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Jan 17, 2022 - 3:28:34 PM
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graxis

USA

8 posts since 1/17/2022

I got my first banjo on the 5th of January and have been in love with it from the jump. Lots of YouTube lessons, reading posts here, and nonstop practice and I have a serviceable version of Cripple Creek at 160 BPM. Not that I would ever play it out that fast, but I had serious doubts that at nearly 40 I could develop that kind of speed. So at the very least I can do it, which is pretty exciting. I wanted to give everyone here a big thank you for the hours I've spent pouring over posts and the great advice I've gotten.

Edited by - graxis on 01/17/2022 15:29:06

Jan 17, 2022 - 5:10:01 PM

2743 posts since 5/2/2012

Welcome. This is THE place to learn about banjos and playing banjos. And a place for you to share your beginner experiences with others who are just starting to play or thinking about learning to play. At 40 you are just a youngster.

Jan 17, 2022 - 5:50:40 PM
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26 posts since 1/15/2022

Hi all.
I'm also a newbie. I'm looking for the Banjo Terms Glossary. It's said to be an archived topic, and I found where some people are talking about how to set it up and maintain it, etc. But I haven't found the actual glossary. Any suggestions? Thx, AL

Jan 17, 2022 - 9:53:57 PM

410 posts since 6/15/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Amy Lorraine

Hi all.
I'm also a newbie. I'm looking for the Banjo Terms Glossary. It's said to be an archived topic, and I found where some people are talking about how to set it up and maintain it, etc. But I haven't found the actual glossary. Any suggestions? Thx, AL


Funny you should ask.  I was just suggesting that the world needs such a thing -- in an illustrated form.  Like a banjowiki.  I have started a list of terms -- mostly names of parts of banjos -- and I'll be asking BHOers to help me build a complete and correct glossary.

Jan 18, 2022 - 4:43:19 AM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27159 posts since 8/3/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Amy Lorraine

Hi all.
I'm also a newbie. I'm looking for the Banjo Terms Glossary. It's said to be an archived topic, and I found where some people are talking about how to set it up and maintain it, etc. But I haven't found the actual glossary. Any suggestions? Thx, AL


Go here:  https://www.banjohangout.org/archive/201372

Jan 18, 2022 - 4:46:33 AM
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Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27159 posts since 8/3/2003

quote:
Originally posted by graxis

I got my first banjo on the 5th of January and have been in love with it from the jump. Lots of YouTube lessons, reading posts here, and nonstop practice and I have a serviceable version of Cripple Creek at 160 BPM. Not that I would ever play it out that fast, but I had serious doubts that at nearly 40 I could develop that kind of speed. So at the very least I can do it, which is pretty exciting. I wanted to give everyone here a big thank you for the hours I've spent pouring over posts and the great advice I've gotten.


Welcome to the Hangout.  I remember how exciting it is to get  your first banjo and start learning to play.

May I suggest you look into a real live teacher.  You will learn faster and have less bad habits to break!  

If you can't find/afford a one-on-one teacher, there are several online and lessons via skype that can be found here.

If neither of those ideas work for you, then try getting a good beginner instruction book and taking it slowly from page 1.  Don't skip around because you may miss important basic techniques.

Whatever you do, enjoy the trip and have fun!!

Jan 18, 2022 - 5:04:30 AM
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leehar

USA

82 posts since 2/18/2018

Sounds like the OP has made a terrific start. The enthusiasm is there and the discipline to practice. My only caution would be to disregard playing at a high tempo for a while. Pushing for speed led me into some bad habits that were difficult to break. Relax, have fun with it but concentrate on a steady tempo. Speed will come eventually.

Jan 18, 2022 - 5:06:03 AM

BobbyE

USA

3096 posts since 11/29/2007

My advice would be that if you are actually playing a song two weeks after starting at 160BPM, to slow down.

Bobby

Jan 18, 2022 - 7:02:15 AM

RB3

USA

1245 posts since 4/12/2004

Playing Cripple Creek at a rate of 160 Beats Per Minute could be quite fast or it could be quite slow; it depends upon the associated time signature.

Jan 18, 2022 - 7:27:52 AM
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4195 posts since 3/28/2008

Welcome!

