Posted by banjopogo on Thursday, June 16, 2011
Sometime last year I put new medium strings on my Hohner Travel Banjo (pictured in avatar). At first I didn't like them (see the blog entry before the last one!), but I've been slowly warming up to them, and now I realize they make the short neck banjo MUCH easier to play.
Before the banjo sounded good, but it was harder to keep in tune and learn new tunes on it.
I normally keep it tuned to 2 C's, but a whole step higher as if it were capoed. It's my only banjo.
The strings felt really spongy before, and it was hard to play accurately. Now I can be much more precise.
I also discovered that I can now ease off and play more lightly, and that's making my middle fingernail last longer without breaking. Maybe eating lots of a kind of yogurt that has gelatin in it helps too!!! It's a great relief, because I had gotten the picks working with the light gauge that came on the banjo, but they weren't working with the medium gauge strings.
So I've been playing more. I used to just play a medley of well-known minstrel banjo tunes at senior performances, but now I'm actually playing it at home too. And I'm playing lots of different stuff... some Old Time mountain tunes and songs, but also spirituals and even a couple of Beatle songs with a suitable rhythm.
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