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Spotted Pony nearly there

Posted by AndyW on Thursday, September 13, 2018

Today showed another improvement in Spotted Pony. After warming up I worked it from 100bpm through to 115bpm which is my phone metronome maximum.  I then had a play to Old Time Jam machine, and pretty much held it together with only the occassional flub. This led me to think the OTJ speed is closer to 115bpm than the 125bpm I was previously thinking. A bit of timing showed it's actual bpm to be 118bpm.  Next few days of building up then playing alongside tge Jam machine should see it slot into the OTJ practice rotation.

Later on I started to focus on Year of Jubilo which I have already started on previously.  I actually saw an improvement during the session, working it up to 104bpm, and then back down in steps to 60 bpm before bumping it  up to 90 bpm to finish.  OTJ for Tear of Jubiko is 110bpm which should be reachable without the extra effort Spotted Pony has taken.

I really do think that speed at present for me is limited by left hand busy arrangements and my left hand is not yet as 'deft' as it will be in future.  When 1/8th notes are provided by drop thumb I don't find that a hindrance in the slightest in comparison.

4 comments on “Spotted Pony nearly there”

AndyW Says:
Saturday, September 15, 2018 @3:26:22 PM

Spotted Pony no improvement today. Probably because I have trial fitted my 3/4" bridge to see how it feels/sounds. So, because it's new it's at the back of my mind as I play and that's a distraction into the mix.

The 3/4" bridge has raised the action a fair bit where I strike the strings. It certainly removes any worry about hand placement at the pot/neck junction and whether I will be clipping the tension ring, so more natural in a way. The volume is louder, and I think the tone is improved a bit, but I wonder if partly it's because I am digging in a little more on the strings.

At present it's hard to tell if the action lifting slightly over the first five/ frets will make the banjo harder to finger with the left hand. Apart from Spotted Pony the other tunes so far worked up seem ok so differences must be minimal. Time will tell.

AndyW Says:
Sunday, September 16, 2018 @10:40:20 AM

Better today, on third time through I managed a full run through with no major breakdowns[a first]. A few missed notes here and there but I'm sure that will clean up with practice. Almost more or less got through Year of Jubilo as well.

Part of what I did today was run through all my practised tunes at 230bpm[115bpm] instead of OTJ speed to get my rh used to going at that speed.

230bpm is my metronome max so I may look for another metronome to push beyond that.

AndyW Says:
Sunday, September 16, 2018 @11:53:35 AM

Well I downloaded pro metronome which goes way past 230bpm.

I've now found that my maximum for my most practiced tune Angelina Baker is around 240bpm. And the same for the rest. My simplest tune Soldiers Joy I can just about get away with at 250bpm.

So it's no wonder I am finding Old Time Jam speed for Spotted Pony difficult as its taking me almost to my maximum speed.

I'm gonna try and push my more practised tunes to around 250bpm and hopefully the consistent extra practice at the higher speeds will make 236bpm almost feel like a comfortable speed after a few weeks as well as building my stamina for playing tunes faster.

AndyW Says:
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 @10:18:59 AM

Spotted Pony now pretty much there for OTJ machine. It still takes a lot of concentration though.

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