Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

287
Banjo Lovers Online


Nov 19, 2023 - 1:21:41 PM

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

I'm wondering if anyone has invented a technique for classical five string. I can't find anything on it. Seems like I'm going to have to truly reinvent the banjo style and use all five fingers. Has anyone done it before?

Nov 19, 2023 - 2:12:53 PM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

29837 posts since 8/3/2003
Online Now

Yes, there is classical music for banjo.

Here's an archived discussion about classical banjo music that might interest you. Go here: banjohangout.org/archive/308392banjohangout.org/archive/308392

Here's a recent thread about classic banjo music that you might read.  Go here:  https://www.banjohangout.org/topic/393889

There is also another thread on that same idea.  Go here:   https://www.banjohangout.org/topic/393191

There is also a classical website but I can't find it right now.  Maybe someone will post with the URL to it. 

If  you know the song you're looking to learn, you might check our tab archives.   I know there are some classical  tabs there.  You will need the proper software to download, play and print them and you can find most of those here:  https://www.banjohangout.org/w/links/browse/m/byid/v/37

Edited by - Texasbanjo on 11/19/2023 14:16:38

Nov 19, 2023 - 3:25:01 PM

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

Has there been a Franz Liszt of the banjo?

Nov 19, 2023 - 4:26:53 PM
likes this

11296 posts since 4/23/2004

Classical music has been played on the banjo since the 1870s, at least. Generally, three-finger, occasionally more. If you have classical guitar training, it should be a little easier.

There have been tutors published over the years specific to the genre. Mel Bay carries Rob MacKillop's tenor banjo classical stuff.

AFAIK, nobody's developed a "method" strictly for classical banjo. Many of the 19th C 5-string tutors will have techniques that will work fine.

Nov 19, 2023 - 9:02:33 PM

KCJones

USA

2863 posts since 8/30/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie

Has there been a Franz Liszt of the banjo?


No but there's a Greg Liszt.

https://youtu.be/Zc0B5Qps-zo?si=4e_EsxQhE7YnLe3D

Edited by - KCJones on 11/19/2023 21:02:56

Nov 20, 2023 - 7:46:08 AM

8085 posts since 9/21/2007

Pete Pardee and John Bullard have put in a good study of this.

If I understand correctly, they use the "bluegrass" configuration of Gibson pattern banjos, wire strings, Hawaiian guitar picks, with a "roll" based arpeggio style playing to fill around the melody.

They are both worth looking up and I believe Bullard teaches.

Bullard has given some good interviews, a good start would be the Picky Fingers Podcast #127.

banjopodcast.com/127-john-bullard/

And before we devolve into the "classic"/ "classical" thing, Bullard actually addresses why he plays bluegrass style banjo and makes good points over classic style technique.

For the most part it is uncharted territory. Yeah, yeah, Farland/Bacon, etc., (most of their stuff was romantic era with a focused attempt on playing violin music simulating sustain with finger waggle tremolo). So it is wide open for someone to explore and perhaps write a method.

That said, there is likely a good reason why it is not a thing.

Nov 20, 2023 - 8:22:19 AM

4203 posts since 7/12/2006

Nov 20, 2023 - 8:25:43 AM

KCJones

USA

2863 posts since 8/30/2012

Bela Fleck wrote a Concerto for banjo.

youtu.be/rQCbnvAnx5c?si=znTW9kg8gvk1tAJB

Nov 20, 2023 - 11:49:08 AM

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by KCJones

Bela Fleck wrote a Concerto for banjo.

youtu.be/rQCbnvAnx5c?si=znTW9kg8gvk1tAJB


I like it, but it's old fashioned. Needs a bit of an upgrade. 

Nov 20, 2023 - 11:50:22 AM

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Pete Pardee and John Bullard have put in a good study of this.

If I understand correctly, they use the "bluegrass" configuration of Gibson pattern banjos, wire strings, Hawaiian guitar picks, with a "roll" based arpeggio style playing to fill around the melody.

They are both worth looking up and I believe Bullard teaches.

Bullard has given some good interviews, a good start would be the Picky Fingers Podcast #127.

banjopodcast.com/127-john-bullard/

And before we devolve into the "classic"/ "classical" thing, Bullard actually addresses why he plays bluegrass style banjo and makes good points over classic style technique.

For the most part it is uncharted territory. Yeah, yeah, Farland/Bacon, etc., (most of their stuff was romantic era with a focused attempt on playing violin music simulating sustain with finger waggle tremolo). So it is wide open for someone to explore and perhaps write a method.

That said, there is likely a good reason why it is not a thing.


I'm probably going to invent five finger style, but you might be right. There might be a reason why it's never been done. I'll try to Arrange some Liszt pieces. Maybe even write some. 

Edited by - Kellie on 11/20/2023 11:51:10

Nov 20, 2023 - 11:55:15 AM

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by stanleytone

youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK...xrLFfg6Oy


That's old territory. I'm talking about something fresh.

Nov 20, 2023 - 12:03:23 PM
likes this

8085 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Pete Pardee and John Bullard have put in a good study of this.

If I understand correctly, they use the "bluegrass" configuration of Gibson pattern banjos, wire strings, Hawaiian guitar picks, with a "roll" based arpeggio style playing to fill around the melody.

They are both worth looking up and I believe Bullard teaches.

Bullard has given some good interviews, a good start would be the Picky Fingers Podcast #127.

banjopodcast.com/127-john-bullard/

And before we devolve into the "classic"/ "classical" thing, Bullard actually addresses why he plays bluegrass style banjo and makes good points over classic style technique.

For the most part it is uncharted territory. Yeah, yeah, Farland/Bacon, etc., (most of their stuff was romantic era with a focused attempt on playing violin music simulating sustain with finger waggle tremolo). So it is wide open for someone to explore and perhaps write a method.

