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Apr 28, 2020 - 1:22:03 AM

warthog12

Australia

5 posts since 4/18/2020

Basically what I've written in the title, I'm unsure about the correct approach to this. I've experimented with both staying in the same position and then reaching out with the pinky with a tiny shift upward, and also with shifting up a fret which seems to make it considerably easier except when you're doing a run down on the E string (eg 4-3-2-1 or something similar to that). I think I've had more success with jumping up a fret to be honest and trying to be fast on jumping back down. What are the thoughts in the community about this? I just don't want to commit something to muscle memory and then find I've been doing it all wrong ... If my post doesn't make sense let me know and I'll try to explain it more, I was a little unsure about how to describe what I meant!

Apr 28, 2020 - 4:49:41 AM

928 posts since 2/19/2012

I don't think there is a single method to this. I was looking for something similar, but each tune requires something different. Sometimes you just have to make a jump to it and then jump back; other times it makes sense to shift your hand, depending on what comes next. I think it just takes time to work these things out and have them become part of your muscle memory. All the simple moves in the first five frets get lots of repetition and quickly go into some kind of memory. I've found that playing up and down the E string is taking longer to get into some kind of pattern because I don't spend as much time there, and the note combinations are so varied. There are a couple of ways to do the fretting, whether mandolin style or cello style in terms of notes covered for each finger. That's probably a different discussion. Both are used, and both still require sorting out how to get around, especially running up and down the E string. I hope this is what you were asking about. I'm still learning, but I have recently started with an instructor, which is a huge help.

Apr 28, 2020 - 8:40:41 AM

DSmoke

USA

1105 posts since 11/30/2015

This recent post might be of interest to you:

https://www.banjohangout.org/topic/360789

There are many approaches to playing the high b, and probably the most talked about subject after pics.  You can shift to 2nd position, you make a quick jump, you can rock over the ring finger planted on the a, or possibly just reach it.  Each tune or passage will dictate what will work best for you.  After you know enough tunes you will find it comes easier because you already play a similar phrase and you know what method to use.

Apr 30, 2020 - 8:59:15 AM

Bribak

USA

505 posts since 8/18/2010

One idea I've seen previously proposed - to add a B string below the E   (tuning GDAEB).  What would be the downside of this?  It seems it would be easy enough to ignore it except for when needed.  Lots of tunes are played ignoring the low G string.  There must be something obvious I'm missing or it would have been done before.

May 1, 2020 - 4:14:15 PM

530 posts since 6/30/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Bribak

One idea I've seen previously proposed - to add a B string below the E   (tuning GDAEB).  What would be the downside of this?  It seems it would be easy enough to ignore it except for when needed.  Lots of tunes are played ignoring the low G string.  There must be something obvious I'm missing or it would have been done before.


Interesting idea Bribak! I saw a post on Facebook recently where Clareen Banjos made a 5 string tenor banjo for a customer, wonder if it was inspired by similar thinking? 

Regarding playing the high B on the E string, I usually shift down a position except for on a few tunes where I just stretch to hit the B. I find shifting down works for me and makes stuff like an ABA triplet much more comfortable to play.

May 1, 2020 - 8:23:37 PM
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Tony O Rourke

Australia

44 posts since 2/9/2016

Normally to make the high B note I would take this approach. For tunes in the key of G I would play the G note with my first finger, the A with my third, and the high B with the fourth finger. Often you'll find there's an F# note in there somewhere and this can be played with the first finger as for the G; they are next to each other on the fretboard so there is a minimal amount of ''sliding'' required. For the key of D I would play F# with the first finger, G= second finger, A= third finger, and B= fourth finger. Often in the key of D you will have an F# followed by a high B(or vice versa) and the most efficient way of making this is to stretch the fingers rather than moving the hand laterally. My hand size is not large and my fingers are not all that long so I'm almost forced into good technique. The second part of ''George White's Favourite''(key of G) and the second part of ''The Sailor's Bonnet'' are ideal tunes to practice with this method. Hope this helps.......

May 2, 2020 - 7:38:14 PM

DSmoke

USA

1105 posts since 11/30/2015

I know someone who made a banjo tuned GDAEB and has posted videos of him playing it on a popular Facebook banjo group and noboby has picked up that he is not playing the b on the 7th fret.

May 3, 2020 - 5:09:04 AM

Bribak

USA

505 posts since 8/18/2010

quote:
Originally posted by DSmoke

I know someone who made a banjo tuned GDAEB and has posted videos of him playing it on a popular Facebook banjo group and noboby has picked up that he is not playing the b on the 7th fret.


Are these videos available on YouTube? I'm not a member of Facebook.

May 3, 2020 - 2:39:14 PM
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198 posts since 4/5/2016

Hi Bribak,

Dan Alerted me to your posts here. I'm the crazy guy who added a fifth string to my tenor banjo. I'm calling it the "Banton B". ;)

Here's the first iteration. I designed and cast a piece that was screwed onto the side of a cheap Recording King Neck.  Excuse my palying I'm still very much a learner.

