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Week 2...

Posted by AndyC100 on Monday, April 28, 2014

Wow, week 2 already doesn't time fly by when your having fun, I managed to spend quite a bit of time at the weekend practicing with the banjo although Friday night was written off as I went to a gig, unfortunately not bluegrass, although that is on the cards in the near future.  But to see and old band that I use to like back in the 80's, "The Beat" with Rankin Roger was in town performing to a small audience of about 150 which was absolutely amazing.

Anyway back to the practicing, managed quite a few 1 hour sessions on the banjo and really pleased with the way "Boil them Cabbages Down" is coming along, I seem to be rattling that off to a 120 bpm almost note perfect, seem to get get a couple of repeats in then I seem to think about what I am doing and thats where the few bum notes come, seems that the less I think about it the better the tune is played.  I have recorded myself a couple of times (not yet ready to post :) but I can hear the improvement over just a couple of days).

I have also started to learn the ever popular "Cripple Creek", one thing that I have noticed is that there seems to be quite a few different versions out there, although the one in Mel Bay "You Can Teach Yourself Banjo" is the same one as on Bill Nesbitt's site which does help having the play along jam sessions, as I don't have the cd version of the book.

I have now memorised the basic tune and can now play it to a speed of 80 bpm and quite enjoyed the experience of learning new techniques such as the slide, pull-off and hammer, although I do find myself hitting a couple of other strings when I shouldn't, this I'm sure will improve in time and pleased with my progress so far, there are alternative sections that play up the neck on this tune and I will learn these once I am happy with the main section.

I am very conscious of not going too far in the book too quickly but did jump a few to make a start on Cripple Creek, and will revisit these later this week.

I deliberately gave myself extras time this past weekend as I am up to Geordie Land (Newcastle) over the bank holiday visiting my son and wont be able to take the banjo with me, but will maybe get some tips from him as he plays a wicked guitar and now learning the mandolin.

Again, I very must appreciate the comments and advise on my previous blog and do try to take it all on board in the  hope of continuing my progress...

3 comments on “Week 2...”

Debs Says:
Thursday, May 1, 2014 @6:51:11 AM

Hi Andy

Glad to hear it's going well - I think your blog is a great idea! Just try not to get too hung up on how many BPM you're playing (I know, it's difficult not to!) but at this very early stage it is really not that important. The thing is to go for accuracy and clarity, and the speed will come naturally with time. It sounds like you are already developing muscle memory - this is good! Keep it up, and before you know it you'll be posting a tune for us on the Hangout.

By the way, they do allow banjos in Newcastle, you know!!! ;-)

AndyC100 Says:
Thursday, May 1, 2014 @11:30:15 AM

Hi Debs, thanks again for your comment, the blog is probably something that I will try to look back on as a measure of how much (or little) that I have improved over time. I understand what you say about not getting hung up on bpm and Im hoping that I'm not, merely using it as a simple measure but primarily to maintain the timing of each tune and as and when speed does increase it will hopefully increase over all parts of each tune.

Unfortunately, the banjo must stay behind as we are flying up north and only have walk-on baggage...

Thanks again.. :)

Debs Says:
Thursday, May 1, 2014 @12:02:19 PM

Hi Andy

Your blog is a great measure of how you're progressing, definitely something for you to look back on, particularly if/when you reach a plateau (you almost certainly will, I think everyone does from time to time. and it happens throughout the different stages of your playing - it's not just a beginner thing). It's also nice for other people to see you progressing - you might not realise it now, but it will be very encouraging for other beginners to read what you write, so you're probably already inspiring people without realising it! The "need for speed" is a natural thing, I guess there aren't many players that don't aspire to getting a little faster, but it will come, almost imperceptably, and if you've got the foundation of clean, accurate picking and good timing behind you, then you're on your way to being a truly great player!

Enjoy your weekend (by the way, it's very cold up north at the moment so pack warm clothes!!) It's a shame you can't take the banjo. It will be waiting for you when you get home though, so enjoy it when you get back, and keep on posting your progress!

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