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.
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 ) and its ascending twin (so la ti do ). 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:
Dave likes this balance.
- Fundamentals (examples: F formation, Knopf licks)
- Active listening/playing along
- Learning a new number
- I'd been using this technique for practicing the Knopf lick:
Dave likes the approach, but says the 20 bpm increase is way too rapid. He suggests an increase increment of 10 bpm or less.
- Start with the metronome set to 60 bpm.
- Play at that rate until I was able to play through it 5 times without a mistake.
- Up the rate by 20 bpm.
- Repeat from step 2.
- 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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