Howdy, I figured I had better update my blog a little since the other one was a couple of years out of date. Since that time I have settled into the roll of permanent sound set-up guy with our band as well as a musician. I have played the guitar since I was about 17 or so. I picked up the banjo a little over 4 years ago and found the Hangout at the same time. And that was the same time I joined the band that I am with now. It is a volunteer band and we play in nursing homes, senior centers, and some churches. We play for free on some gigs and take donations on some others. We also play at the local fairs when we can on a pay for play basis.
Now on to the banjo. When I started I was a closet picker with only ambition and a little talent to work with. With the help of advice and tabs that I found on the Hangout, I slowly learned some of the licks that I had marveled at when I had gone to some bluegrass festivals when I was younger. I could never find anyone then who was willing to take someone to teach as they were learning themselves and I didn't have what it took to do it on my own. Patience!!!!!
After I started practicing, I tried to take the banjo to some of the gigs to play. Man what an eye opening and humbling experience. The only thing that made me take it back time and again was the constructive comments by the band and the audiences that it wasn't that bad and it would come in time. So I began to play in the background vamping and noodling around on the fingerboard and soon I had an understanding of at least the down the neck notes. Slowly but surely over the last two years, I have gotten to the point of being able to follow most of the songs that the band plays and take breaks on some of them. And I might add that when I play, I play up to speed.
We play Classic Country, Gospel, Bluegrass, with some contemperary thrown in. When I can't follow them, I just reach over and get the guitar. When it comes to my turn I play and sing on the guitar
I am turning 69 this year, so I was 65 when I starting. I feel that you are never too old to learn the banjo. There might be some disabilities though that would make it hard to do, like arthritis.
I didn't expect to write a book when I started this blog, even though that is what it has become. Sorry about that. Feel free to comment. And I hope maybe this helps some other soul to be as determined to play as I was when I started and got a little time under my belt. One thing it did do was to keep my nose away from the T.V. over a lot of time. Thanks for reading.
'Play the banjo by ear' 5 hrs