Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

oh yeah

Posted by pcfive on Saturday, February 18, 2012

I am feeling very positive about my banjo progress lately. Other things are not going so great, which makes the banjo even more important. I always loved practicing, even back when it did not sound so good. Well in fact, it sounded pretty bad. But I knew it would keep getting better if I practice faithfully.

Last fall I got my RK 35, my first real bluegrass banjo. That made jamming more fun because now they can hear me across the room. I was already inspired, but the RK inspired me more. (I still practice mostly with my Goodtime though, because it does have a very nice sound.) 

Then, a month or two or three ago (losing track of time these days), I realized the benefit of slow practice. And I have been using the backing tracks here in the music archive, and I think they are great, so glad someone was generous enough to post them.

I practice at least 2 hours every day, more on days off. And I have been doing that for quite a while, and it sure does make a difference. My focus, for at least the past 3 years, has been on timing and tone and rhythm. I'm always learning songs, but that is secondary, not the focus. 

My timing, tone and rhythm still have a long way to go, but boy have they improved, especially very recently. I record myself about once a week to check progress, and the recordings today were not so bad at all.

Timing is getting more even and precise -- when I practice slow I really think about every little space between every little note. This causes them to even out, either when playing slow or fast.

Tone is really so much better also. I love the sound of banjo notes so much. To me, each note is like a hard little pebble. As opposed to fiddle notes which are like silk threads (why fiddle and banjo can sound so good together -- their sounds are opposite!)

I also think of Scruggs style banjo as sort of machine-like. In a good sense, I mean. 

So, not happy with everything these days but I sure am happy with banjo practice and jamming.

Also, I sing a lot now. I found that people at the jam sessions can follow my songs better if they have vocals. For example, I learned the words to Fireball Mail. I start out by singing a verse, then play an instrumental, and then another verse, etc. 

So, in general, having a great time with the banjo and making progress, and it is helping me stay positive and get through some non-ideal situations at work. 

The banjo is by far the best instrument for helping us stay positive! And learning any instrument is wonderful because it gives you goals and a sense of progress. There is ALWAYS more to learn.

Oh, and I also started getting back to melodic style a little. I had put that on hold because I wanted to really once and for all learn the Scruggs style. Of course I can't say I have learned the Scruggs style.

But I love melodic style, and I like mixing the two styles (as in Alan Munde style). And I love fiddle tunes. My current favorite is Black Mountain Rag.






Be the first to comment on “oh yeah”

You must sign into your myHangout account before you can post comments.

More posts from pcfive

Newest Posts

More >  

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories