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Nov 12, 2019 - 8:24:19 AM
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12 posts since 8/20/2019

I haven't owned a banjo in about 15 years and never really had a good banjo to begin with. I always played Scruggs style when I did play, but I was mainly a guitar player (and then later a mandolin player). For the past few years I've been drawn to the folksy, more mellow sound (and interesting technique) of clawhammer.

I finally gave in and bought an open-back banjo, a Pisgah Wonder, a couple of months ago. Gorgeous flamed maple, by the way! I love flamed maple... My plans were to just learn a bit of clawhammer, just for an occasional bit of spice (most of my playing is on mandolin these days), not to dive deeply into the clawhammer world.

This weekend I started goofing around with more up-the-neck stuff and with movable two-, three-, and four-note chords. I found myself enjoying clawhammer way too much, lol, and couldn't put it down! I finally had to force myself to hang the banjo back on the wall and spend time with my mandolin.

So, WARNING! :)

Edited by - Doug Brock on 11/12/2019 08:25:20

Nov 12, 2019 - 11:03:20 AM
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3724 posts since 10/13/2005

That's OK Doug, we have a 12 step program here at BHO for people with your affliction. You can try to ignore it, pretend that there is no problem, take the prescribed drugs, but in the end it is going to be all your friends to help you get to the other side of this. Of course recovery may take a little while, maybe a few decades or so but we are here to help as we are all recovering together. banjered

Nov 12, 2019 - 12:28:16 PM
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89 posts since 1/2/2019

You're just beginning! Over time you'll want to explore the various tone rings too, maybe the different wood - there's a lot of banjos out there.  As I said - you're just getting started :)

(Don't ask me how I know this...)

Edited by - nightingale on 11/12/2019 12:29:32

Nov 12, 2019 - 12:56:39 PM
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3632 posts since 5/12/2010

I really admire the banjos built by Pisgah. They build high quality at a very decent price.

At Clifftop I asked Patrick if he still made his necks by hand, or if he had went to a CNC machine. The answer was he still makes them pretty much by hand, and this was really something to me, as I remember touring his shop and seeing a multitude of very nice necks in the finishing room. Really amazing for the level of production Pisgah produces, and every one of his banjos I have tried were absolutely top notch.

But getting back to the addiction. There is no cure as far as I can tell, it just keeps getting worse until it consumes all of your spare time, at least that is my experience. Might as well sell the mandolins and guitars, and put the proceeds toward more banjos.

Nov 12, 2019 - 2:18:14 PM
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Players Union Member

DC5

USA

7898 posts since 6/30/2015

Hi Doug. The guitar and mandolin were the gateway instruments. If only you paid attention to those films in health class. Let me warn you now, STAY AWAY FROM THE UKULELE!

Nov 13, 2019 - 7:27:26 AM

12 posts since 8/20/2019

quote:
Originally posted by DC5

Hi Doug. The guitar and mandolin were the gateway instruments. If only you paid attention to those films in health class. Let me warn you now, STAY AWAY FROM THE UKULELE!


Lol about the ukulele. I love that the uke is relatively easy on the fingers and there is a huge selection of reasonably-priced ukes just about anywhere you look! I have a couple and have bought several over the years that one of my sons has taken from me. Still, I like playing uke, but I've never really gotten hooked. With my limited time, probably for the best! :)

Nov 13, 2019 - 9:04:22 AM
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R Buck

USA

2691 posts since 9/5/2006

You've caught a fatal disease. 50+ years it has plagued me with few ill effects and lots of smiles.

Nov 13, 2019 - 4:59:14 PM
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240 posts since 10/16/2011

A sure sign of clawhammer addiction is to have a house full of clawhammer banjos' so as the collection grows more so does the addiction .

Nov 14, 2019 - 6:26:29 AM
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12 posts since 8/20/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Scott Barnbilly56

A sure sign of clawhammer addiction is to have a house full of clawhammer banjos' so as the collection grows more so does the addiction .


