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Apr 28, 2021 - 1:37:52 AM

dirkan

Belgium

36 posts since 1/31/2020

Been practicing triplets now for like 6 months, on and off but pretty regularly for 2 months. I feel like I've tried everything but still atrocious at them, just nowhere near good enough to be included in any sets or sessions/gigs. When I practice I'm just playing slow with metronome and play the same tunes over and over again. I'm having more success with the thinner Clareen picks but it's still hit and miss. Half the time I'm not sure even if I get it whether I've played it too slow or not. How long did it take you to get triplets?

I've really been wanting lessons, not OAIM and videos which I don't find overly useful, but an actual teacher that can grill me. There's none in person where I live sadly.

Apr 28, 2021 - 3:28:35 AM
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Greg Denton

Canada

70 posts since 10/5/2014

Jens Kruger addressed triplets as part of the free series of masterclasses he did for Deering's YouTube channel. I recommend the whole series, but here's the episode where he talks a bit about triplets. Maybe you'll find it helpful?
youtube.com/watch?v=OvyHHwd3OW0

Apr 28, 2021 - 7:56:51 AM
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69 posts since 2/8/2016

You may consider Enda Scahill's Tutor books (with video). (I know you said know more videos, but it sounds that your options are limited.) He uses a "very defined set of rules" that he claims will solve common problems such as missed triplets. I have been working my way through the first one and have found it to be quite helpful and the prices are reasonable.

There is a good review at thesession.org/discussions/20037.

Good luck.

Apr 28, 2021 - 2:53:05 PM

56 posts since 2/18/2021

IMO, jigs are MUCH easier to play triplets on. The beat pattern lends itself to triplets more so than reels or hornpipes. That's all I got for you, as I'm new to Irish banjo myself.

Apr 28, 2021 - 4:32:48 PM
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DSmoke

USA

1182 posts since 11/30/2015

Enda has put his books on the Soundslice platform. This is one of the best learning resources available right now. His triplet exercises are fantastic and he has a some great tune selections as well. Here is the link:

https://www.soundslice.com/courses/4050/

I can also recommend a few of the top teachers in Ireland who offer virtual lessons.  Shoot me an email and I will pass a few names along to you.

As for triplets, I was much like you.  I worked so hard because I thought I needed them.  However, they disrupted the rhythm of the music.  So I quit playing them focusing on more important aspects of the music and learning to play.  My main focus and goal of learning to play and playing is playing with others and having fun.  When sitting around the session table nobody really cares about the triplets and variations.  I think we put too much importance on that as we learn and grow because we listen to recordings and videos of great players in a solo or small group performance where you hear them more, and are needed more.  I am now at the point where I feel a need to "embellish" the tune because I'm at a point where I recognize where and how to do so.  Now I just have to learn how.  I can play triplets/trebles and know where they fit in, but I like a tasteful mix of triplets, chords, and note variations.

Apr 28, 2021 - 11:28:34 PM

martyjoe

Ireland

145 posts since 3/24/2020

I purchased the book ‘Laws of Brainjo’ on Amazon. It’s a great book for anyone playing anything! We can easily get frustrated forcing ourselves to learn a new tricks, if we understand the way our brain works we can learn those tricks more effectively & efficiently. There is a real danger of limiting yourself if you do it or force it incorrectly.

May 11, 2021 - 2:44:25 PM

dirkan

Belgium

36 posts since 1/31/2020

DSmoke thanks, I actually have his books that he wrote and the CD's, I've started working through his exercises at the start of the first book again over the past 2 weeks. I have been gradually speeding up the exercises using VLC and spending about 20 minutes a day just focused on this before I start trying to learn new tunes/review. Do you recommend getting it on Soundsplice? Is there anything new or of particular use?

I completely agree, in fact I don't particularly like triplets or the flashy style of banjo playing, I'm just learning them because I want to be able to use them if I ever feel like I need to.

martyjoe thanks, I purchased this and read it over the past 2 weeks. I thoroughly recommend it.

Edited by - dirkan on 05/11/2021 14:44:57

May 11, 2021 - 4:29:40 PM

DSmoke

USA

1182 posts since 11/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by dirkan

DSmoke thanks, I actually have his books that he wrote and the CD's, I've started working through his exercises at the start of the first book again over the past 2 weeks. I have been gradually speeding up the exercises using VLC and spending about 20 minutes a day just focused on this before I start trying to learn new tunes/review. Do you recommend getting it on Soundsplice? Is there anything new or of particular use?

