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Coming Along... Slowly...

Posted by iSteve on Monday, March 12, 2012

First, let me thank everyone who responded to my last blog posting, "Freaking Out."  I hope you know I was using hyperbole.  But it is true that I have been a bit overwhelmed as a beginner.

I'm looking forward to Wednesday night when I meet with my new banjo teacher.  I'm looking forward to the accountability of taking lessons.  I hope my teacher will give me some direction.

I'm still working on chords and rolls.  I have a little book where I make notes to myself about what I am learning.  That helps a lot.

I downloaded a beginner's version tab of "Ashokan Farewell" and have been using that to pick out familiar notes.  I won't go so far as to say that I am playing it - I'm not there yet.  Just using a familiar piece of music to help me understand the process of playing from tabs.

In my office, I have my banjo set up on a floor stand next to my chair and music stand.  It's never out of sight, reminding me to practice when I can.

I do appreciate all the encouragement that I have received from the BHO.  You folks are great!



8 comments on “Coming Along... Slowly...”

Oldballz Says:
Monday, March 12, 2012 @4:37:53 PM

You should try yankee doodle or itsie bitsie spider.i find if I know the rythem of a song it is easier to play. Happy pickn.

pastorharry Says:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @1:21:42 AM

I must say, Ashokan farewell is a valient undertaking, but probably not the best choice to get you "going banjo". It's not a banjo tune, it's a fiddle tune, and it's slow and dreary,(IMO). Get some Cindy and John Henry and Cripple Creek tabs... better yet,LISTEN to those tunes and mimic them-learn as much as possible by'a just a banjo, have don't have to be Paganini..LOL!

erikforgod Says:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @5:03:27 AM

Stephen I second Pastor Harrys comment...also are you going to try your hand at 3-finger bluegrass picking or clawhammer? Either way songs like "Tom Dooley" Boil Em Cabbage Down" or "Cripple Creek" are better to get started with regarding basics...dont want to see you burning out before you have even got started. If you are feeling overwhelmed its good to listen to that..gotta walk before you can run.

iSteve Says:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @10:59:30 AM

I picked "Ashokan Farewell" because I know the song well and it's one of my absolute favorites. Yes, it is a fiddle tune, but so many banjo songs come from the fiddle. I just thought it would be nice to start with something that touches my heart. "Ashokan Farewell" does that. I would object to calling it dreary. It's a sad sweetness of a lover addressing someone he knows he will never see again.

Banjov1 Says:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @1:18:36 PM

Ashoken Farewell is a GREAT tune, (I think instead of dreary maybe a better term would have been "haunting") but unless you're playing an arrangement most of us are unfamiliar with, I'm not sure how "easily" it would translate to basic beginner roll patterns. I'd echo the sentiments of those above to finding maybe a more traditional tune to begin with. Hopefully one that you're familiar with and one that shows up in a lot of beginner bluegrass lessons.

iSteve Says:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @1:26:59 PM

I got the tab from the BHO. It was listed as "beginner." Y'all don't worry too much. I am passing time until tomorrow night when I put myself in the capable hands of my banjo teacher. I promise to start slow and simple. :)


banjo_neophyte Says:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @8:08:19 PM

I've been on a couple of fiddle tunes (Blackberry Blossom and St Annne's Reel) and it has taken me most of the winter to get the tunes in my head and on to my fingers on both hands. I am no where near fiddle speed and consequently it does not quite sound like a fiddle tune, yet. Mechanically i can play the tunes, but it sounds like a I am playing a string of phone numbers. Good luck!

kc8tby Says:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @11:20:13 PM

I am also just starting out and, as a former President once said; "I feel your pain!" LOL!
My big problem is getting my left hand to form those darn chords correctly!!
I just started working with a teacher as well, Stephen. Although I have only had one lesson (to date), already I can see where it really is going to be a big help to me in the long run.
Best of luck to you with your new teacher, Stephen!!

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