We'll see - I already have too many instruments! I generally try to limit myself to two or three of my main instruments - 3 primary guitars: a rosewood Martin and a mahogany Martin, and a carbon fiber guitar for rough conditions; 2 mandolins - an A-body and an F-body (ok, I technically have a few other mandolins, but I've given them to my sons to play, so they're not in my house at least). Just one mandola, though, and I'm not in any hurry to add a second.

Based on my philosophy, I think I could justify having TWO open-back banjos, maybe one for standard tuning and one for double C tuning. (Ok, that sounded very lazy. "How long does it take for you to change your tuning, for Pete's sake?") And if I start doing much 3-finger banjo again, a banjo with resonator would be nice.

I was at a music store Tuesday and played a used open back banjo with a wooden tone ring. The banjo had a deep, rich tone on the lower notes and if I had the $2200 on hand, the banjo might have gone home with me, lol. Not sure how much of the deeper sound was from the tone ring or from other characteristics of that banjo.

And I'd like to have a banjo with nylgut strings - love that mellow sound. And I watched a video about fretless banjos last night, and that kind of banjo seemed very intriguing to try...

Uh oh, I can see how the banjo proliferation can happen. :)

Edited by - Doug Brock on 11/14/2019 06:27:12

Nov 14, 2019 - 7:29:29 AM

3632 posts since 5/12/2010

You also need one of my old style banjos with a Dobson tone ring, slight radius (20") on the board to facilitate bending strings, and the old style perch pole through the pot neck attachment.

I built one of these a few years ago to resemble a Boucher banjo but with frets and geared tuners, at the time it had no tone ring, and was strung with synthetic "gut" strings. With that set up it had a nice mellow deep tone. That particular banjo has since been updated with a Dobson tone ring and is currently strung with steel which gives it better response and is easier for me to play.
 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpxh1kJtVe0

Nov 14, 2019 - 8:03:02 AM

Big Ed

USA

10 posts since 4/12/2019

quote:
Originally posted by OldPappy

I really admire the banjos built by Pisgah. They build high quality at a very decent price.
 


I really enjoy my Possum.  

I had noticed recently that the 3 best shops nearest to me (in Chicago, Wisconsin, and Michigan) all had no Pisgah's in stock.  When I visited one of them over the weekend, they said something about the Pisgah folk being on hiatus or something...  Said they had had several folk inquire about buying them, but they couldn't get any.  

Edited by - Big Ed on 11/14/2019 08:04:21

Nov 14, 2019 - 8:34:56 AM

3632 posts since 5/12/2010

Last time I spoke with him Patrick was hiking the Appalachian Trail, and that takes a while, but someone is minding the store as I ordered some parts from them last week and the order was processed almost immediately.

Edited by - OldPappy on 11/14/2019 08:36:32

Nov 14, 2019 - 9:37:28 AM

Big Ed

USA

10 posts since 4/12/2019

Hope he's heading north to south! :D

Nov 14, 2019 - 10:00:43 AM

3632 posts since 5/12/2010

I think he started in Georgia, but not sure.

I was in Maine last week, looked at the Northern end of the trail on mount Katahdin but didn't see him coming.

Nov 16, 2019 - 10:05:35 PM

Kye

Canada

22 posts since 3/16/2017

Neato! Hikers will often post videos. I wonder if he's posting?and if he took a mb axe with him?

Nov 17, 2019 - 1:34:46 PM
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Lew H

USA

2318 posts since 3/10/2008

Meanwhile, back at the topic.... I don't know that clawhammer is any more addictive than any other playing style of banjo or other string instrument. I find CH easier to play than BG and easy to create new tunes also. But when I play clawhammer, it is like a drug--it is therapeutic. My worries diminish for a while, and following knee surgery, I find that I can claw the banjo for an hour or more and not realize my leg is aching. So it's like a pain pill and a tranquilizer combined.

Nov 21, 2019 - 10:05:50 AM
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12 posts since 8/20/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Lew H

Meanwhile, back at the topic.... I don't know that clawhammer is any more addictive than any other playing style of banjo or other string instrument.


No, my posting was tongue in cheek, aimed to folks who play clawhammer. :)

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