Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

352
Banjo Lovers Online


Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Jun 4, 2020 - 12:46:46 PM
like this

WHTTW

USA

8 posts since 6/4/2020

Figured I'd check in. I picked up my first banjo last year when I was living in Boone, NC. I took an Appalachian Music class and was hooked on the first day after hearing my professor play Cumberland Gap clawhammer on a fretless banjo. I went out and bought a used Savannah banjo and played for a couple weeks but eventually put it down. In the meantime I continued discovering Old Time music and contemporary artists with Appalachian influences. I moved back here to Seattle, WA this year but feel very fortunate to have been exposed to old time banjo during my time in NC. Anyway, I picked my banjo back up when quarantine first hit and have been playing quite a bit over the last month or two. I played electric guitar briefly when I was a kid around 10-12 years old (27 now) but never took it serious enough to cement any real skill. For all intensive purposes, I consider this my first real go at any instrument. I've been practicing with Josh from Brainjo's 8 Essential Steps to Clawhammer Banjo. Feeling rather limited on my Savannah (or rather accomplished after the 8 steps?) I pulled the trigger on a Deering Americana with a scooped neck from Reverb. I was hesitant not knowing wether the difference in price between my Savannah and the Deering would equate to discernible difference in quality. It arrived yesterday and comparing the two is like comparing an actual instrument to a toy. Apples and Oranges. I was smiling ear to ear running through the exercises I had been playing. Hammer on's and pull off's are notably easier to incorporate and the sound is much more vibrant. My only complaint is the tuners look fairly chintzy and I'll need to take some steel wool to the remo printing left on the rim for aesthetics. Maybe planetary Gotoh tuners and a skin head in the future. For now, if anyone has input on where I should go from the 8 step videos moving forward please leave some advice. Thanks.

Jun 4, 2020 - 1:02:16 PM

2160 posts since 5/2/2012

Welcome to the HO! Glad to see your move-up banjo purchase worked so well for you. Sound quality improvement and ease of playability are two of the things one hopes to get out of an upgrade. I'll leave it to the clawhammer players to suggest (online) teachers and/or books to help you continue your banjo journey. Sounds like you are off to a great start!

Jun 4, 2020 - 1:24:56 PM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

652 posts since 10/15/2019

Just listen to what you like, up to the point where you are humming it in the shower and in your sleep, then grab that banjo and make it happen.

It can be anything, old time, bluegrass, classic country, whatever. The notes are all there on a banjo fretboard just waiting for you to find them.

Jun 4, 2020 - 1:59:47 PM
likes this

Dlye

Canada

8 posts since 3/5/2018

Check out Tom Collins on Patreon.

Jun 4, 2020 - 7:16:01 PM
likes this

jcking

Canada

7 posts since 11/20/2019

I have been continuing with josh’s Brainjo Clawhammer lessons since I started playing in December. I am happy with the clarity of instruction, the progression of skills and the excellent video productions.

I also have a Deering Americana that now has a scooped neck, Rickard no-knot tailpiece, Tusq nut and Fibreskyn head. All good upgrades toward getting the tone I want.

Jun 7, 2020 - 8:34:40 AM
likes this

258 posts since 11/4/2012

Josh at Brainjo is great also check out some of Dan Levinson's videos here on BHO good stuff.

Jun 7, 2020 - 9:50:24 AM
like this
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

11727 posts since 6/30/2015
Online Now

Welcome aboard. I've owned 2 Deering's, still have one, the prelude to the Americana, a Goodtime Classic. Back when I played guitar I discovered that the instrument makes all the difference in how much you will play. Once you have that instrument that feels good and sounds good TO YOU, you pick it up all the time, and you can't play and not get better. My current all the time banjo is a Rickard Dobson, with the Deering as my alternate tuned and back up instrument. I take both to the local jam so I don't have to keep re-tuning from G to Double C.

Jun 12, 2020 - 2:43:04 PM

WHTTW

USA

8 posts since 6/4/2020

Thanks for the responses. I opted for the rest of the Brainjo course catalog because I like the simplicity of the interface. Printed out the three tunes Josh recommends playing through for the first month and taped them to my wall. Cripple Creek, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, and Sunshine. I will definitely look into Dan Levinson's videos as well.

