Zepp!

Thanks Tony and thank you to everyone else here who continue to make our learning curve just a little bit sweeter!


1 comment on “One string at a time Oh string at a time!”

kcjc69 Says:
Sunday, November 14, 2010 @4:51:55 PM

Tom, this is a great place for those of us just learning to play. Good to see you were able to connect with some good advise. Stay the course,

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