Posted by AndyC100 on Sunday, April 13, 2014
I was presented with my 5 string banjo as a birthday gift from my family who also gave me a tuition DVD from the "Banjo Rookie" series. The banjo was out the box and did require a bit of setting up such as setting the bridge and tuning the banjo, all of this information was available from this site through various links that I followed, one of which being Rick McKeon's "Banjo University".
Having initially set up I was very eager to proceed and pump out a few notes in an attempt to get something sweet sounding from the instrument. The initial lessons from the DVD introduce some of the basic rolls ie Forward, Backward, Forward Reverse and the mixed (alternating roll), I'm aware that there are differing types of names given to them and the sequencing may also differ from player to player but thought it best to stick with one style until I have more knowledge to be able to experiment with the differing sequences.
So the practicing begins, had approx 3 hours practice today (Sunday 13th April 2014) going though the basic rolls, and about half way through I decided to move the arm rest further round as my forearm was catching on the edge of it causing some discomfort whilst playing, again this may move in the future when I become more and more familiar with the ways of playing this instrument. I will add that I have never played a string instrument before although many many many years ago (when I was a mere 16) I did learn to play the bagpipes of all instruments, this was for approximately two years during my initial army training.
I have now memorised 3 of the 4 basic rolls but find the forward reverse the trickiest to recall, this I'm sure will come during the next weeks practice, I hope to put in at least 1/2 hour each evening after work, possibly more where time allows.
Whilst watching the DVD a couple of basic chords were also introduced to practice as I progress, these being G, C & D7. I have memorised these although playing them is a little tricky at present particularly with the C chord as I keep catching the 1st string causing it to buzz, this I hope will be cured with practice.
There is a local guy who tutors on the banjo and I am hoping to make contact with him to take a few lessons but my preference would be to learn some of the basic rolls first to a reasonably proficient level.
If anyone is following this I would be more than happy to take on board any advise you may like to give, in the meantime I will keep on practicing and hopefully my enthusiasm and self determination will continue...
Thursday, April 17, 2014 @4:11:27 PM
Hi Andy, sounds like you are doing all the right things. Can I suggest, if you are not already using them, get yourself a set of finger picks. You will need them eventual so better sooner rather than later. I've been playing since October and have recently started using picks and getting used to them has been really hard having got so far without using them. The upside is that they will give you much better separation on the notes and a better attack and of course much more volume. On that note, if you need to quieten your playing down try pushing a soft cloth between the inside of the head and the torsion rod this will reduce the volume quite a bit. Regards Banjules
Friday, April 18, 2014 @1:40:27 AM
Banjules, many thanks for your comment, I have indeed now invested in a set of picks and wow what a difference in clarity of each note and general loudness. They do feel a little uncomfortable but Im sure that will soon become less so as I progress.
Friday, April 18, 2014 @1:01:28 PM
Andy, sounds like you're doing fine so far! The only advice I'd give at this stage is to to take things very slowly, try not to get frustrated, and most importantly, to have fun with it! Looking forward to seeing how you progress - keep us posted!
Saturday, April 19, 2014 @5:25:20 AM
Andy, if your not already using one a metronome is a must, playing a roll is one things but keeping your notes evenly spaced is another, which is timing, and as I tell everyone timing is everything. Good luck
Saturday, April 19, 2014 @10:09:57 AM
Some great advise, thank you very much guys, keep in touch with the blog updates...
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