Banton B

Recently I had a banjo neck made to my specifications to add the fifth string integral to the neck.  It has a tunneled fifth string so the tuners are all up at the top.  (I don't love the sound of this recording, but you get the idea)

Banton B Neck

It's funny. When I thought of it, I also figured there must be a reason why it didn't exist.  It's so obvious.  But, to my surprise, it really works well! 

It's a total cheat, but since I'm learning a new instrument at 40....  I've had it awhile now and I'm getting used to playing the high B with that string no problem. 

Interestingly, I've found that an added benefit to the fifth string is that it improves the tone of the E string.  I think the added down pressure on the bridge from the fifth string gets more bang for it's buck.  Also, it's easy to find bridges.  I can use regular five string bridges.  And G Edward Porgie of this forum suggested that, "There may be another reason why that extra string helps the E string. B is a natural overtone of the E and may be reinforcing the sound in that manner. "

Edited by - Nate Banton on 05/03/2020 14:43:56

May 3, 2020 - 2:42:11 PM

198 posts since 4/5/2016

If you think you might want to try out the fifth string on a tenor idea I can send you a cast piece to screw to a tenor neck if you want. (please don't use a nice vintage one!) I'd just charge you the cost of the casting and shipping.

May 3, 2020 - 2:45:48 PM

198 posts since 4/5/2016

Sorry I just realized this is a total thread highjacking. Moderators, feel free to move this to it's own thread if that's the right thing to do.

May 3, 2020 - 8:14:59 PM

Bribak

USA

505 posts since 8/18/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Nate Banton

Hi Bribak,

Dan Alerted me to your posts here. I'm the crazy guy who added a fifth string to my tenor banjo. I'm calling it the "Banton B". ;)

Here's the first iteration. I designed and cast a piece that was screwed onto the side of a cheap Recording King Neck.  Excuse my palying I'm still very much a learner.

Banton B

Recently I had a banjo neck made to my specifications to add the fifth string integral to the neck.  It has a tunneled fifth string so the tuners are all up at the top.  (I don't love the sound of this recording, but you get the idea)

Banton B Neck

It's funny. When I thought of it, I also figured there must be a reason why it didn't exist.  It's so obvious.  But, to my surprise, it really works well! 

It's a total cheat, but since I'm learning a new instrument at 40....  I've had it awhile now and I'm getting used to playing the high B with that string no problem. 

Interestingly, I've found that an added benefit to the fifth string is that it improves the tone of the E string.  I think the added down pressure on the bridge from the fifth string gets more bang for it's buck.  Also, it's easy to find bridges.  I can use regular five string bridges.  And G Edward Porgie of this forum suggested that, "There may be another reason why that extra string helps the E string. B is a natural overtone of the E and may be reinforcing the sound in that manner. "

 

Hi Nate.  Thanks so much for your response and all the interesting info!  That is so cool!  I would really be tempted to try the screw-in mechanism but unfortunately I am  in the process of determining which couple of my tenors to sell and I don't want to hurt the resell prospects by any modification.  I have two vintage banjos, both from the 1920s that I wouldn't want to ever modify.  The 1925 Gibson is my main player and I'm so happy with it I don't want to risk changing anything. My two new tenors were rather expensive and I'm also afraid to modify them and possibly discourage potential future buyers.  I definitely think that if I was having a new custom banjo built I would approach the builder about trying your added string method.  It really does seem like such a good idea.   It's hard to see any downside.

I enjoyed your playing.  You make good use of this feature and seem to be very accustomed to it.   I am relatively new to Irish tenor too (about 4 years) and got a late start (I'm 62).  I wish I had tried this idea (and gotten used to it)  back when I just was starting.  My hands are starting to bother me a little now (arthritis?) and avoiding that B stretch would be nice.  Anyway, thanks so much for sharing your experience with doing this.  Dan - thanks for contacting Nate to share the videos and info.


May 28, 2020 - 11:48:38 AM
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4744 posts since 2/24/2004

Hi--just got a 17 fret tenor a couple weeks ago & have tried a couple different fingerings. 

I signed up for the Online Academy of Irish Music and started the beginning banjo course--which seems set up well to me.

But I am varying a bit from the instructor.  I am using my pinky more on the 5th fret so ringman is on the 4th-middle man on 2 & 3 & pointer on first. 

Since I already have a tune that goes suddenly to the 7th fret on the e string--coming down with my pinky on the 7th & working my way back to the 3 & 2.

But--remember that this banjo has the same fingering as a fiddle or mando--so if the notes were to go higher up the neck--it would make more sense to hit the 7th fret with index & work your way higher as if you were playing from third position :)

So far--it seems to be a smooth transition :)   

Best wishes,

Mary Z. Cox

maryzcox.com


 

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