Posted by Wembley808 on Monday, July 13, 2015
Ok, so I thought I'd write my first blog... not been long on this site however I have found the people friendly and extremely helpful... love the Google Banjo hangout..
I'm 41 currently but decided to learn the banjo in January 2015 (important note.. mainly for myself.. I was 40 then!)
I had learned the organ as a child for 2-3 years but as a child I'd rather be out playing with my friends than do any practicing...
It got to the point where I actually tape recorded one practice and played it for an entire week, I watch cartoon's with the sound off while my mum made dinner.
On the 5th day during dinner my mum stated that I just couldn't get past a certain point ! it was the same error on the first recording replayed over 5 days ! no idea she was listening that carefully.
I've had this strange urge for a number of years to learn a new instrument and I had already chosen what I wanted to play from that moment...
A banjo, and why ? the sound is unforgettable, the mood it put's people in, even if they have never heard the song their hands start to clap and their feet start to tap... an instrument for everyone.
So Christmas 2014 I'd get enough money to buy my first Banjo from relatives that couldn't think what to get me and give me cold hard cash... I wanted a good sounding one but also a cheap one, just in case I didn't continue with it... so during the Xmas holidays I had been reviewing different banjo's and decided on the Stagg BJW24DL 5 String Western Banjo (currently my picture) it was £234 but I got it for around £140...Happy days :)
It arrived on a Saturday a couple of days after ordering, basically I was like a kid ... eagerly waiting for the courier to tap at the door.... I opened the box only to find that the neck had snapped... I wasn't a happy bunny.... however I returned it and got a replacement in a couple of days, this one in full working order.... I was a happy bunny.
This is how much a beginner I was, the bridge was flat under the strings... I thought this was some kind of protective piece of wood.... so I removed it..... yes yes all laugh at me !
I'd bought some beginner books.... Absolute Beginners Banjo and Hal Leonard's Banjo Method Book 1.... finger picks and a Snark tuner.... I was all set.
After tuning it successfully I start to progress through the books, finding it really difficult to pick strings as they were so close to the base, then I looked at the books and realized I needed the bridge... yes I know.. a little slow on the up take ! popped that in place and I was away.. loving learning this new instrument.
I took to understanding tab quite quickly, not really a problem since I'd learn music as a kid but got to a point where I was really enjoying playing the banjo that I wanted to do it properly and not fall in that trap of learning bad habits.
I know there are people out there that have had no lessons and play brilliantly, I am not one of those people, I need instructions and guidance, I need to know I'd doing it properly, that will be the logical thinking in me as a computer manager... !
So I booked one of the only Banjo teachers in my town ! (later found another one but he was a bit grumpy..)
Once a week I attend for 30 mins and the first song to learn was Grandfathers Clock, when he mention the song to me I couldn't recall ever hearing it, however my mother sang it back to me and a flashback to when I was a child happened... oh yes! I love this song...
I've currently finished the song and on to the next... a classic, a universal banjo song.... Dueling Banjo's.... the name of the song does perplex me... as all the videos and recording show a banjo and a guitar, no two "dueling" banjo's, eh ho...
At this moment I love picking, have problems with plucking two strings at the same time as I seem to be like one of those claw games trying to grab a toy, however I will persist and try and post some vids...
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