Jun 12, 2020 - 3:53:21 PM
likes this

jcking

Canada

7 posts since 11/20/2019

Those are good tunes Michael. I really like the way Josh’s lessons build skills gradually with progressively more interesting arrangements. Brainjo lessons still have my interest after 6 months.

Jun 13, 2020 - 12:34:59 AM
likes this

AndyW

UK

504 posts since 7/4/2017

Jun 13, 2020 - 4:48:38 AM
likes this

carlb

USA

2115 posts since 12/16/2007

What Mike said and develop your ear and don't become tab dependent.

Jun 20, 2020 - 10:03:55 AM

WHTTW

USA

8 posts since 6/4/2020

quote:
Originally posted by jcking

Those are good tunes Michael. I really like the way Josh’s lessons build skills gradually with progressively more interesting arrangements. Brainjo lessons still have my interest after 6 months.


JCking- Nice to know your still having fun with the Brainjo method. Sounds like were on a similar path ie same instructor and instruments. 

Jun 20, 2020 - 10:05:59 AM
like this

WHTTW

USA

8 posts since 6/4/2020

quote:
Originally posted by AndyW

3 free Dan Levenson videos hosted by this site. Tony Spadero's Rocketsciencebanjo, and the accompanying RSB videos.

banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=235

banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=247

banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=260

rsb.pricklypearmusic.net/

rsb.pricklypearmusic.net/rsbvideos.html


Just got through that first linked Levonson video. What a teacher. Killer introduction and really explained away some of the "insecurities" I was having with my right hand. I was worried I would develop some bad form from the jump and this video seems to have ironed that out!

Jun 20, 2020 - 10:13:48 AM

WHTTW

USA

8 posts since 6/4/2020

quote:
Originally posted by carlb

What Mike said and develop your ear and don't become tab dependent.


Hey Carl,

I've heard this multiple times now. Here is my dilemma with tab dependency, similar to that of the scooped neck dilemma. When I practice, I like to have some direction. The beginner tabs give me a reason to sharpen my foundational skills and accuracy. Should I be worried about straying from the tabs this early on? Especially when I've hardly had a chance to internalize the most basic chords? Maybe you have some tips for me. I know there is a module in the Brainjo course labeled "playing by ear" but it is a few months down the road.  

Jun 20, 2020 - 12:04 PM

AndyW

UK

504 posts since 7/4/2017

It is a big jump to move away from the tab.

It's a huge psychological thing because you intentionally make things much harder for yourself. I did it for a while, and made some progress getting the basic melodies by ear and working out a few tune versions of my own, but came back to tab to learn a bunch of tunes fast as a jam had opened up near me. I need to make the jump again. I've just joined Tom Collins Patreon, and he's constantly saying 'for those that need the tab', a reminder that I need to make the break and work on my ear.

I think though, that without one on one instruction tab is pretty much a necessity when first learning.

Jun 20, 2020 - 1:18:45 PM

carlb

USA

2115 posts since 12/16/2007

quote:
Originally posted by WHTTW
....................Should I be worried about straying from the tabs this early on? Especially when I've hardly had a chance to internalize the most basic chords? Maybe you have some tips for me........
 

My own experience was before the existence of tabs. I've had the fortune of ear training as I sang folk songs about the same time as I started talking. I consider this a Godsend in my path through musical life. Anyway, when I started learning banjo, I used my ear ability to play along with recordings. Not that I was trying, or accomplishing, to play note for note, but finding something that fit with the fiddle. I watched some really good banjo players and stole what I could from what they were doing. Getting my right hand completely comfortable was my goal. Also, I was blessed in that I already played guitar and with chords, I was almost always able to find a way that fit, even if I used a chord in a phrase; eventually I'd find more melody notes, but the feeling of the phrase was of high importance.

Now people have different ways in which they feel most confident in their approach to playing. You should use your strengths, that may be from some other activity, to add to your developing skill. I got really hooked on playing the banjo because what I heard coming back in my ear was what I wanted to play. Play to satisfy your self; I do, though I really rather be playing with others than by myself, especially fiddle-banjo duets, when the opportunity is there.

