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2018 - still the year of the tenor!

Posted by hobogal on Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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So, in the lead up to January I began thinking about banjo goals.  I have had a difficult end to the year - including being made redundant - which has meant it has been difficult to give time to banjo playing.  At the same time, I had the disheartening experience of going to a jam and feeling like I wasn't able to play well on the 5-string.  Over the past three years I have really lost interest in traditional bluegrass and fiddle tunes and, although I enjoy learning tunes on my own, I do sometimes feel like a musical loner.  Learning the tenor banjo has been slow progress over the past year.  It seems to have taken a year to learn three and a half tunes (a half, as I am still learning tune 4) and progress has been hampered by a lack of a clear learning path.    

I was faced with a decision about where to put my energy and focus - 5-string (revisit classic banjo repertoire; maybe do a banjo recording; original compositions); continue trying to learn jazz tenor (or would plectrum be a better choice - might help me expand my 5string playing with knowledge of chords etc.) or, should I just try and learn a repertoire that I can share with others and learn BG or Celtic or maybe I should try and start a stringband/jugband or, if I want to play tenor, maybe I should switch to Irish because there are more people playing it and more teachers but, wait, I really don't know if I want to play fiddle tunes...oh, what do I want to do?!

Anyway, I was loudly pondering this when my partner said: 'Why don't you just see what you feel like playing in the new year.  See what banjo you feel like picking up and playing.'


What did i find?  Well, I went straight for the tenor banjo and continued stumbling through an AJ Weidt tune called 'Blue Stocking Caprice' - a tune that will never be played at a music jam and is therefore useless, except I actually enjoying playing it (in my own stumbling way).  Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that I am mostly reaching for the tenor so, decision-made, I am going to continue learning the tenor banjo.

Now, I just have to think about my tenor banjo goals......



4 comments on “2018 - still the year of the tenor!”

Boadicea Says:
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @11:50:14 PM

:) I look forward to hearing your tenor banjo goals hobogal!

WayneConrad Says:
Thursday, January 18, 2018 @9:16:52 AM

Tenor banjo is a wonderful art. I also look forward to your journey.

Chilly65 Says:
Sunday, January 28, 2018 @5:18:24 AM

To Hobogal I can fully appreciate where you are at I am feeling somewhere the same .I am a slow learner and enjoy many styles of music .I have recently began playing the four string tuned to DGBE or Chicago .This appears to upset many Banjo players however I am determined not to upset too many folks.I would love to be as organised and brave as yourself putting those aims out there openly .I am finding it difficuilt finding tutours music or sounds of others playing the same tuning and have so started looking online at tenor uke sources as this has same tuning .All I would like is to be able to play with others and remove the lonely feel .Keep practicing.

WayneConrad Says:
Sunday, January 28, 2018 @9:56:07 AM

@Chilly65 - I don't know why people get upset over how someone else is playing or tuning. It's a big world, and there's plenty of room for everyone to do what pleases them.

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