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Old Time Snobbery

Thursday, July 2, 2009

These recent discussions on Bum Ditty have been pretty hard to take.  On one level I feel it is completely ridiculous the way some members here want to disect the frailing stroke and label it this or that.  When in the end its all the same anyway.  But the heated discussions have opened my eyes to what I see as "Old Time Snobbery".  Which is funny because this type of music should really be the most welcoming and UN- snobbish type of music there is.  It's folk songs for crying out loud.  From the FOLKS...the people.  Played in relaxed settings for enjoyment or to tell a stroy.  But there is definately an element here that feels if you don't play your banjo in the Round Peak or melodic style, then you are really not playing old time music.  If you do the "basic" bum ditty, then that's fine for a beginner, but you should really abandon it if you REALLY want to play the banjo.  Hogwash such as, "you can't play with a fiddle if you play that way" is tossed around and believed by a lot of people.  I think this discourages a lot of new players.  All the posts will start out with nice things to say like, "I feel you should play what you want" and be quickly followed up with a "but if you really want to play Old Time you should..." Or "The bum ditty is ok if you just want to sit around your house and sing to yourself, but if you want to play in a jam or with a fiddler then you can't do that".  Complete and utter non-sense.  That's the attitude that KEEPS people at home; afraid to go out and try to play with others.  It is also beyond my comprehension why these same people continually knock the Costello's for bringing banjo to the masses and keeping the living tradition of music alive.  These same people who slam Patrick for being opinionated and abrasive, seem to be pretty darn abrasive and opinionated themselves.  So I would hope they look in the mirror before continuing their tirades against him.  And for full disclosure, I enjoy his teaching very much.  I subscribe to his youtube page and check the Daily Frail daily.  I have learned a great deal from him.  He teaches a solid foundation that you can take anywhere and apply to whatever type of music you wish to.  And yes, that even applies to old time music.  And I assure you, you can play along with a fiddle if you choose.



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Playing Since: 2003
Experience Level: Novice

[Jamming] [Socializing]

Gender: Male
Age: 49

My Instruments:
Gold Tone Whyte Ladye

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
David Holt, Leroy Troy, Uncle Dave Macon, Grandpa Jones, Stringbean, Phillip Steinmetz, Robert Montgomery, Doc Watson

Classified Rating: not rated
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 8/22/2003
Last Visit 1/25/2018

I started playing Banjo in about 2004. I had always wanted to try it. There is something about the sound of a banjo that I have always loved. It is such a happy sound. Not having much money at the time, I found one on ebay for about $50. I had no knowledge of banjos and in retrospect it was a real cheapo. It had an aluminum hoop, no tone ring, and plywood resonator that fit on the back. But to my ear, it had that banjo sound. I tried to play Scruggs style on it and even took a few lessons. But when I heard clawhammer for the first time, I knew that was what I wanted to play. When I heard the banjo in my head, that was the sound I wanted. About 6-8 mos later I bought the whyte Ladye from a fellow BHO member, Bill. Right out of the box, it was in tune (open G) and sound clear and sweet. I mostly play for myself at home. I still haven't mustered the courage to find a jam session around town. But if anyone reading this lives in the Sacramento, CA area, drop me a line and we can jam.

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