I completely agree, in fact I don't particularly like triplets or the flashy style of banjo playing, I'm just learning them because I want to be able to use them if I ever feel like I need to.

martyjoe thanks, I purchased this and read it over the past 2 weeks. I thoroughly recommend it.


The soundslice is WAY better than the CD.  His recordings on the CD were so slow it was barely recognizable as a tune.  I'm primarily an ear learner and I never got past the exercises because of this.  Here is a video I made about the Soundslice that will explain some of the features.  Enda did have a free trial lesson on the Soundslice as well, not sure if that still exists, but I could ask him.

https://youtu.be/DI0W6yaj2fo

Dec 18, 2021 - 10:54:36 PM

dirkan

Belgium

36 posts since 1/31/2020

Hi folks, still struggling with triplets. My main issue at the moment is that when I do exercises etc at home I can play triplets, but whenever I try to play them in tunes it seems to go to s***. I've still not played a triplet at a session in any tune I've ever started, unless it's a polka in which case I don't seem to have any issues. I just can't work out what it is.

My practice approach at the moment because it's probably relevant: I spend 30-60 minutes just on triplets every day, some of that is spent on a few tunes I've been working on, and a lot of it is playing the same exercises over and over again with a metronome on in the background, I usually started at 100 bpm and finish up at about 120ish bpm at the end of a practice session. After that I usually work on new tunes/review old ones on Anki (another 1.5-2.5 hours). I even start to notice it after I finish doing focused practice, In start regularly missing triplets, the pick gets caught on the string etc. The crazy thing is I know I can do them, because when I'm playing at a session or by myself working on reviewing old tunes it's often at a lower speed. It truly is depressing stuff! Anyone got any ideas?

Dec 19, 2021 - 12:38:05 AM
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martyjoe

Ireland

145 posts since 3/24/2020

I found that sometimes the pick seemed to bounce off the string, or get stuck on the string (a bit like having a speech impediment). What I found was that I was kind of crowding the string or starting triplet too close to or even already touching the string. This led to the pick getting caught up in string, so I consciously started playing each triplet from a good (breathing) distance away from the string. This improved the flow of my playing.

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Dec 19, 2021 - 4:47:27 AM
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DSmoke

USA

1182 posts since 11/30/2015

My triplets get hung up for 3 reasons. One, I put too much pressure on myself and tense up. If I am relaxed they flow out and feel easy. Two, I am playing too fast and makes the speed of triplet even faster and my technique is lost. Three, this is a recent discovery. My pick is too deep in the strings. I now "try" to use just the very tip of the pick. Let me tell you, by doing so I can play much faster and much easier. There is very little resistance but still plenty of volume. This is my main area of practice right now.

Dec 19, 2021 - 8:14:27 AM
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934 posts since 2/19/2012

I'm in much the same place as Dan, but with less experience. I've learned a few things and am gradually improving.  I also agree with trying to focus on playing with just the tip of the pick.  I tried every possible pick, with one working better for awhile, then another, and finally decided the choice of pick doesn't seem to matter much except for the tone. If my triplets are working, they're working with whatever pick I use. If they're not working, changing picks seldom helps. I pick with my wrist, wrist resting just behind the bridge, hand closed, and no fingers touching the head. I've learned that keeping my wrist and forearm flatter to the banjo and working to move my wrist parallel to the head helps, at least partly because I can keep the pick closer to perpendicular to the head for both the up and down strokes. This seems to help with the digging in problem. I discovered that a tallish armrest on a vintage banjo made this more difficult, which seemed to cause me to roll my wrist a little and get the pick in too deeply for the second (up for me) note of the triplet. So the armrest is gone. I've had some luck with a very slight angle change of the pick (relative to the axis of the strings) by bending my thumb a small amount, just for the triplets, which helps the pick glide over the strings.

My instructor has told me many times that while the tendency is to focus on the left hand, that's the easy part, and I'm a believer. There are so many variables to consider with the right hand, including the intention to stay relaxed at the same time.

Edited by - Parker135 on 12/19/2021 08:25:24

Dec 28, 2021 - 2:57:48 PM

40 posts since 7/5/2013

I am a novice when it comes to Irish tenor banjo, but I think this video of one of the greats clearly shows a pick angle to the strings that is conducive to triplets!
Happy New Year!
youtu.be/BsB0lHfUxKE

Dec 30, 2021 - 10:04:46 PM

dirkan

Belgium

36 posts since 1/31/2020

Thankyou for the replies and sorry for taking so long to get back, I have been out of reception camping for Christmas.

