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2017 - the year of the tenor!

Posted by hobogal on Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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Well, in my last blog entry I talked about my banjo journey where I started on tenor banjo and then moved onto five-string.  I think I always follow what music I am into and this has led me on a winding path - I guess I am following my nose (or rather my ears) - and just now, I seem to be interested in stringband rags, early jazz and ragtime and a particular album by Casey Connor ('Frost Flowers') by the tenor banjoist in Rattletrap Ruckus.  This is a continuation on from listening to classic banjo from the likes of Olly Oakley, The Titanic StringBand and The Skirtlifters (what a name), in short, this year I am committed to learning the tenor banjo.  This is terrible irony as I actually started out on tenor way back in 2003? I was given an old Melody Jo banjo which is one of those disheartening beginner instruments that actually puts you off practicing. I didn't really get beyond Molly Malone but this time I have a Clareen Clarenbridge banjo purchased from Eagle Music.  This is the only time I have purchased a banjo blind from the internet and actually not regretted it.  It really is lovely to play and is both mellow and crisp at the same time (how is that?)

In typical idiosyncratic style, I am trying to learn in CGDA tuning.  This means trying to piece information together from videos and vintage tuition books.  There isn't really a modern tutor for jazz banjo like Enda Scahill's Irish tenor banjo book.  This time round, I want to learn the banjo as an actual music instrument so am learning how to read from music score and am paying attention to scales and how chords are formed etc.  I hope to unlock the mysteries of the right-hand (cool strumming techniques, duo-style, triplets etc) and chord melody and be able to play My Lady Jazz right through without collasping.  I wonder why I make life difficult for myself like this.  If only I could be content with Shuckin the Corn (repeat to fade...)











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