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New banjo players Worldwide! Inspire, encourage and share tips, tricks & tunes while we're on the Road to Banjoville

17 Members, Created 10/6/2011 -

Administrators: Karrie Bluejay Wallace (owner)

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New in NW

From ChuckH55 on 10/20/2011 1:30:28 PM

I'm just getting started, trying to find an instrument and a teacher to get me pointed in the right direction. My interest is Bluegrass, I was raised around it and still find it makes me feel pretty good. I have found  a couple of  used Epiphone 250 for sale, reviews I have read about them seem pretty positive for starting out. Found a Pan and couple others but am not familar with them. Also a couple of instructors suggested Gold Tone 250Fs. If you have a suggestion let me know....getting started a little late in life, but hear of lots older than me just startin out.

If I go with a used instrument I plan on having a shop go over it, new strings. I have read people talking about different bridges and things. What would you recommend for someone learning, how much fixing should be done. If the instrument is sound for a beginner keep it simple a good policy?

Thanks for taking time to read this.....




Lots of good information here! 


Rattlesnake says:
10/20/2011 5:25:06 PM

Hey Chuck, never to old for an old dog mate, just gives us a bit more time to play around.
I started out with a second hand Alverez, I didn't worry about tone or quality as I didn't know enough about it for it to make a difference or even what style I really liked. Nearly six months down the track now and I can tell the difference with tones of Banjo's and what I like. I have an instructer that teaches me Scruggs style and in between, for a break, I practice Clawhammer.
I have just made the step up to purchasing myself a new Banjo, one from Doc which I'm waiting on the completion off, the old Alverez I will use for the beach/bush/partys.
Anyway, always nice to see new players, welcome.

ChuckH55 says:
10/20/2011 5:32:30 PM

Thank you for the welcome.

Scott Barnbilly56 says:
10/21/2011 7:36:23 PM

Welcome to the group Chuck . Well started when i was 54'ish and 56 now so guess this might have to be you play as young as you feel idea here . I started on a cheeper washburn banjo with a 1/2 bridge and low action (strings low close to fingerboard) and i still like messing around playing clawhammer banjo style on it because of those things . I am a picker though on a five string gold tone orange blossom 250 which is a high end type gold tone banjo (price range) . I bought new but had it set up by good luither so he worked to get all the factory bugs out of the banjo and playing like it's ment to play . The gold tone is my vote if it's a gold tone (bluegrass model )mid-grade or the (orange blossom) which is there best models . If you get used try to do some research on internet on it and compare prices and try to keep changes to what the factory recomends instead of changing the size of bridges ect . Just watch for stuff like worn down frets which gets expensive to replace stuff like that . I didn't have a banjo teacher do to can't find one around here but have had alot of questions awnsered by folks i would meet along the way who are banjo player . I started out playing short chords (cheeter chords ) and got on alot of songs doing just chords changes and strumming the songs then i got going on rolls and doing chords changes to songs i'm singing . Now i do, going to and from diffrent rolls and adding licks in diffrent parts and this is all working well for me and play over 150 songs . I know 3 songs to tabulature which is way slower for me to learn but doing alittle . Also jamming along with others which is a blast so i just watch guitar folks ect for chord changes and know what they are on guitar by sight so it's pretty easy now . How i'm doing things might not be all proper and stuff to what some might say but i got up and running very fast on this right out the gate on banjo playing by doing this way under self taught style . Hope ya get your banjo to go and scratch strings with others .
Happy pick'in and grin'in

ChuckH55 says:
10/21/2011 8:35:00 PM

Thanks Scott for the welcome and I'm looking real hard at the 250F right now. What sort of things did you have tweaked when you had it set up? Sounds like you are doing great! Bluegrass just takes me home raised in the Carolina's and Virginia and born in Louisiana. Finding banjo folks are real friendly!
Rattlesnake thanks for your welcome too, I'm just skiddish around snakes...

Scott Barnbilly56 says:
10/22/2011 5:32:52 AM

Well my frets were up and down a bit and come from factory on the gold tone but it's very micro stuff but had my frets filed exact in line with eachother "High frets " and moon shaped ends . The washburn cheeper banjo need to have the peg string slot filed deeper and wider to get rid of buzzing and lower strings down . Had action lowered and neck was bowed bad so had the neck adjusted straighter . This was a new banjo also but factories some times just make em and don't set em up . If it's used it may well have had these things already done to it . Buzzing problems can sometimes be how your playing it . I spend my summers in the smoky mt's area so get to do north carolina blueegrass'in big time there and have play along folks and groups there .
Kepp a pick'in with a grin.

ChuckH55 says:
10/22/2011 6:32:00 AM

Thanks, I'm learning more each day, spend a little time reading through the post and forums.
I have a sister that lives in the North Carolina mountains.

Scott Barnbilly56 says:
10/22/2011 6:47:43 AM

Left out important part OPPS !
The reason i went to the luither in the first place is i got a fifth string capo installed on my banjo . I have shubb capo and had for the four longer strings but need the ajustable 5th string capo which is drilled and screwed to the neck so it was go to have the pros do . I'm learning out of the big earl scruggs book with cd now and some of there songs say to play like in G chord formation but capo to 2nd fret which puts it in A which i think for some songs sound better than if i played in the original a chord formation of A . It also helps me at play along when some one is going to play in like B flat i don't have to even think how to play because i capo my 4 longs strings to 3rd fret and the fifth string capo i move to 3rd fret and away i go playing song in G chords but sounds like i'm playing in B flat without think. You still want to learn to play in all the chords and i'm not capo dependant but enjoy changing songs to diffrent chord by capoing sometimes . Ok think i covered it this time .
Happy pickin

ChuckH55 says:
10/22/2011 6:54:36 AM

May have to read that

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