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Nov 28, 2022 - 3:48:45 PM
Players Union Member

meganl

USA

12 posts since 3/8/2021

Does anyone have experience with Bradley Laird's "Play the Banjo by Ear" course? Is it worthwhile?

Nov 29, 2022 - 5:56:17 AM

RB3

USA

1587 posts since 4/12/2004

I'm not familiar with this fellow, but unless he has his back to the camera when his instructional videos are recorded, he's not providing a "learn to play the banjo by ear" teaching method.

Edited by - RB3 on 11/29/2022 06:03:01

Nov 29, 2022 - 6:11:52 AM

USAF PJ

USA

312 posts since 9/19/2014

What exactly does it mean to play Banjo by ear?

Nov 29, 2022 - 6:36:06 AM
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RB3

USA

1587 posts since 4/12/2004

All of the great, second generation Bluegrass banjo players learned to play mostly "by-ear". They listened to recordings of people like Earl Scruggs, Don Reno, Ralph Stanley, etc., and they figured out what notes were played on the recordings. Then, they figured out where those notes were on their banjo. Then, they guessed at how the banjo players on the recordings played the notes. It's a process that does not include a demonstration. That's my understanding of what it means to "learn to play by ear".

Edited by - RB3 on 11/29/2022 06:37:48

Nov 29, 2022 - 6:55:23 AM
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beegee

USA

23156 posts since 7/6/2005

"Can you read music?"

"Not enough to hurt my playing."

Nov 29, 2022 - 7:21:17 AM
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beegee

USA

23156 posts since 7/6/2005

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

"Can you read music?"

"Not enough to hurt my playing."


I have played banjo for 58 years. That being said, I played French Horn, Cornet, baritone horn upright bass and Tuba in HS band. My grandfather was national sales manager for a large tire manufacturer, and one of his favorite sayings was,"No salesman ever failed because he knew too much about his product." The more you know about music, the greater your learning potential for learning "by ear." I learned to read music early on, but I still can't play piano welllaugh

Nov 29, 2022 - 11:17:36 AM
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Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

28235 posts since 8/3/2003

I've never heard of that course, but as far as I'm concerned, the best way to learn to play by ear is....... trial and error.

Figure out what the key of the song is (this is essential if you're going to be singing it, too), get the chord sequence to the song. Listen to the song, get the melody in your mind. Try to pick out the melody on your banjo. Get the melody notes in the right measure and on the right beat. After you've done that, then you can add whatever "frills" you need to make it sound like the genre you're playing. For me, it's bluegrass, for others it might be clawhammer, jazz, blues, etc.

Nov 29, 2022 - 11:23:05 AM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

2038 posts since 8/9/2019

The modularity of banjo licks is such that, if you spend much time actually listening to bluegrass recordings, you will eventually be able to know what is being played more or less.

It takes time, and it takes real listening, which in-and-of-itself is an acquired skill on its own.

To learn bluegrass banjo, you gotta listen to HOURS HOURS AND HOURS of bluegrass.

Nov 30, 2022 - 4:56:42 AM
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3940 posts since 7/12/2006

Once i learned that i could slow a tune down and write the notes in tab. It was a light bulb for me. It made me realize that sometimes you could get the same note somewhere else on the neck if it fit with what came before or after . I encourage all to try it. Pick a quiet place away from everyone get your favorite beverage( i usually have coffee beside me when i do it. And have at it. The very first song i ever learned that way was ralph stanley's Coosy. I knew then that i had reached a new plateau in my playing

Jan 1, 2023 - 7:16:33 PM

51 posts since 7/27/2010

It's free, what have you got to lose? Nothing but a little time! Good luck!

Jan 2, 2023 - 5:26:51 AM
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carlb

USA

2459 posts since 12/16/2007

quote:
Originally posted by stanleytone

.It made me realize that sometimes you could get the same note somewhere else on the neck if it fit with what came before or after . I encourage all to try it..


That one aspect of playing banjo that I love, redundancy. Often, you find the same note on another string, that works better in the sequence of a phrase.

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