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new player

Posted by diggerdave on Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm 71 years old and never played an instrument. I decided to start with the fiddle. I'm Irish and love the Irish sessions in pubs. What was I thinking? The hardest instrument to learn. Was in Halifax, NS last month at a session. One was playing the banjo and it sounded great at the session. He told me that the 4 string Irish banjo is tuned just like the fiddle. So I switched. Much better. No bowing and I don't suffer from fret envy any more. It also helps with the fiddle. Now I can find the notes. 

Got a teacher who does 4 string and also mandolin. So off and running. 

There is a beginner slow Irish music group who is very accepting of new players. Soon as I can figure out all the notes I'll get playing with them. 



2 comments on “new player”

Hassayampa Slim Says:
Sunday, August 23, 2015 @5:36:09 PM

Dave, Your blog "New Player" gives me needed encouragement. I'm 73, and just started picking at the banjo about 7 months ago. i figure anything that keeps the ol' noodle working has got to be good for me. Our here in Arizona, I've been a Bluegrass Cowboy for many years just listening... now I'm trying my hand at playing. I think when I was around 5, an older cousin tried to teach me to read music... Every Good Boy Does Fine, and FACE, is about as far as I ever got. But as long as my ear holds out I think I'll be able to at least entertain myself. Keep pickin for us ol' timers ;-)

diggerdave Says:
Monday, August 24, 2015 @9:00:28 AM

Great to hear from you, Slim. I'm playing a 4 string tenor banjo and a mandolin (basically the same instrument). They make a lot of "banjo and mandolin tabs" that are free. Tabs are a great way to learn, at least on the 4 string. Shows you where to put your fingers until you learn all the notes. I'm an old Irishman so I have been pickin Irish tunes. I'd also love to find some bluegrass or folk tabs. My teacher says that anything that makes it easier to learn isn't cheating.
The people who play Irish Sessions mostly don't read music. They sit around a table and pick by ear. I can't follow them. The sessions are getting very popular here. Show up with an instrument, sit down, see what they are playing and join in. That is the way it's done in the pubs in the old country.
Only been to the West and Southwest once. Love it out there. I think Brice Canyon was my favorite.
Keep me posted on how you are doing.
Dave

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