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Sense of the BHO Community on Banjo-Focused Vocabulary

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Feb 18, 2020 - 2:46:41 AM
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3385 posts since 1/2/2004

Good morning, BHO Citizens. I have a question.

I've written some on old time musicians, some of whom were multi instrumentalists.

From time to time, in manuscripts, I've made reference to fiddle players and banjo players as "Fiddlers and Banjoers."

I think there's a playful symmetry in that formulation, and I think it's a bit more poetic than the conventional formulation "fiddlers and banjo players."

Editors have, of course, been far less forgiving, and far less inclined to embrace the twist to the terminology that seems standard for most publications.

So, I just wondered what the "Sense of the Community" on BHO might be.

Play hard,


Feb 18, 2020 - 4:59:04 AM
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Players Union Member



12348 posts since 8/30/2006

Since banjo is a verb, I'm with you.

Feb 18, 2020 - 5:44:51 AM
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84 posts since 11/29/2012

Banjoists, guitarists, mandolinists, and fiddlists. ;))

Feb 18, 2020 - 6:01:25 AM
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506 posts since 7/10/2012

I always liked bandjurist...

Feb 18, 2020 - 6:18:22 AM
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3385 posts since 1/2/2004

Fiddlists. I like it.
Banjurist. I like that, too. Has a very judicial dimension to it.

Feb 18, 2020 - 6:32:03 AM
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10764 posts since 4/23/2004

If you're being playful/amusing, no problem. If you're serious, use the proper term: banjoist.

We have enough problems with our image as it is. Use of language controls our perception in a text-based environment. For example, I often have to explain the "union" aspect of BHO's "players union" as it often has a negative association down here.

Feb 18, 2020 - 6:39:42 AM

188 posts since 10/26/2008
Online Now


Feb 18, 2020 - 7:08:25 AM
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Players Union Member

R Buck


2741 posts since 9/5/2006

The banjo has long been a problem for the establishment. Played by folks who do not behave as they would like, making a music they don't understand. It often surfaces at odd times, drawing in more folks to its fold. The establishment has never known what to it with it. Rebels like Bill Monroe and Pete Seeger featured it. Now they want to tell us what we are? Fat chance I say. Call yourself what makes you comfortable what completes you. Never mind the editors, who put them in charge anyway?

Banjoist, banjurist, picker, we know what they never will and the truth will set us free!

Feb 18, 2020 - 7:12:27 AM

459 posts since 4/28/2012

Originally posted by trapdoor2

We have enough problems with our image as it is.

True enough!

We feed that "monster" and then we are surprised when it rears it's ugly head.

I still know folks who are ashamed to admit they play banjo!

As the expression goes... "perception is reality".

Feb 18, 2020 - 7:21:12 AM
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2582 posts since 1/15/2014

Banjoists. It's what we've been called since the early 19th century.

Feb 18, 2020 - 7:24:30 AM

369 posts since 3/31/2013

Pluckers, or plucker.

Edited by - jlsorbit on 02/18/2020 07:25:48

Feb 18, 2020 - 7:33:20 AM
Players Union Member



186 posts since 5/16/2017

Musicians proficient at both fiddling and banjoing! A verb, just as Helix points out.

Feb 18, 2020 - 7:43:45 AM

1483 posts since 2/12/2009

I dont mind what they call me as long as they listen, tell me I am great and then pay me lots !

Feb 18, 2020 - 8:11:33 AM
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6857 posts since 8/28/2013

I'm sorry a few people think banjo is a verb. IT IS NOT! A banjo, being a thing, is a noun.  "Banjo," "guitar." "piano," are all nouns, and you either play one as a "player"--another noun--or you add "ist," as in artist. One cannot "banjo" one's car, go "banjoing down the street, get "banjoed" by a truck (or even a banjo), "banjo " through the air, nor can he be "banjoed" into an early grave. 

While i'd suppose the two letters "er" should be acceptable, as there are, indeed, trumpeters, drummers, and fiddlers, But some of these terms are used because they just work better or sound more cohesive.  "Banjoer" just doesn't sound right (although "banjoist" isn't much better) and I can easily understand why an editor would prefer "banjo player." To me, anyway, "fiddlers and banjoers"  doesn't work, and for the average reader, I wonder if he/she could even fathom how to pronounce "banjoer," let alone know what it was.


Feb 18, 2020 - 10:36:56 AM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)


23214 posts since 6/25/2005

“Banjoist” has always seemed a bit too fancy a term for me. “Banjoer,” however logical, is late to the dance and uncomfortable. I still like banjo picker or banjo player.

Feb 18, 2020 - 10:58:43 AM
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7271 posts since 9/29/2004

I liked the term picker for a long time, but over time, the term migrated onto other instruments and then became that was more derogatory than complimentary.

The poor inbred guy on the Georgia backwoods porch was a picker in the mainstream public's minds. Before, it was much more an insider's term that denoted a superior player as a compliment.

That's around the time I began to quit using it in favor of banjoist. That term took the ignorant 'yee-haw' factor off my favorite instrument to me. "Banjo player" is an acceptable substitute to me.

It's too bad that 'picker' got corrupted; it was really a good term that applied very naturally to the banjo.

Feb 18, 2020 - 11:23:31 AM

1481 posts since 11/17/2018

I suppose it depends on what part of the country you're from.

Growing up in Ohio, we always said "banjo player".

To me, "pick" is a technique for playing banjo, or something you use to play banjo, so "player" makes more sense to me.

Edited by - OldNavyGuy on 02/18/2020 11:24:47

Feb 18, 2020 - 11:24:31 AM
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12657 posts since 10/30/2008

Uncle Dave Macon was a renowned banjoist (and songster).

The old folks used to call the whole gang of fiddlers, banjer-pickers, bass players, mandolinists and guitar-men by the catch all term of "musicianers".

Let us revel in the diversity.

My business card (and tombstone) says "Banjoist & Songster" in obvious tribute to the Dixie Dewdrop.

Feb 18, 2020 - 1:30:15 PM

5477 posts since 10/13/2007

Less editors. If you are communicating then let it go.

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