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Aug 15, 2022 - 7:19:19 AM

3118 posts since 4/19/2008
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There is no syncopation, bounce or swing, Mike is hitting hard on the numbers which creates drive. 1e+a2e+a etc.

Aug 15, 2022 - 8:00:54 AM
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8217 posts since 8/30/2004

Mike's got too many notes to fit in to have much bounce and all that other stuff we like to call it...He's on fire for sure and plays so great...Jack

Aug 15, 2022 - 10:08:56 AM
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1481 posts since 4/12/2004

It's now been suggested that rather than syncopation, bounce or swing, what we're really dealing with here is "drive".

So, I went back and looked at the video with Mike Munford and Bennett Sullivan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9fnqxmECVE).  Sure enough, Mike explained that there's drive that comes from the repetitive use of the yada da da technique that's inspired by what he hears in the bow technique of fiddle players.  I should point out that the yada da da technique is not to be confused with yada, yada, yada from the Seinfeld show.  But, he also says that if you play it at a slower tempo, it's "bouncey".  Notice that he doesn't actually say that it has "bounce".  It appears that if you execute yada da da at slower tempos, you lose the drive and you end up with quasi-bounce.

Aug 15, 2022 - 4:37:01 PM
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Alex Z


4990 posts since 12/7/2006

Can't take M80 and "learn it your own way."  You'll be constrained by your own limitations.  

To learn from the masters, you learn what the masters do.  THEN, you are free to decide how you want to play it -- which will be from choice, not from limitations.

You'll get there.  It takes some time.  Not "one day suddenly you're Tony Trishka," but rather over time you'll gain mastery over various things Mr. TT does, and that will lead to mastery over more things.  Difficulty is you can't get to the end state -- like M80 -- by plunging in to M80.

Example:  Beethoven sonata or Tony Rice solo.  I can play the first note.  Then I can play the first two notes.  Question:  So should I not be able to play the whole thing learning one additional note at a time?  Answer:   No.  I can't get beyond the third measure.  Learning two measures does not give me the physical or mental ability to play three measures in a row.  There is a totality in the music that is simply not available by playing the one-at-a-time linear sequence of notes.  Can't explain why.

That's why I recommend putting away M80 for a while, then coming back from time to time, every 3-4 months, and giving it another go.

You'll get there.

Aug 16, 2022 - 10:35:52 AM
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13681 posts since 6/2/2008

Originally posted by sziegler3

Okay, by "bounce" I'm pretty sure that we just mean "swing." Shorter note values, like 8th and 16th notes, are played unevenly. It doesn't effect longer note values, so you should still be able to use a metronome.

More importantly, bounce or swing don't affect the underlying tempo/meter or when the count of "one" comes up. Even when playing with bounce or swing, you want to play in time. Which means you can do it with a metronome.

Sep 1, 2022 - 8:37:04 AM
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3142 posts since 2/10/2013

I would play the phrase(s) where this happens very slowly. In addition, I would video my right hand. I would make small adjustments until eventually the problem starts to disappear. I would keep starting out playing the problem phrases very slowly, and very gradually increase speed a little each time I played the problem phrases.

I have fought this problem. Problems don't always just disappear. I have to evaluate how I do something, make small corrective changes, and keep working on the problem. Over time sometimes longer than a month is required. Using software with a looping feature provides the ability to create a file for the problem phrase. Before I play the complete tune, I repeatedly play the problem phrase a dozen or more times. Focus hard on what you are doing when you practice this. Once you identify what is physically causing the problem, and you stasrt correcting the problem, it will be gone very quickly. Each time you play the problem phrase and everything works out right, your self confidence will improve. And with more confidence nervous tension will be reduced, and playing becomes easier.

Repeated playing a problem the same way over over only reinforces the problem. You have to play slowly and focus on identifying what is causing the problem.

Sep 1, 2022 - 11:15:12 AM
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457 posts since 11/9/2021

Fiddle Fever - Melt Down atr Indian Point.


