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Well, things are progressing...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I have been playing the banjo since I was 18 years old.  I made slow progress studying the Earl Scruggs book.  For some reason, I just simply could not figure out the Ballad of Jed Clampett!!!  So, I found out that a guy named Jim Smoak was giving lessons in a nearby town and I took lessons for nearly a year.  I learned a lot, including the propper techniques and a few good songs (such as Foggy Mountain Breakdown).  Then, Jim moved away and I was back on my own.  My playing stagnated and I found that I was playing the same 4-5 songs over and over every time I picked up the banjo.

I started out on a cheap Japanese (or Taiwanese, who knows...) banjo from a pawn shop then traded up to another cheap, bust slightly nicer banjo (also froma a pawn shop).  Eventually, I was given a Fender Artist for my borthday one year by my uncle.  It was/is a nice playing banjo, but eventually my lack of progression on the banjo led me to sell it.  This came on the heels of having my two kids, which took up most of my time anyway.  After being banjo-less for nearly a year, I couldn't stand it anymore and bought an Alvarez Denver Belle for $450 from a local music store.  believe it or not, I like the playability of the Alvarez better than the Fender.  I have upgraded a few items on it (tailpiece, tuning pegs, including keith tuners, new head, etc.) and this thing really rings!  I also find the neck very comfortable for my playing.

The year off from the banjo really has done wonders for me.  Since buying this new banjo, my playing has gotten better.  I am faster, more precise, and best of all, I'm learning more about the chords and how they all work together.  I now feel like I could improvise much better than I ever could.  Now, every time I hear a song I like, I simply sit down and learn it by ear.  I think tablature, and the effort needed to learn songs from it, was keeping me from really getting the full benefit of this instrument.  Now that I only use tabs as a reference, and learn most from ear, my playing has improved singificantly!!!

Any way, all is well again in the banjo world.  I have a good banjo and I'm learning how to REALLY play it.


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Playing Since: 1987
Experience Level: Purty Good

BoneDigger has made 3 recent additions to Banjo Hangout 

[Jamming] [Socializing]

Occupation: Archaeologist

Gender: Male
Age: 55

My Instruments:
Alvarez Denver Belle

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Don Reno
Earl Scruggs
Doug Dillard
Ricky Skaggs
Ralph Stanley

Classified Rating: (+5)
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 1/24/2008
Last Visit 5/7/2024

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