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Banjo versus TV: Week 11

Posted by jrjenks on Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Banjo 88 hrs, TV 61 hours
A weekly check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s resolution to spend more time in 2008 on his banjo than on TV.

Remember, from last week, how proud I was of my new practice regimen? The one where I enter songs from my practice books into TablEdit, play them back with my practice part turned off so I can play along?


Mike, my instructor, really hated it. I asked him his opinion and he gave it: big thumb-down.

The problem is with my song selection. Mike can understand that I want to play along with music and he doesn't object to that, per se. In fact, he recommended that I look for some band-minus-one CDs. But Mike says that practicing the songs as I was practicing them would make me a boring, soulless player. The songs, as TablEdit played them, were robotic and dull.

Back to the drawing board.

Also in the last week:

  • First time I've ever installed new strings! It took me more than an hour to put five new strings (D'Addario J60 Nickel 9-20 Light) on the no-name banjo. How did I do? Well, it sounds much better. But I did a terrible job of wire wrapping. I think I'll buy some more new strings and have the shop install them. Still, it was a learning experience. I'll keep trying until I get good at it.
  • Dropped the Oscar Schmidt banjo off at Hogeye Music in Evanston to have a Shubb fifth string capo installed. Jim, the luthier, was having a busy time of it and said it could take as long as a week for him to install it. I'm glad I've got my spare banjo so I don't have to go banjo-less.


Cross-posted at J.R. Jenks' blog

2 comments on “Banjo versus TV: Week 11”

Texasbanjo Says:
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 @10:26:06 AM

You might consider getting Band in a Box software.  That way you can put chords to whatever song you're learning into BIAB and it'll play backup for you at any speed and in any key.  I use it daily for practice and it doesn't make me a boring, soulless player.  It does help you learn good timing -- if you slow down or speed up, it doesn't and it'll help your timing immensely.

I don't understand why your teacher doesn't like Tabledit, but I guess he has his reasons -- it also give you the beat and that's what you need to learn:  timing, timing, timing.

jrjenks Says:
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 @1:03:06 PM

Thanks for the tip, Texasbanjo.  I see that PG Music Inc has a demo version of Band-in-a-Box.  It'll let me play with the software for two weeks to decide whether I like it.  I'll be trying it out some time.

I think Mike's objections weren't with TablEdit; they were with the source material I'd chosen.  (I was entering the tabs from my Hal Leonard Banjo Method books.)  But I also think that TablEdit is going to play any tablature in a robotic fashion, even when I choose the "Simulate human playing" option.

I know that Mike doesn't object to playing along with a gadget.  He continues to rave about his Tascam MP-GT1 Guitar Trainer, which he uses to play MP3s in the same way that you use Band-in-a-Box.

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