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On a Roll

Posted by pcfive on Thursday, April 27, 2017

I feel a lot more confident now than 6 months ago. Back then, I just had to hope i would get in the right state of mind and my right hand would somehow know what to do. Sometimes that worked out, sometimes it didn't.

One thing that changed is I decided I was old enough to stop working full time, so I have more time to practice. 

But I think the main thing might be that I got the idea of playing 16 note rolls. I spend a lot of time practicing this, with the metronome, and with youtube, and recordings.

I feel that this helps me understand the bluegrass banjo rhythm, and drive. Instead of just wishing and hoping I can get into the right rhythm, I have a definite method that just about always works. The more I practice it, the easier it gets.

I work on getting these 16 note rolls more accurate, but now I also try to increase the speed. Very gradually.

Up to about 120 bpm it feels easy, beyond that it starts getting harder. Some days I can easily play at 140 bpm, other days 130 is a challenge.

I am not interested in playing extremely fast, I just would like to keep up with the fast bluegrass songs.

I don't try to play anything fancy, because I think plain old bluegrass rolls and licks can sound great when done accurately.

So I guess I can say I now have definite goals and they are simple and attainable. I just want to continue what I'm doing.

3 comments on “On a Roll”

From Greylock to Bean Blossom Says:
Saturday, May 13, 2017 @4:46:55 AM

Good thoughts. Can I ask what is your age so as to associate the ability to obtain levels of speed if the age is more advanced?

pcfive Says:
Saturday, May 13, 2017 @4:51:44 PM

I am over 60, and started bluegrass banjo when I was over 50. I don't think you have to worry about age, if you practice enough you will get fast enough. 100 bpm is more than fast enough for most songs. 120 or 130 is real fast. Beyond that I wouldn't worry too much if you don't get there. I think maybe I will, maybe I won't, but I am fast enough for most songs now.

From Greylock to Bean Blossom Says:
Sunday, May 14, 2017 @4:25:48 AM


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