I'd guess that the 160 BPM figure in the original post comes from counting four beats per measure rather than two. So maybe it's really what most of us would count as 80 BPM.

But sometimes these beginners can surprise you!

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Jan 21, 2022 - 8:43:52 PM
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graxis

USA

8 posts since 1/17/2022

quote:
Originally posted by Ira Gitlin

Welcome!

I'd guess that the 160 BPM figure in the original post comes from counting four beats per measure rather than two. So maybe it's really what most of us would count as 80 BPM.

But sometimes these beginners can surprise you!


It's an honest 160, but it's not pretty and I can't last any more than maybe a measure and a half before I start going off the rails. The last five or so minutes of my practice session I just push as hard as I can for the fun that's in it. I've played guitar for just over 28 years and am a fingerpicker (Mississippi John Hurt/John Prine-type) with a tiny bit of classical lessons, so I'm not coming in completely cold. Not that I'm particularly good, but I can get along alright.

I'm taking this as an opportunity to correct the bad practice habits I developed on the guitar. I got a Gold Tone OB-150 (which seems like a nice piece, although I don't know much about banjos), always practice with a metronome, and picked three songs that I've been nailing down over the last two weeks. I set my metronome to increase by five BPM every four measures and just hammer it out for 30 minutes to an hour at a time. Slow and steady. A childhood friend of mine's dad is a legit player, and we've made some plans to get together soon.

One thing that became very clear is that you can't fake it on the banjo. No offense to guitarists, but I know myself that you one be pretty sloppy on guitar and get away with it a fair amount of the time, but the banjo demands constant precision. That's part of why I love it so much from the jump: It's a challenge. If I let my wrist slip or I tense up, the clarity and tone of the notes change immediately. But when I slip into that state of mind where I'm not thinking and just hearing the music and all those notes strike true. . . Man, there is just nothing like it. Anyway, sorry for the long post. But I've got the fire for sure.

Jan 21, 2022 - 9:06:15 PM

graxis

USA

8 posts since 1/17/2022

Just a clarification:

I honestly don't care one way or the other about speed. I'm more curious as to whether I have the raw physical ability. It'll come with time - or it won't - and I'll be happy either way. I made a few minor adjustments to my Gold Tone earlier today and it's amazing the way these instruments respond to such small changes.

Jan 22, 2022 - 2:45:48 AM

358 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Ira Gitlin

Welcome!

I'd guess that the 160 BPM figure in the original post comes from counting four beats per measure rather than two. So maybe it's really what most of us would count as 80 BPM.

But sometimes these beginners can surprise you!


Ira Gitlin  Perhaps you could explain this in more detail with illustrations or a video. It seems to be a common problem when a newbie/beginner makes a statement/ asks a question about speed the forum goes into overdrive and the ops thread gets buried whist everyone argues amongst themselves. Folks here respect your knowledge and experience Ira and maybe this place would be less hostile to a newcomer seeking a little guidance if this whole thing about counting beats  was better explained by one person rather than the entire community chiming in. It confuses the hell out of me at times when this forum goes on a bender. 

Jan 22, 2022 - 5:19:41 AM

10338 posts since 6/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Amy Lorraine

Hi all.
I'm also a newbie. I'm looking for the Banjo Terms Glossary. It's said to be an archived topic, and I found where some people are talking about how to set it up and maintain it, etc. But I haven't found the actual glossary. Any suggestions? Thx, AL


Go here

https://www.banjoteacher.com/free-banjo-lessons/glossary-of-common-banjo-words-and-phrases-by-ross-nickerson.html

https://info.deeringbanjos.com/how-to-get-started-playing-banjo#types_of_banjos

https://www.amazon.com/Bluegrass-Banjo-Dummies-Bill-Evans/dp/1119004306

Jan 22, 2022 - 6:22:27 AM
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Players Union Member

arlum

USA

33 posts since 1/19/2022

And another newbie here. My new / first banjo arrives today! I'm glad to hear you've become so absorbed in the learning part. That's what I'm wanting to do. I'm dying to jump in with both feet and give it everything.

Jan 22, 2022 - 8:04:48 AM
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4195 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by FenderFred
quote:
Originally posted by Ira Gitlin

Welcome!

