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May 21, 2022 - 2:39:36 AM

Dazzlebeak

Netherlands

2 posts since 5/14/2020

I was just trying to get a handle on a short demo by Sammy Shelor on the Picky Fingers Podcast, and I'd love to get an extra pair of ears on it.

I've attached the clip from the episode and a tab of what I think the feel is, but something seems off. I'd love a little help if anyone has a minute.


May 21, 2022 - 4:56:55 AM

11122 posts since 6/30/2020

It appears that this is a simple backup break used to fill a lull in the action, such as when the singer takes a breath, etc. You can interpret it to your liking as long as the count fits the allotted space. You can add embellishments to the roll patterns to make it your own. 

Edited by - Pick-A-Lick on 05/21/2022 05:04:10

May 21, 2022 - 6:21:56 AM

756 posts since 8/26/2009

My wife thinks Sammy Shelor is the best banjo picker alive, and buys all his cd's.

I paid to attend a talk/demo of his a few years back where he answered questions about his playing style. One item he pointed out was that he avoids the B string (2nd string in G tuning) as much as possible. I noticed in your tab above, it is used very little. I never could figure out why other than I believe he said he just doesn't like how it blends in with the rolls.

May 21, 2022 - 8:22:05 AM

Dazzlebeak

Netherlands

2 posts since 5/14/2020

I'm on the Noam Pikelny Artistworks, and he talks about avoiding the third while playing backup in order not to be distracting. Maybe it's for a similar reason. I also heard that John Hartford used to say that in heaven there would be no B string.

May 21, 2022 - 9:38:14 AM

11122 posts since 6/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Dazzlebeak

I'm on the Noam Pikelny Artistworks, and he talks about avoiding the third while playing backup in order not to be distracting. Maybe it's for a similar reason. I also heard that John Hartford used to say that in heaven there would be no B string.


Dazzlebeak, 

Welcome to the BHO! I neglected to notice during my earlier post that you are a new member. 

A typical chord is made up of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th scale notes or degrees. A chord with NO 3rd is neither Major nor minor and it is called a Power Chord. It is noted or written into the music as D5 (Example). Being a neutral sounding chord it does not distract or taint the color of the music, but it does continue to convey to the listener that it is a D chord. 
 

Edited by - Pick-A-Lick on 05/21/2022 09:41:55

May 24, 2022 - 1:45:50 AM
Players Union Member

maxmax

Sweden

1579 posts since 8/1/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Phil - MO

My wife thinks Sammy Shelor is the best banjo picker alive, and buys all his cd's.

I paid to attend a talk/demo of his a few years back where he answered questions about his playing style. One item he pointed out was that he avoids the B string (2nd string in G tuning) as much as possible. I noticed in your tab above, it is used very little. I never could figure out why other than I believe he said he just doesn't like how it blends in with the rolls.


I'm definitely not talking for Sammy Shelor, only for myself... But when the strings are tuned to pitch, the B string will sound sharp when played open along with the open G and D strings. They don't blend nicely together. That's also why barre chords never sound particularly good on a banjo, the third note (second string) is a bit sharp. But we kind of have to live with this compromise in order for it not sound too off when playing fingered chords that places the third note on one of the other strings.

In standard open G dobro tuning, almost everyone tunes the B strings a bit flat since we're playing more barre-like chords, but we need to keep that in mind when playing melodies so we "fret" the B strings a bit higher up compared to the G and D strings.

Stringed instruments are simply a nightmare if you care about intonation. wink

May 24, 2022 - 4:02:02 AM

11122 posts since 6/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by maxmax
quote:
Originally posted by Phil - MO

My wife thinks Sammy Shelor is the best banjo picker alive, and buys all his cd's.

I paid to attend a talk/demo of his a few years back where he answered questions about his playing style. One item he pointed out was that he avoids the B string (2nd string in G tuning) as much as possible. I noticed in your tab above, it is used very little. I never could figure out why other than I believe he said he just doesn't like how it blends in with the rolls.


Stringed instruments are simply a nightmare if you care about intonation. wink


Well said.
Not only is does the B string seem to be a source of frustration among banjo players but guitarists suffer for the same reasons as you mentioned. Notice the saddle is B String compensated on many guitars and players tend to tune the B string a few cents flat. I will readily admit that a B string sounding correctly in context to its surroundings sure can sound pretty. 

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