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Week 1...

Posted by AndyC100 on Sunday, April 20, 2014

It has been a whole week since being presented with my banjo and the time has literally flown by (albeit only 7 days), the first three days were quite difficult as being at work and all I wanted to do was to pay on the instrument and had to patiently wait until I got home from work, from Thursday I had the day off to lay a new patio in the garden and from then to now has been the Easter bank holiday in the UK.

I have played the banjo every day for at least 1 hour sometimes two trying to get to grips with the basic rolls and chords and has been very difficult not to be tempted to move through the book before I am ready.  I am now at lesson three in the Janet Davies "teach yourself banjo" which is the very first tune to play, "bile dem cabbage down" comprising of the forward roll pattern and using the open G, the C and the D7 chords and bringing in a pinch at the end of the tab.

The tips of the fingers on the left hand are starting to get a tadge sore tho this is expected and does not effect my playing yet.

Thanks to Banjules, Debs and jonah4832 for taking the time to comment and offer advice which I have taken on board, it is very much appreciated. 

Banjules, I am now using picks, two metal on the fingers and a plastic thumb pick (I still dont know why the mix of materials but I'm sure this will become known in time) these certainly improve clarity to the tone and certainly loudness.

Debs, your advice on progressing slowly has also been invaluable, the temptation to motor through is certainly not the answer but to master the basics right from the beginning rather than having to come back to them later.  I now warm up the fingers by practicing the rolls at the beginning of each session.

jonah4832, sound advice on using a metronome, I now have one downloaded as an app on my phone and also using this to gradually increase my speed with the rolls ensuring that I can keep up with the tempo with no bum notes.

I have now got myself a stand for the banjo and it is now always readily available to pick up and start playing, the first few days I found that I was constantly re-tuning but now appears that the strings and the instrument have settle down and only needs the odd tweak at the start of playing.

Thanks to all who popped by and I hope to continue the blog as I progress through playing, the next will probably be in a couple of weeks by which time I hope to have nailed (or certainly improved with the first song, and also to have smoother transitions of my left hand whilst changing chords....

Again, please feel free to offer any advice that you feel may help, or any tips that you found helped you guys out when you first started, thanks again....


4 comments on “Week 1...”

Banjules Says:
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 @6:18:10 AM

Hi Andy, thanks for the comments above, you are very welcome. Have a look at this archived forum on this site "Metal vs. plastic picks vs. no picks" which may answer your question, I think it is due to the power of the thumb. Good blog keep up the good work

Debs Says:
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 @8:04:49 AM

Glad the advice helped, Andy. Something else that might help is to record yourself while you're practicing. First of all, it can help to conquer "performance nerves". Secondly, you will be able to hear just how much you've progressed since you started - useful if you get one of those 'plateau' moments when you think you're not getting anywhere!

jonah4832 Says:
Thursday, April 24, 2014 @5:31:42 AM

Glad we can all be of help, one other thing is listen ahead of time. in other words don't start working on all the songs in your book but do start listening to them and get them in your head, it will make the learning process so much easier. Pete wernick gave me some great advice when i started only two months in, I had cut my right middle picking finger and thought i could not practice, however he said it was a freat time to work on my left hand, not sure if your book has the three major chord positions in it but if not you can find them on the net, set your metronome up to a slow speed and work on these chord, to begin with place your fingers and hold for a few seconds and release, then again, it build up the musle memeory in your left hand, and once you can do this they are movable patterns so you can move all ove the neck. but keep it at check, bout 5 to 10 mins aday on these.

AndyC100 Says:
Monday, April 28, 2014 @12:16:50 PM

thanks again for your advise guys, it is all very welcome and I certainly seem to be progressing more than I could hope for although I am managing to put the hours in particularly over the last weekend, although hopefully not over doing it, just having an hour or so each sitting then resting up for a bit...

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