I'd guess that the 160 BPM figure in the original post comes from counting four beats per measure rather than two. So maybe it's really what most of us would count as 80 BPM.

But sometimes these beginners can surprise you!


Ira Gitlin  Perhaps you could explain this in more detail with illustrations or a video. It seems to be a common problem when a newbie/beginner makes a statement/ asks a question about speed the forum goes into overdrive and the ops thread gets buried whist everyone argues amongst themselves. Folks here respect your knowledge and experience Ira and maybe this place would be less hostile to a newcomer seeking a little guidance if this whole thing about counting beats  was better explained by one person rather than the entire community chiming in. It confuses the hell out of me at times when this forum goes on a bender. 


The most typical kind of bluegrass groove has a two-beat feel, with the bass alternating between the 1 note and the 5 note. (Even when the bas plays other notes, though, it usually plays that same groove.) Most people feel those bass notes as the beat (which I define, somewhat simplistically, as the place where you feel like tapping your foot). So most of us, when describing the speed of a bluegrass performance, give a figure that represents the number of notes the bass would play in one minute of that kind of groove. The banjo, when it's rolling, is playing four notes for every one of those bass notes.

I write most of my bluegrass tabs in 2/2 time to indicate this kind of two-beat feel. But a lot of people write tabs for the same kind of groove in 4/4. Either way you get the same eighth- and quarter-notes. But if you're counting four beats per measure and I'm counting two beats per measure, you'll come up with a number that's twice what I'll come up with. 

Below I'm linking an example of what most of us would call 180 BPM, counting two beats per measure. (It's J.D. Crowe back in 1968.) When a beginner says he's playing at 180, it's more likely that he's playing half that fast, counting twice as many beats. But as I said above, sometimes beginners surprise you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEdaMFgT8gc

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 01/22/2022 08:18:45

Jan 22, 2022 - 8:38:20 AM

358 posts since 5/21/2020

I personally work from 4/4 timing. Simply because most TABs are written that way. It's easier to read 8th notes with 16th note embellishment's than it is reading16th notes with 32nd note embellishment's. Any TABs I find in 2/2 or 2/4 I convert to 4/4 I just find it easier to work with these.

Using TablEdit it is easy to the adjust the playback speed and this is where most newbies/beginners may sometimes overstate their playing speed.

I would therefore typically play a tune registering at 240 bpm in TablEdit in 4/4 with a bass playing 1 & 5 and guitar strumming chords so how does that work out with your understanding of speed.

Trying to be realistic here, neither I or the OP is JD Crowe 

I should add I a have never come across an online teacher / teaching method that uses 2/2 TABs That includes Tony Trischca, Noam Pikelny, Bill Evans and the many other teachers I have studied with  

Edited by - FenderFred on 01/22/2022 08:51:14

Jan 22, 2022 - 8:47:26 AM

26 posts since 1/15/2022

quote:
Originally posted by pianojuggler
quote:
Originally posted by Amy Lorraine

Hi all.
I'm also a newbie. I'm looking for the Banjo Terms Glossary. It's said to be an archived topic, and I found where some people are talking about how to set it up and maintain it, etc. But I haven't found the actual glossary. Any suggestions? Thx, AL


Funny you should ask.  I was just suggesting that the world needs such a thing -- in an illustrated form.  Like a banjowiki.  I have started a list of terms -- mostly names of parts of banjos -- and I'll be asking BHOers to help me build a complete and correct glossary.


If this would help, I could also jot down every time I come across a term that I don't know what it is or means.  Which is pretty much everything at this point.  Illustrations and pics as well would be fantastic.

Jan 22, 2022 - 9:16:12 AM
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4195 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by FenderFred

I personally work from 4/4 timing. Simply because most TABs are written that way. It's easier to read 8th notes with 16th note embellishment's than it is reading16th notes with 32nd note embellishment's. Any TABs I find in 2/2 or 2/4 I convert to 4/4 I just find it easier to work with these.

Using TablEdit it is easy to the adjust the playback speed and this is where most newbies/beginners may sometimes overstate their playing speed.

I would therefore typically play a tune registering at 240 bpm in TablEdit in 4/4 with a bass playing 1 & 5 and guitar strumming chords so how does that work out with your understanding of speed.