DSmoke agreed, I think I have problems with all 3 of these things you've mentioned here. I have a tendency actually to start playing further up the side of the pick as it becomes worn down. I did take a video of myself to try and show you guys how I play but I can't upload it for some reason, it's just an mp4 video. Not sure what the best way is to get it across to you all.

Parker135 Thanks for your insights as always. I have also noticed that I seem to get more triplets when I focus on not pushing down to hard with my right hand. I never rest it on the head but I found at one point I was pushing too hard on the strings behind the bridge, completely agree with what you're saying.

Banjoista8N Thanks a lot, I've seen Gerry play before and he's a machine. I do try to replicate this sort of picking position but I struggle to know if I'm doing it correctly or not sometimes.

Jan 2, 2022 - 6:16:27 AM

934 posts since 2/19/2012

quote:
Originally posted by dirkan

Thankyou for the replies and sorry for taking so long to get back, I have been out of reception camping for Christmas.

DSmoke agreed, I think I have problems with all 3 of these things you've mentioned here. I have a tendency actually to start playing further up the side of the pick as it becomes worn down. I did take a video of myself to try and show you guys how I play but I can't upload it for some reason, it's just an mp4 video. Not sure what the best way is to get it across to you all.

Parker135 Thanks for your insights as always. I have also noticed that I seem to get more triplets when I focus on not pushing down to hard with my right hand. I never rest it on the head but I found at one point I was pushing too hard on the strings behind the bridge, completely agree with what you're saying.

Banjoista8N Thanks a lot, I've seen Gerry play before and he's a machine. I do try to replicate this sort of picking position but I struggle to know if I'm doing it correctly or not sometimes.


@dirkan @DSmoke @Banjoista8N

Happy New Year!  I hope I managed to tag everyone.  I have mixed results with that BHO feature.

I really enjoyed the Gerry O'Conner video.  I viewed it a long time ago, forgot about it, and now I can appreciate it even more.  I notice he holds the pick so it's largely perpendicular to the head, which I've tried in an effort to maintain balance in the ups and downs to avoid catching the pick under the string on the up.  So I'm going to work more on that.  Also, the angle to the strings, whatever axis that is, makes the pick flow across the strings more easily as we've discussed here before.  And, his grip is a little more open with less curl in his index finger, at least compared to my grip.  I think that one is pretty unique to the individual in terms of getting the pick oriented as desired.  So, lots to work on in 2022.

I hope you all had a great holiday.

Parker

Jan 28, 2022 - 11:39:17 AM
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1 posts since 1/28/2022

@dirkan

If you play a reel in straight eights, what is the highest BPM you can play at with good timing/phrasing and no tension in your wrist? In my experience even though a triplet is one ornament, the ability to play them smoothly (or at all!) at tempo is directly connected to my maximum relaxed tempo without them. So for example when my maximum relaxed tempo for a reel was 100 BPM I could only reliable play triplets  at around 75-80 BPM.

Edited by - an giolla donn on 01/28/2022 11:40:52

Jan 28, 2022 - 1:49:07 PM

934 posts since 2/19/2012

There's probably something to that. I'm still working on my tempo to get up to session speed, with 100 bpm as kind of a threshold for me. When I'm successfully hitting 100 or so, I'm no longer trying for much ornamentation.

Jan 28, 2022 - 4:55:59 PM
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320 posts since 10/26/2018

For perspective, you started this thread 9 months ago. Burn out is real and your methods don't seem to be working, while at the same time you risk diminishing returns on your efforts.

I would suggest shorter time on the actual exercises, broken up with tunes (learning or just playing ones you know). Say 10 minutes of triplets and 10 of tunes (or thereabouts) alternating between them for as long as you've been spending on exercises alone. I would also vary which exercises you are focusing on per practice session (or at least between tune sets).
Another thing you might do is practice shortly before bedtime (if possible). Studies show that the brain does a lot of work for you while you sleep and practicing before bed can speed up the learning process.

How tightly/loosely you hold the pick can affect your playing as much as the other variables mentioned above.

I'm learning to play the flute and share your frustrations on a few levels. So many options for where to breathe...

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