The A part of "M80" sounds suspiciously like the A part of "Meltdown at Indian Point" by Jay Unger.

Sep 1, 2022 - 11:19:41 AM
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15 posts since 1/25/2018

wrench13 wow yeah a lot of similarities. Good ear

Sep 5, 2022 - 9:08:36 PM
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753 posts since 6/8/2005

I was once asked at a workshop years ago why I didn't believe in rolls.

So to answer this question, I asked, "Could someone please play a 315 roll?" A player in the group stood up and played a 315 pattern as fast as he could for about 20 seconds. When he stopped I said, "That's really great! Now where was the beat?" He had no answer. To him it was just a "roll."

I then wrote out two bars of string numbers and asked the question, "Which roll is this?"

| 3153 1531 | 5315 3153 |

It took about a half minute before someone correctly replied, "That's just 315!"

It was a 315 "roll" in 4/4timing. "Rolls" have no meaning until you play them in context over a rhythmic background. The "bounce" in this case could be the emphasis of the first string of each of the four note groupings. In that case, you would create it by emphasizing the index on the 3rd string in the first four notes (3153), the middle finger in the second four notes (1531), and the fifth string in the third grouping (5315). You would complete the sequence with the last four note tetrad and an emphasis again on the index 3rd string with the index finger. Try it in time with a metronome and feel the difference.

This emphasis means you have control over the volume and timing of each of the fingers of the right hand wherever and whenever you need it. It may be the on the off beat, the on beat or a melody note.

"Rolls" have nothing to do with it.

It's a right hand control thing...


Edited by - banjola1 on 09/05/2022 21:15:28

Sep 9, 2022 - 6:25:03 AM
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76887 posts since 5/9/2007

I've found that syncopation,bounce,swing and style are developed in context with those one plays with.

Edited by - steve davis on 09/09/2022 06:26:36

Sep 23, 2022 - 2:01:59 PM
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58 posts since 11/7/2004

As a long time student of the banjo, Speed is at some point a function of right hand positioning. If you have "spider" fingers you are limited to speed. Speed requires a knuckle pick with little hand movement. - fingers not (mostly) square to the strings is a speed issue too!
Back in the days of "gunslinging" when banjo players were more competitive you learn to spot weakness and lots of right hand motion when playing means no speed -- dust'em with a fast song. Hope this helps - 2-cents from the Valley -- don

Sep 24, 2022 - 6:53:25 AM
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702 posts since 12/23/2003

Here’s my perspective – there was a time when I was practicing so hard that I’ll allow tension to creep into my right hand which created a focal dystonia. Whatever you do whatever your goals are be sure to keep that right hand relaxed and maybe you can even get more speed out of it.

Sep 24, 2022 - 9:36 AM
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753 posts since 6/8/2005

Speed is highly over-rated. It reminds me of my favorite banjo joke:

Question:  What's the difference between a banjo and an Uzzi?
Answer:  A banjo only repeats itself 200 times a minute.

Speed will come if you can first learn how to play slow - painfully slow. You've learned to practice tension into your playing. Play so slow that tension is impossible. Do not look at your right hand. Instead, learn how to feel right-hand string location. Give your attention to your left hand and learn to feel the strings with your right hand.

For a change, try finding and learning the simple melodies to your favorite bluegrass songs. It's not as easy as you might think. If you have no back-up tracks to play to, use a metronome. Play melodies if you were singing them. If a song is in G, try switching the melody to other keys like C or D. It will help you to practice finding notes and train your ears to the fret board.

Relax and have fun.

(BTW, I would never compliment someone by saying their playing is, "So fast, accurate and repetitive.") 