Trying to be realistic here, neither I or the OP is JD Crowe 

I should add I a have never come across an online teacher / teaching method that uses 2/2 TABs That includes Tony Trischca, Noam Pikelny, Bill Evans and the many other teachers I have studied with  


Yeah, I'm no J.D., either! I included that link as an example of what most of us mean when we say "180 BPM". If you're counting in 4, you'd say that track is at 360 BPM. Or if you're used to counting in 4 and you say you're playing at 180, it's what most of us would call 90. In your TablEdit example, it sounds like most of us would say you're playing at 120 BPM. (I remember one beginner on Facebook talking about playing at 210. When I questioned him about it, he posted a video, and to my great surprise, he really was playing at 210, not at the 105 I'd suspected!)

For our purposes in this discussion, it doesn't matter whether we're talking about 4/4 or 2/4 or 2/2. The details of notation are less important than where we feel the music's pulses, and how the banjo roll fits into that. I'm just explaining how I think of this so we're all on the same page, not talking at cross-purposes. 

FWIW, Pete Seeger and Bill Keith--both astute and musically literate musicians--wrote their tabs in 2/4, with the banjo's roll consisting of sixteenth-notes. I use 2/2, with the roll consisting of eighth-notes, instead of 2/4 because a) it looks cleaner and b) it looks familiar to people who are used to seeing tabs written in 4/4. 

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 01/22/2022 09:20:18

Jan 22, 2022 - 9:20:48 AM

26 posts since 1/15/2022

Can I get some advice about pick styles? I keep my nails pretty short because I type all day. That also keeps my fingers strong and a little chubby. My main concern is that I live in an apartment. I have awesome neighbors, we get along great. I'd like to keep it that way. So, easy playability, nice sound, minimal volume for practicing at home. ???

Jan 22, 2022 - 9:43:21 AM
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358 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Ira Gitlin
quote:
Originally posted by FenderFred

I personally work from 4/4 timing. Simply because most TABs are written that way. It's easier to read 8th notes with 16th note embellishment's than it is reading16th notes with 32nd note embellishment's. Any TABs I find in 2/2 or 2/4 I convert to 4/4 I just find it easier to work with these.

Using TablEdit it is easy to the adjust the playback speed and this is where most newbies/beginners may sometimes overstate their playing speed.

I would therefore typically play a tune registering at 240 bpm in TablEdit in 4/4 with a bass playing 1 & 5 and guitar strumming chords so how does that work out with your understanding of speed.

Trying to be realistic here, neither I or the OP is JD Crowe 

I should add I a have never come across an online teacher / teaching method that uses 2/2 TABs That includes Tony Trischca, Noam Pikelny, Bill Evans and the many other teachers I have studied with  


Yeah, I'm no J.D., either! I included that link as an example of what most of us mean when we say "180 BPM". If you're counting in 4, you'd say that track is at 360 BPM. Or if you're used to counting in 4 and you say you're playing at 180, it's what most of us would call 90. In your TablEdit example, it sounds like most of us would say you're playing at 120 BPM. (I remember one beginner on Facebook talking about playing at 210. When I questioned him about it, he posted a video, and to my great surprise, he really was playing at 210, not at the 105 I'd suspected!)

For our purposes in this discussion, it doesn't matter whether we're talking about 4/4 or 2/4 or 2/2. The details of notation are less important than where we feel the music's pulses, and how the banjo roll fits into that. I'm just explaining how I think of this so we're all on the same page, not talking at cross-purposes. 

FWIW, Pete Seeger and Bill Keith--both astute and musically literate musicians--wrote their tabs in 2/4, with the banjo's roll consisting of sixteenth-notes. I use 2/2, with the roll consisting of eighth-notes, instead of 2/4 because a) it looks cleaner and b) it looks familiar to people who are used to seeing tabs written in 4/4. 


I hear what you say Ira, but from where I am sitting it really is confusing when some teachers are using one counting method while others use a different method. I have seen folks on the BHO try to explain this many times in the past but with so many differing views here on the forum compared what is currently being taught elsewhere little wonder that newbies sometimes feel a little intimidated. I think I will just stick to what I am familiar with.  Thanks for you thoughts on this.

