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Banjo versus TV: Week 36

Posted by jrjenks on Friday, September 19, 2008

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. This post covers 9/3/2008 through 9/9/2008.
Banjo ?? hrs, TV ?? hours

Things I took away from this week's banjo lesson:

  • The previous lessons's homework assignments:
    • Playing along with Dolly Parton to Just a Few Good Memories. We discussed the descending bass run (do ti la so [8765]) and its ascending twin (so la ti do [5678]). I'm really liking this playing-along-with-recordings thing.
    • Bill Knopf's lick #1.
    • Continue working on Good Old Mountain Dew. I'd incorporated some of Bill Knopf's lick #1 into my solo.
  • Feedback on how I've been practicing:
    • I've been trying to balance my practice time between:
      • Fundamentals (examples: F formation, Knopf licks)
      • Active listening/playing along
      • Learning a new number
      Dave likes this balance.
    • I'd been using this technique for practicing the Knopf lick:
      1. Start with the metronome set to 60 bpm.
      2. Play at that rate until I was able to play through it 5 times without a mistake.
      3. Up the rate by 20 bpm.
      4. Repeat from step 2.
      Dave likes the approach, but says the 20 bpm increase is way too rapid. He suggests an increase increment of 10 bpm or less.
    • Rather than simply practicing at the fastest tempo I can smoothly perform, I need to practice at a variety of tempos.
  • Although the long-term goal is for my eyes not to be stuck on any one thing, Dave wants me to concentrate on watching my left hand for now.
    • "Those raggety sounds you're producing are because your fingers are not in the right place on the neck."
    • I should spend some of my practice time in front of a mirror.
    • Here's the rule for now: Right hand mistakes are okay; left hand mistakes aren't.
  • We discussed the pull-off.
    • Right now, my pull-off is weak. Dave says this is understandable; the pull-off is one of the hardest things to get right.
    • Dave says his own pull-off took a while to get right. He can really hear the difference between the pull-offs on the album he cut about two years into the banjo and one he cut a year after that. During that year, he'd left his other job to concentrate full-time on the banjo.
  • For a little added color, try hammering on at the 5th string during G to C transitions.

 

This week's homework:

  • Keep doing what I'm doing, incorporating the above feedback.
  • Continue building on my Good Old Mountain Dew solo. Sprinkle in the use of three F-formation chords: G (between 3rd and 5th fret), C (between 8th and 10th fret) and D (between 10th and 12th fret).

 

Cross-posted at J.R. Jenks' blog


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