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The Journey, Part 1

Sunday, December 23, 2007

As I read the comments from everyone about the joys and frustrations of playing banjo I can relate to almost every word.  When I think about the time I’ve spent with my banjo, the people and places associated with this journey, it’s been a wonderful experience. When I started out I wanted to play like Earl, Doug Dillard and Ralph Stanley. I spent countless hours listening to their work trying to figure out what they were doing. I got a copy of Pete Seeger’s instruction book and learned the fundamentals. I guess I liked just about everything banjo.  I can remember coming home from school, I would sit or lie on my bed and play rolls for hours. Then I would turn the record player on and listen to Earl, Doug or Ralph work their mastery. I was amazed at how the banjo notes would just keep coming and the tune would be “inside” all those notes. The banjo was always there driving the tune along.  When people talk about getting bit by the banjo bug, I realize I had (have) an obsession. I recall taking my banjo to school and would play between classes. When the teacher was giving a lecture my thoughts would wonder to figuring out what roll to play in a song. Later I would take my banjo to work and play at lunch. I even took my banjo on just about every date I went on just in case I would encounter an opportunity to play. A few years later after being married for several months I came home from work and saw my banjo lying on a table. I didn’t own a banjo case then. The sunlight coming through the window lit up the neck and inlay. It was a beautiful sight. I told my new wife that I thought she is “as pretty as mother of pearl inlay on an ebony fingerboard.” I’ve enjoyed the entire process but don’t know how I survived without a black eye or two.

 

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Playing Since: 1962
Experience Level: Purty Good

Interests:
[Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Gender: Male
Favorite Bands/Musicians:
I like the precision of Scruggs, J.D Crowe and Emerson, the excitement, clarity and speed of Dillard. There are so many good players young and old. But I continue to marvel at the creative and soulful mastery of music by Don Reno.

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Created 3/7/2006
Last Visit 11/29/2021

I started playing the 5-string banjo in high school in the mid 60s. I have spent countless hours enjoying the instrument, music and friends made while playing. I would probably be classified as traditional 3 finger picker with heavy Reno influence. I like all styles of playing and will try just about any song. I sing lead and baritone. I've played in bands. I am not in one now but will play a job if someone has a gig and their banjo player is not available. Rather than play for pay I've had a lot of fun just jamming on the weekends. A bunch of us get together at a campground on Friday and pick until Sunday morning. I've played rhythm guitar for years and just started tinkering with flat pick lead. I guess I'm a banjoholic.

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