Jan 22, 2022 - 11:04:47 AM

conic

England

949 posts since 2/15/2014

I remember buying about 10 different kinds of picks so I could decide which I found the best, there were Dr Sherpa, propik, angled brass, straight brass,  plastic and metal thumb picks, single band, double band, blue chip thumb pick, Fred Kelly thumb pick etc,  trouble was its not an easy job because I had to pick for a week until I got used to each set also as I was a beginner I did not have enough experience in controlling the way my picking hand and fingers move.
In the end I just got some cheap 0.18 dunlop finger picks and a cheap medium dunlop thumb pick and still use the same 10 years on and they dont fall off anymore. 
To keep the banjo volume down you can remove the resonator on the back and shove a towel in back. also I bought a brass mute which clips on the bridge, I have also shoved a lump of bluetack on the bridge but later you can control the volume with the way you pick.
Just make sure you pick the banjo up every day and pick even if its just for 5 minutes, and listen to lots of the earl scruggs foggy mountain banjo album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9pY48ZjDAI .  I mean close your eyes and listen hard to every banjo note along with the beat of the bass and how they work together ( Tap your foot to the bass )
 
 

Originally posted by Amy Lorraine

Can I get some advice about pick styles? I keep my nails pretty short because I type all day. That also keeps my fingers strong and a little chubby. My main concern is that I live in an apartment. I have awesome neighbors, we get along great. I'd like to keep it that way. So, easy playability, nice sound, minimal volume for practicing at home. ???


Jan 22, 2022 - 2:05:27 PM
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4593 posts since 12/6/2009

Here’s an honest 160....
youtube.com/watch?v=caB4kK-cgE...ingTracks

any faster you'd better be wearing a seat belt.....I think Earls Cripple Creek was 135....

Edited by - overhere on 01/22/2022 14:07:16

Jan 23, 2022 - 6:22:18 AM
Players Union Member

arlum

USA

33 posts since 1/19/2022

Have any of you other newbies come across any banjo maintenance instruction books or videos? Learning to play is, of course, #1, but I want to be my own banjo tech too. As an owner of 15+ guitars I learned a long time ago that having your instrument at it's best is the only way to go. I now maintain all of my own equipment including all guitars, amps, pedals, P.A. equipment, etc. and would like to find a definitive book on banjo maintenance. Bridge placement. Head tension. Neck adjustments for action. Troubleshooting noise issues from the bridge or tailpiece. String buzz. Correct tension adjustments for all the the multiple parts of the banjo. When or how often to change / replace the head, etc., etc.

Thank you,
Rick

Jan 23, 2022 - 6:50:41 AM
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Paul R

Canada

15763 posts since 1/28/2010

quote:
Originally posted by arlum

Have any of you other newbies come across any banjo maintenance instruction books or videos? Learning to play is, of course, #1, but I want to be my own banjo tech too. As an owner of 15+ guitars I learned a long time ago that having your instrument at it's best is the only way to go. I now maintain all of my own equipment including all guitars, amps, pedals, P.A. equipment, etc. and would like to find a definitive book on banjo maintenance. Bridge placement. Head tension. Neck adjustments for action. Troubleshooting noise issues from the bridge or tailpiece. String buzz. Correct tension adjustments for all the the multiple parts of the banjo. When or how often to change / replace the head, etc., etc.

Thank you,
Rick


I bought  Complete Banjo Repair, by Larry Sandberg, several decades ago. It may still be available. I did see it as a download: https://www.readbookpage.com/pdf/complete-banjo-repair/  It's quite thorough and was the definitive guide in its day, maybe still is.

Post a question here and you'll get advice, too.

Edited to add: https://acousticbox.com/banjo-repair/

Edited by - Paul R on 01/23/2022 07:04:23

Jan 23, 2022 - 6:53:27 AM

Paul R

Canada

15763 posts since 1/28/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Amy Lorraine

Hi all.
I'm also a newbie. I'm looking for the Banjo Terms Glossary. It's said to be an archived topic, and I found where some people are talking about how to set it up and maintain it, etc. But I haven't found the actual glossary. Any suggestions? Thx, AL


You might want to check with the Fiddler's Dream coffeehouse folks there in Phoenix. Larry Hill is one of them, here on Banjo Hangout under the name Helix. He's a banjo builder.

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