Edited by - banjola1 on 09/24/2022 09:46:39

Sep 24, 2022 - 1:30:51 PM
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15 posts since 1/25/2018

The thing that I'm struggling with on M80 is the phrases are made of 1/16 notes but played so that one note is 1/32 and the next is 3/32 and that happens over and over through the phrase. Half those notes are hammer ons. I dont know if that makes sense, the notes or the space between isnt consisntent across the entire phrase. The effect becomes especially pronounced around 126 bpm and from there on it gets difficult to play it in time. After a while I'm a whole note behind the metronome and I start stumbling.

Some really great advice in this thread to consider, I appreciate all of it. I try to be diligent and methodical when I practice and resist the urge to go fast just for speed's sake. I had some issues with hand tension and an old injury when I started but it was mostly a technique issue, I'm hoping thats behind me. I'm not playing banjo to impress anybody, I just want it to sound "good" to me.

Sep 25, 2022 - 6:39:45 AM
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76887 posts since 5/9/2007

Learn to sing and this will rub off on your playing.
Getting used to singing tenor helps even more.

Sep 26, 2022 - 6:06:05 AM
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78 posts since 3/7/2018

Same struggle with Foggy Mtn! Not sure I will ever get it up to the 'break neck' tempo it deserves

Sep 27, 2022 - 2:29:17 PM
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38 posts since 7/16/2013

One observation that seems to be missing from this discussion is consideration for age at which you started playing and the age you are now. If you started late (say, 60 or so) and are in your 60s, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to play as fast as someone who started when they were 12, even if they are 60+ now. It is really a combination of muscle memory and physicial agility that allows someone to play a tune really fast. That being said, I think speed is highly overated--playing the banjo isn't supposed to be a contest for who can play the fastest but who can play cleanly and comfortably. Frankly I think really fast players lose something of the character of a song by racing through it. Of course the fact that I'm in my late 70s and started playing 10-12 years ago may have something to do with my observations! I've adjusted to my physical limits, play songs that I enjoy at a pace that I can do so comfortably.

Sep 27, 2022 - 2:45:37 PM
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753 posts since 6/8/2005

Originally posted by NJBanjoDr

One observation that seems to be missing from this discussion is consideration for age at which you started playing and the age you are now. 

14 and 72

Don't ever get old.


Sep 29, 2022 - 5:15:40 AM

15 posts since 1/25/2018

NJBanjoDr I’m 37 now, started playing banjo around age 30. I really enjoy the process of learning a song but I always hit this plateau where I can’t seem to further improve any aspect of my playing. I’m at that point with m80 now, hence this post. The consensus seems like it’s time to move on, learn something else for a while and check back with it later.

Sep 29, 2022 - 10:46:56 AM
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753 posts since 6/8/2005

I know the feelings and frustrations that are being expressed here. It's easy to get stuck in the details of this "lick" or that "speed" and feel like you're getting lost. Sometimes it's best to stop and take a break for a few days to reconsider your ideas about playing and learning.

The very idea of practicing "hard" implies tension and struggle. It misses the point altogether. Practicing, if it is anything, is slow and thoughtful. It's loaded with time. It is a time to relax, explore, and allow musical ideas and techniques to come to you. Ask yourself if there are music basics you have overlooked. Feel and recognize exactly where in a song that you tense up. Solve your right and left hand technical problems and smooth them out. Don't be afraid restructure your practice time with more listening. Record yourself in practice and and don't give up!

It's not easy at first to learn patient concentration. But it will come eventually. Understand that you are slowly learning how to teach yourself how to learn. That's what's really going on. It's discovering how it is you learn the best. This is hardly ever talked about on these forums. It's a slow process and it can't be rushed. 

Take heart and be yourself. Everybody else is taken.

Edited by - banjola1 on 09/29/2022 11:01:29

Sep 29, 2022 - 8:52:49 PM

3118 posts since 4/19/2008
Online Now

I put a tab for this on site using 8th notes for a less busy look. I also added the bass part as a sort of metronome, hope this helps.


Edited by - mmuussiiccaall on 09/29/2022 20:53:42

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