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Update after being back at it for a year

Posted by teakinmn on Monday, November 23, 2015

It's been almost a year since I decided to "re-begin" learning to play 5-string bluegrass banjo. I had taken some group lessons way back in the late 70's and didn't really pursue it any further. I decided last fall to give it another try and see if it would stick. If it didn't, I'd pass my banjo (not a very good one) on to someone that would benefit from it. A year later, I've got a nice banjo (RK-R36) that I like a lot, along with renewed interest in continuing to play for many years to come. I took a few lessons with BHO member Mike Hedding, and I've been going regularly to Beginner's jams every other Tuesday night. I've got about 20-25 tunes for which I can comfortably play breaks at the jam, and it seems like I'm adding new ones more quickly to the list lately. I'm also trying to work on better back-up and up the neck techniques. As work slows down a bit over the holidays, I'll post some sound files. 

2 comments on “Update after being back at it for a year”

Billy Gillie Says:
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 @10:03:14 PM

Hello Tom,

Saw your comments amongst all the bits about 'Dueling Banjos'. Some really get tight - huh? Ha. I just put my response on at the end and how much I've enjoyed listening to Rob McCoury's '5-string Banjo - Flame Thrower' CD. What a nice job of that tune - maybe becoming my favorite - so well done! I looked for it over at the 'Pickin' Parlour' but could not find so went to the McCoury's site and bought of it. Actually, I bought two and later sent one over to Phil Nusbaum and have heard several cuts from the CD. Good stuff.

The reason for this note though is because I have 1936 Gibson Mastertone - RB-3 and aside from the obvious (head, strings, and bridge) it is an original issue sent out to a music company down in Northfield. It is in very good condition and too has a wonderful tone and sound to it. If all goes well, am planning to haul it over to the Winter-BG Fest' and if you are there, you might be interested in picking it. If I may envy you for getting back to it, that I never did and today my attempts to play is a laugher! sad but true. So now, all I can do now is haul it around and let others enjoy it.

Lots of fine players have and most recently down in Knoxville at the Banjothon-16, Sammy Shelor had a go at it and too was impressed. A few years ago at the 'Winter', Graham Sharp did too! Ha' Lots more too. If you want to hear-see it being played, go to facebook and type in - Charlie Cushman_- banjothon-2012_
807-1 and that interesting clip should come up. He's a good story but not until about the 13-14 minute mark does he get round to playing. Nice stuff! A nice banjo indeed!. For sale too - for a lot - needs a new home.

If interested, let me know and we can later make a plan for being there. I am just presuming I'll be back to the WFest BG deal. Just not that many of these 'holy grails' in 5-strings out there so get to play one should be something special for any banjo-player.


teakinmn Says:
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 @6:05:38 AM

Thanks for the note, Bill! I went right to that link you sent for Charlie Cushman (the "Earls of Leicester" is one of the first CD's I bought when I started getting back into it, and he's a terrific player to model).
That RB-3 sounds fantastic, especially in Charlie's hands. I know I couldn't do it justice, but I'd love to try and butcher "Redwing" or "I'll Fly Away" on it!
I'm not sure if I'll be in town the weekend of the Winter Fest, but as it gets closer I'll know whether I'll be around. I didn't make it last year and I'd like to catch at least some of it this year. I'll be sure and let you know if I can go -- I'd love to meet you and that Gibson!

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