I just stumbled onto this site a short time ago and just signed up. What a tremendous resource it is. And one more time, what a resource the internet is!
Being a "mature" guy I am blown away at the explosion of resources in my lifetime for learning to play the five string banjo. As I said in my bio, growing up as a kid in the 50's in a border town in southern Arizona, I knew I was hooked by the sound of those cascading notes I heard coming off Earl's banjo on those Flatt and Scruggs albums, but I honestly didn't know the difference between a tenor and a five string banjo. So in a stroke of bad luck my first Montgomery Ward banjo was a pitiful excuse of a tenor. Of course you all know how it went trying to figure out how to play that bluegrass sound on four strings. There was no one nor any place I knew of to get any information at all about playing five string banjo. What a change today! It is now the other extreme. There's so much material out there now it could be tricky for a beginner to choose the right material to start learning to play. There's so enough info and knowledge on this site to blow your mind. There's in experience of thousands (I guess?)of players world wide willing to share. Then there's the amazing technology of the midi and being able to isolate different parts of songs, slow them down and replay them repeatedly. I would have given anything to be able to do that when I was just beginning. Too cool!
It's really exciting and I and I am so glad to have found this valuable resource.
Playing Since: 1972
Experience Level: Purty Good
[Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]
Earl, JD, John Hickman, Jim Mills, Sammy Shelor, Hot Rize (the Doc) to many to mention!
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Last Visit 5/19/2020
Been playing guitar since high school in the 50's. Had some Flatt and Scruggs albums, some Osborne Bros, and some folk stuff. It's terribly embarassing to admit but growing up in a bluegrass void in 50's southern Arizona I didn't know the difference between a tenor and a five string banjo. I could see Earl's banjo on the album covers and the long necked Vegas the Kingston Trio had but it was all way over my head and in that time period and where I lived there was just no bluegrass or any way I could get any information. May have scarred me for life? In '72 I ended up with a horrible aluminum el cheapo five string and somehow stumbled onto the Scruggs book and lp and tied into it. Learned the basic rolls and Cripple Creek but didn't stay with it. I was playing country music in a bar 3 nights week. I didn't stick with it the banjo. Moved to Denver in 1980 where there was a very active bluegrass scene. Got a better banjo and took some lessons while at the same time I was playing guitar and singing in a bluegrass group. Our banjo player was Warren Kennison who tabbed a lot of the Scruggs book. However I rarely got to jam on or play banjo with humans (which IMHO is a critical necessity) I got to where I could play quite a few songs and progressed some but still lacked playing time with other people. Moved back to Amarillo, Tx in '86 and countinued to play banjo and went to Wernick's banjo camp one summer which was huge fun and learned a lot. But I slowly drifted away from banjo though I was playing guitar seriously in a bluegrass group here and played festivals. Finally pretty much quit the banjo for about 6 or 8 yrs. But finding myself single and living alone I recently flew back into it in a major way. I just recently stumbled onto this site which is a tremendous resource. When I found this site it really gave me a jump start. I found the late Paul Hawthorne's site and was intrigued by some of the things he had to say. Particularly, I bought two books he recommended, Mastery, and Zen Guitar which I have about finished. I'm not a big "new age" guy but some of the stuff espoused by Paul and those books resonated (guess there's a banjo pun for ya) with me. Anyway, since I started back to practicing and "on the path," I've really been bearing down and working at it, for no apparent reason, I have just really gotten back "into it!" I'm totally confident that since this is a hard core banjo site that the members of this site will immediately know what I mean. After playing the 5 for quite a few years and knowing a whole bunch of like minded pilgrims I feel pretty safe in saying that most of us are zealots it in varying degrees about playing the five string banjo. For some reason playing five string banjo seems to have that effect on people much more than playing guitar or maybe any other instrument that I have ever been around. Five string banjo players are just a different breed. I am extremely glad to have found this site andI know it is going to be a huge resource and help to me as I follow the "path" of playing five string banjo.
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