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Finally Joined

Posted by alabanjobelle on Thursday, August 4, 2011

Well, I have been following Banjo Hangout for years but finally joined.   My last child goes off to Auburn tomorrow, so I will have more time to work on my banjo playing.  I am even going to take lessons to work on my up the neck playing.  The banjo I had growing up had a terrible fret action and couldn't be fixed, so I had to play everything at the far end.  

I love playing banjo and bluegrass seems to be entwined with my "soul" so to speak.  I grew up going to the Athens Fiddler's convention and competed when I weighed about 55 lbs and was about 12 years old.  My dad took me to numerous bluegrass festivals, the Bill Monroe festival in Cosby Tennessee and the one at Horse Pens 40 in LA (Lower Alabama).  Looking back, I wish I could vividly remember seeing Bill and the legands of bluegrass, but I mostly just remember the hippies and biscuits. 

I play with a local bluegrass band "Madison Mountaintop Band" and we have been together since 2001.  We have a facebook page by that name.  We don't take ourselves very seriously, mostly playing for private and local events.  We said we had completed our "world tour" after two local concerts this summer.   We have developed a more western swing style of bluegrass.  

Maybe I can learn a few things here.  I am not mechanically oriented, so I need to learn to manage my banjo as far as set-up goes.  I also FINALLY got rid of those Earnie Ball pickie picks, the pointed ones.  They kill your tone, but I learned on them.  It took a year, but I feel comfortable now without them and sound so much better.  I need to throw them in the trash so I'll never be tempted again to use them.

I got to see Steeldrivers in Nashville a couple of weeks ago at the Station Inn.  I intently watched their banjo player all evening.  He is amazing.  He plays a lot of blues type of licks which are not traditional to Scruggs style.  I love the newer sound he has developed.  He has a light touch on the strings too.  Was awesome to sit a few feet away for 2 1/2 hours.

 I guess that's about it for now.  I am waiting on my banjo teacher to get healed up from a shoulder repair.  Then I'm ready to do some serious work on improving.  

I feel fortunate to have learned at a young age and I admire any adult who is willing to learn.


11 comments on “Finally Joined”

kevinwholmes Says:
Thursday, August 4, 2011 @11:19:00 PM

Welcome. Great group, nice people eager to learn and help.

sport Says:
Friday, August 5, 2011 @4:10:48 AM

Welcome on board
BHO is a treasure of info (for building) tabs, and good music you can't find anywhere else.
Fr Kevin

RatLer Says:
Friday, August 5, 2011 @4:24:38 AM

Welcome to the Hangout.....

alabanjobelle Says:
Friday, August 5, 2011 @6:56:46 AM

Thanks y'all I am excited about it! It's like a Facebook for banjo players!

kevinwholmes Says:
Friday, August 5, 2011 @7:40:12 AM

Better, more focused, fewer bugs.

dthomas Says:
Friday, August 5, 2011 @11:05:57 AM

welcome a board!!!

erikforgod Says:
Friday, August 5, 2011 @12:03:41 PM


Bill Anderson Says:
Friday, August 5, 2011 @1:18:53 PM

Welcome to the hangout, I love it.......Bill

Scooter Muse Says:
Saturday, August 6, 2011 @5:59:56 AM

Welcome to BHO....Yeah - Gary Nichols with the Steel Drivers is a long time friend who lives here in the Shoals area. Good guy - great player.

alabanjobelle Says:
Saturday, August 6, 2011 @9:50:28 PM

Scooter, I noticed when they announced Gary that he was from Florence. I was amazed that he was able to sing so well you didn't even realize he wasn't Chris! He even milled around with the audience at the station inn during the break and spoke with me.

Scooter Muse Says:
Monday, August 8, 2011 @8:37:12 AM

Oh yeah - Gary was great when he was 14...Hes a great guy as you already know but really a rock&roller at heart and even had a big country deal going which fell apart for some reason. I do all the banjo work for the Muscle Shoals studios here and I run into Gary during some of those sessions. I always forget to ask him how the hell he ended up in a Bluegrass band.....Got to remember to do that next time I see him. But he enjoys playing with them...I do know that. Nice to meet you -- .....

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