I still have the BSO that I bought a little less than a year ago to see if I could get serious about playing before dropping my hard earned cash on a good banjo. My original, bad banjo is a cheap, bottom of the barrel, entry level Fender, plywood rim, crappy tuners, narrow nut, no tone ring, and so on. It has lousy sustain, rapid decay and the strings are too close together for my liking. Hammer-ons and pull-offs typically sound pretty bad due to lack of sustain. I often hit other strings when trying to play clawhammer. I've been wanting to take a banjo to work so I can pick it up when I have a couple of spare minutes here and there and I've heard it said that a good player can make a crappy instrument sound decent.
I decided to pull the BSO out from under the bed and take it to work. I put on new strings and a decent bridge to try to improve the sound. It's helped a tiny bit. I do think, though, that practicing on this banjo will help me improve. I have to really work at getting tone out of hammers and pulls, both striking the string harder and pulling or hammering harder. I have to slow down and focus to hit strings cleanly (both striking and fretting) because they are a bit too close together. My other banjo seems easier to play and is more seemingly forgiving of mistakes. I think this lulls me into lapses and mistakes that I need to work on fixing and I'm hoping the increased focus and concentration gained by playing a bad BSO will stick when I play my good banjo.6 comments
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