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Got Rhythm? If not, try "Strum Machine"!

Posted by Paul Bock on Thursday, December 30, 2021

     Some of you might think it a bit unusual that someone who started on the 5-string banjo in 1956 (age 14) is (a) still alive; (b) still trying to play; and (c) unafraid to try new tools to help accomplish (b).  But - well, here I am!

     I recently ran across a "backup rhythm" program for the PC that is easy to use and sufficiently flexible that it covers pretty much all of my needs (well, maybe not Thelonious (sp?) Monk's "Blue Monk" played on the 5-string banjola, but whatever.....).  The program is called "Strum Machine" and I'm liking it a LOT!!!  I've been using it for less than a month to give me a "backup foundation" other than just a metronome for practicing some Irish-style songs ("Red-Haired Boy", "June Apple", and of course "Salt Creek") played in a combination traditional/melodic style.  These are songs that I pretty much mastered back in the early '70s but wanted to re-learn because I just love the "Irish string band" sound.  I use all three back-up instruments together in the app (guitar, bass, and mandolin "chop") and it is a great help with my timing - and, as the old saying goes, "Timing is Everything".

     Incidentally, you can watch the late Bill Keith playing a medley of "Red-Haired Boy" and "June Apple" back in 2006 at

     If you are just looking for "basic rhythm backup" that won't break the bank ($5 per month) check out "Strum Machine" at the following link.

     Happy Pickin'!  Oh, yeah, Happy 2022 New Year, too!

The Old Guy





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