Jun 20, 2020 - 1:48:25 PM
likes this

Clawdan

USA

3427 posts since 3/12/2006

quote:
Originally posted by WHTTW
quote:
Originally posted by AndyW

3 free Dan Levenson videos hosted by this site. Tony Spadero's Rocketsciencebanjo, and the accompanying RSB videos.

banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=235

banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=247

banjohangout.org/lessons/video...sp?id=260

rsb.pricklypearmusic.net/

rsb.pricklypearmusic.net/rsbvideos.html


Just got through that first linked Levonson video. What a teacher. Killer introduction and really explained away some of the "insecurities" I was having with my right hand. I was worried I would develop some bad form from the jump and this video seems to have ironed that out!


Thank you Michael! Glad I could help. Let me know if you would be interested in some webcam lessons (Skype etc).

Jun 21, 2020 - 3:18:07 PM

Paul R

Canada

12871 posts since 1/28/2010

quote:
Originally posted by WHTTW
quote:
Originally posted by carlb

What Mike said and develop your ear and don't become tab dependent.


Hey Carl,

I've heard this multiple times now. Here is my dilemma with tab dependency, similar to that of the scooped neck dilemma. When I practice, I like to have some direction. The beginner tabs give me a reason to sharpen my foundational skills and accuracy. Should I be worried about straying from the tabs this early on? Especially when I've hardly had a chance to internalize the most basic chords? Maybe you have some tips for me. I know there is a module in the Brainjo course labeled "playing by ear" but it is a few months down the road.  


As you work through tunes you will most likely rely less on the tabs and be playing at least parts of them from memory. My goal was to know a tune by memory, which should bring you to learning at least partly by ear. I don't know about other players, but I found that jamming with folks forced me to adapt what I'd learned and to change what I played to be more compatible with what people were playing.

A guitarist/singer I've played with insists that you don't "know" a song until you can sing/play it by heart. For playing to an audience, I agree.

Jun 21, 2020 - 5:47:53 PM

jcking

Canada

7 posts since 11/20/2019

Clawdan Many thanks for these videos. I watched parts 1 & 2 so far and definitely appreciate your clarity, organization and presentation. For me the big learning moment so far was using the 10 o’clock position on the fingernail. I have your basics book ordered now. Thanks.

Jun 21, 2020 - 7:31:57 PM

Clawdan

USA

3427 posts since 3/12/2006

Thank you jcking. Your kind words of your progress keep me going.
You are welcome.

Jun 21, 2020 - 8:16:57 PM

1633 posts since 4/10/2005

I don't see a question from the OP as to whether they should use tab, not use tab, stop using tab,or whatever. I just see a query for suggestions as to where to go after taking 8 video lessons. Here are a couple of suggestions, regardless of whether you do or do not use tab.

---Listen, Listen, Listen: You do mention some recordings or listening. Do more. Do lots, and lots, and lots,particularly of solo playing, and recordings with no more than 2 or 3 instruments counting the banjo. There are threads in this Clawhammer forum pretty recently where people asked for and posted favorite/top clawhammer recordings--Try to acquire some of them and listen in the house, in the car, at work, etc. If you make this part of your inner landscape, it will improve your playing big-time.

----Work through some of the fabulous free lessons available on youtube where the lesson is, a master-level clawhammer player teaches you a tune. You add to your repertoire and get an easy way to start learning by both ear and eye--they are playing it AND showing you where to put your fingers and pull off, hammer, etc.

A non-inclusive sampling of some folks who offer at least a couple of these (some offer numerous free tune lessons, others offer a couple for free) might be: David Bragger, Hilarie Burhans (this wonderful player has a SLEW of free tune lessons on the 'tube), Jim Pankey, Dan Levenson, Hunter Robertson. There are more. Once you have learned to play a bit, availing yourself of these can be hugely advantageous for your continued improvement. You can use these experiences to form building blocks for figuring out tunes yourself later on down the line.  

Be sure to record the parts of the lesson where the person simply plays the tune through a few times.  They often do that faster, and then do it slower, and sometimes they do it at the start of the video as well as at the end.   Be sure to tape all points where they're playing the tune straight through, be it faster or slower, and then play, play, play, play and listen, listen, listen to that recording.  And in between, go back to the video where they're showing how to play it phrase by phrase.    This is incredibly helpful.

Edited by - ceemonster on 06/21/2020 20:23:44

Jun 21, 2020 - 8:34:02 PM

1633 posts since 4/10/2005

As an add-on to my earlier post above--here is the link to a recent thread in this forum where folks listed great clawhammer recordings. Thread title was "Must have albums":

banjohangout.org/topic/363828

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.28125