Posted by Big Doug on Saturday, April 12, 2014
When I was about ten years old I heard a couple of local musicians play some music. I was really taken by the intriguing sound. One was playing a guitar and the other a banjo. I thought that if I ever chose to play an instrument I would l pick the banjo because everyone played the guitar, if I played the banjo I would be special. Looking back now I am assuming it must have been a tenor banjo. At the time I had no idea that there was more than one kind of banjo. I had not heard the words tenor, 5 string, or plectrum. As far as I can remember that is the only banjo player that I had heard up to my early teenage years.
When I got to my late teens I saw a few banjos being played on TV. Some of the Folk singers and groups such as Pete Seeger, and the Kingston trio were using the banjo. My most favorable impressions, however, came from the banjo players on the old Hee Haw TV show.
I moved from the farm to the big city to go to college. After I was married and still in college I bought my first banjo.
I went to a music store and bought a used Vega 5 string open back for $100. At the time I still didn't know that there was a difference in banjos or banjo playing styles. I did think that I noticed that some banjos had longer necks than others.
I found a fellow college student that was from "the south," he gave me a few lessons. He played the Three Finger Scruggs style. So that is what I learned.
I got drafted into the army and my first assignment after basic training was in Texas. Again I found a teacher that gave me a couple of lessons.
After my discharge from the army my first employment was in Va. This was much more old time, bluegrass music country than in Utah and Idaho where I grew up. After five years I again moved to a place where this mountain music, was not as popular.
Unfortunately, because of time I was spending with my job and my growing family and not getting hooked up with any fellow musicians I lost interest and the banjo did not get played. In fact I gave it away (to a family member.)
After I retired from my employment I had an experience that got me interested in the banjo again. I discovered the Banjo Hangout site. It was there that I found a nice Recording King banjo for sale that I purchased. The Banjo Hangout site has been invaluable for me. I still feel like a newbie but am learning something new every time I visit the site from the kind helpful members that have such a vast array of experience. I am amazed at how many people that are willing to help us new players.
I am now hooked up with a group in my area that plays bluegrass and old time music and are kind enough to let me jam and play with them. Also my local city senior citizens center offers a bluegrass band class for us seniors. We have a wonderful young teacher that charges a small amount for our weekly lessons. I am also fortunate to have a good wife that is also interested in the same kind of music and gives me encouragement. She is also quite tolerant when I want to buy a new banjo that I tell her is an upgrade and will make me a better player, plus be such a good investment. Most of the time she does not complain about the bad noise when I practice.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 @8:45:12 AM
Doug, hate to tell ya but you're not a new player. You're just now taking the rust off from your earlier years of playing. Enjoy :-).
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