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Reuben Dunn

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You takes your Pick, you takes your chances!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three weeks ago, after deciding to seriously look into learning the banjo, I bought, via ebay, three of Pete Warnicks' instructional DVDS for learning the banjo; "Get Rolling" Beginning Bluegrass Banjo" and, for much later down the road admittedly, " Bluegrass Slow Jam".

I then spent time here and elsewhere feeding my personality quirk by looking into what would be the best banjo for me to start out with. With narray a recommendation otherwise, I settled on an RK 35 Madison.

So, the Banjo was selected, DVDs' paid for (New by the way, at a reduced price on ebay, than elsewhere.). All that remained was the selection of one thumb and two finger picks.

McCabes in Santa Monica was recommended as a good supplier.

My wife and I were in Santa Monica this morning, going through the LDS temple,and we were finished by 1:00.  We took a 15 minute detour to McCabes so I could get an idea of the picks, and pick some up.

I now have two steel 20 size picks for index and middle finger an two thumb picks. Why two? For side by side comparison. One of the picks is not as wide as the other, and, even though it is plastic, is, to me at least, noticeably lighter.

Nancy was not only kind enough to help me with the sizing, but she also led me back to the guitar/banjo room, they have several Deering Banjos on the wall, and, after doing a quick tune up on a resonator backed Deering, let me try the picks out.

Keep in mind that up until two hours ago, with the single 1 minute quick examination of one when I was 20, I had never held a banjo in my hand, nor had I ever used any sort of thumb/finger action on the unit.

I have, however, been doing a TITM type roll on my steering wheel over the past few weeks. If that wheel had strings, I would give Scruggs a run for his money.

A banjo is NOT a steering wheel,  a notable lack of a horn and wheel lock being a potential clue, so my "rapid" finger rolls on the steering wheel, not only evaporated when I had the banjo in my lap, but my fingers seemed to have a mind of their own, and not in a good way.

It took me some time to get settled, thankfully Nancy was there, and was more than helpful suggesting my finger positions etc., with the pick.

After 5 minutes or so, the thumb, middle finger, and index finger began to work in their proper order. Now, if I can figure out which strings the two fingers should be glued to, I would be fine.

I have a LOT to learn, and I haven't even got the banjo yet. Untill the RK 35 shows up on the doorstep, I will be using a "no-name" 5 string that set me back $70.00. I can practice on that until I get the "real" banjo hut next week.

The only reason I am typing this now, is that Nancy, ever the gracious host, eased me out of the banjo room, and up to the counter where I bought all three picks, as well as a set of light banjo strings, I understand that they are a tad easier on the fingers of the rookie.

Aside from the helpfulness of Nancy I was pleasantly surprised at the total price, $10.00 for picks, and strings.

I don't know how good I will ever be, getting the fingers on the right hand to do what they should do will take a large amount of muscle memory and practice; add to that the fretting etc., that the left hand will be doing it's going to make juggling look a whole lot simpler.



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Playing Since: 2014
Experience Level: Just Startin'


Occupation: Real Estate Consultant

Gender: Male
Age: 63

My Instruments:
RK 35 Banjo

Classified Rating: not rated
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Visible to: Public
Created 7/1/2014
Last Visit 9/24/2014

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