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Where I am going with the banjo...

Posted by FiddlerFaddler on Sunday, June 1, 2008

... to the Midwest Banjo Camp!  True enough, however, the purpose of this blog is to share what I want to accomplish with the banjo, and the kinds of banjos that I wish to acquire.  The reason I am posting this blog is that my manic nature kicked into overdrive when I was responding to a friend request.

My favorite genres of music are old time, classical, sacred and bluegrass.  Blending these genres is not out of the question, should I be so inspired.

I need a conventional, open-backed banjo for frailing and general, miscellaneous finger picking sans finger picks.

I'll need a fretless banjo, mostly because there's just no need to fret all the time.  Preferably with nylon strings, as I rather like their sound.

I'll need a cello banjo for playing selections from the Suites for Violoncello by Johan Sebastian Bach in something close to the original keys -- not that that matters too much, since tuning the low D string down to a C will work on regular banjos, with the pieces coming out an octave higher than the originals.  I also need it for accompanying a regular banjo and possible low harmonies when playing melodically.

I'll need at least two 6-string banjos.  One will be tuned similarly to a guitar, but with the three lowest strings retuned as necessary, similar to what I now do with the guitar.  The other will be tuned like a banjo, but with an extra low string tuned to a low G, A or even F, and with the 6th string tuned like the 5th string of a conventional banjo, except that it will be able to go down to the nut with the other strings as needed, courtesy of a 5th-string capo.

I'd like a good minstrel banjo with nylon strings.  I favor nylon over gut because of the high cost and short service life of gut.  I also prefer the uniform linear mass density of the nylon strings (sorry for the jargon - I was a physics major in college).

I'll eventually need to upgrade my mini-banjo with something more robust and easier to frail.

I'm still undecided about whether I need a resonator-backed banjo for three- and four-picking with and/or without finger picks.  I probably will because my current banjo is a cheapie that is merely suitable for starting out and as a spare, practice banjo for when the regular one is getting worked on.

I'll need a home-recording setup that will accommodate multi-track recording, since I am a multi-instrumentalist.

Well, that ought to keep me busy for the rest of my life, first working to afford the instruments and gadgets, and then to develop repertory and record as I am able.  It's a good thing that I'm manic about good-quality music, or it might be tough to maintain my motivation and focus.

1 comment on “Where I am going with the banjo...”

timbi Says:
Sunday, June 1, 2008 @5:43:04 PM

That sounds like some good ideas and goals to work toward.  I'm always interested in what other pickers are coming up with. Please keep us posted. 

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