That said, there is likely a good reason why it is not a thing.


I'm probably going to invent five finger style, but you might be right. There might be a reason why it's never been done. I'll try to Arrange some Liszt pieces. Maybe even write some. 


Why five fingers?  Spanish "classical" guitarists do just fine.

A well practiced system of "alternative fingering" would work fine with thumb, index, middle, and occasionally use of the ring for chords.  I can't speak for "bluegrass", picks or wire strings, but the general rule for fingerstyle banjo playing popular before WW2 and folk styles came along was to alternate between the thumb and index on strings 4-3-2 and alternate between index and middle on the first string.  This combined with "index and thumb glides" enable some extreamly rapid playing.

Again, not wire strings or bluegrass, but I recconend that if you are making arrangements you might use the long established system of edits for 5 string banjo notation.  Any "problem" noting has already been solved.  No need to reenvent the wheel.

I guess I was to vague... IMO the reason is because classical music is a bore for most people and any efforts seem to end up being vanity projects or fail to appeal beyond novelty.

Nov 20, 2023 - 1:34:32 PM

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Pete Pardee and John Bullard have put in a good study of this.

If I understand correctly, they use the "bluegrass" configuration of Gibson pattern banjos, wire strings, Hawaiian guitar picks, with a "roll" based arpeggio style playing to fill around the melody.

They are both worth looking up and I believe Bullard teaches.

Bullard has given some good interviews, a good start would be the Picky Fingers Podcast #127.

banjopodcast.com/127-john-bullard/

And before we devolve into the "classic"/ "classical" thing, Bullard actually addresses why he plays bluegrass style banjo and makes good points over classic style technique.

For the most part it is uncharted territory. Yeah, yeah, Farland/Bacon, etc., (most of their stuff was romantic era with a focused attempt on playing violin music simulating sustain with finger waggle tremolo). So it is wide open for someone to explore and perhaps write a method.

That said, there is likely a good reason why it is not a thing.


I'm probably going to invent five finger style, but you might be right. There might be a reason why it's never been done. I'll try to Arrange some Liszt pieces. Maybe even write some. 


Why five fingers?  Spanish "classical" guitarists do just fine.

A well practiced system of "alternative fingering" would work fine with thumb, index, middle, and occasionally use of the ring for chords.  I can't speak for "bluegrass", picks or wire strings, but the general rule for fingerstyle banjo playing popular before WW2 and folk styles came along was to alternate between the thumb and index on strings 4-3-2 and alternate between index and middle on the first string.  This combined with "index and thumb glides" enable some extreamly rapid playing.

Again, not wire strings or bluegrass, but I recconend that if you are making arrangements you might use the long established system of edits for 5 string banjo notation.  Any "problem" noting has already been solved.  No need to reenvent the wheel.

I guess I was to vague... IMO the reason is because classical music is a bore for most people and any efforts seem to end up being vanity projects or fail to appeal beyond novelty.

I don't really agree with that. I want to grow up to be the Paganini of the banjo

Nov 20, 2023 - 1:45:03 PM
likes this

14828 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by KCJones

Bela Fleck wrote a Concerto for banjo.

youtu.be/rQCbnvAnx5c?si=znTW9kg8gvk1tAJB


I like it, but it's old fashioned. Needs a bit of an upgrade. 


I'm sure we all look forward to your sharing your upgrades on Bela Fleck's technique.

While you're looking for players to surpass, you might watch some videos of Jens Kruger and Noam Pikelny. They may well already be today's Paganini of the banjo.

Nov 20, 2023 - 7:00:54 PM

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Pete Pardee and John Bullard have put in a good study of this.

If I understand correctly, they use the "bluegrass" configuration of Gibson pattern banjos, wire strings, Hawaiian guitar picks, with a "roll" based arpeggio style playing to fill around the melody.

They are both worth looking up and I believe Bullard teaches.

Bullard has given some good interviews, a good start would be the Picky Fingers Podcast #127.

banjopodcast.com/127-john-bullard/

And before we devolve into the "classic"/ "classical" thing, Bullard actually addresses why he plays bluegrass style banjo and makes good points over classic style technique.

For the most part it is uncharted territory. Yeah, yeah, Farland/Bacon, etc., (most of their stuff was romantic era with a focused attempt on playing violin music simulating sustain with finger waggle tremolo). So it is wide open for someone to explore and perhaps write a method.

That said, there is likely a good reason why it is not a thing.


I'm probably going to invent five finger style, but you might be right. There might be a reason why it's never been done. I'll try to Arrange some Liszt pieces. Maybe even write some. 


Why five fingers?  Spanish "classical" guitarists do just fine.

A well practiced system of "alternative fingering" would work fine with thumb, index, middle, and occasionally use of the ring for chords.  I can't speak for "bluegrass", picks or wire strings, but the general rule for fingerstyle banjo playing popular before WW2 and folk styles came along was to alternate between the thumb and index on strings 4-3-2 and alternate between index and middle on the first string.  This combined with "index and thumb glides" enable some extreamly rapid playing.

Again, not wire strings or bluegrass, but I recconend that if you are making arrangements you might use the long established system of edits for 5 string banjo notation.  Any "problem" noting has already been solved.  No need to reenvent the wheel.

I guess I was to vague... IMO the reason is because classical music is a bore for most people and any efforts seem to end up being vanity projects or fail to appeal beyond novelty.


The answer is that each of the strings can be silenced so you can get single notes without the other ones not being played sounding.

Nov 21, 2023 - 1:31:53 PM
likes this

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

I think five finger style would also allow you to control the tone better. As the hand is completely parallel to the banjo. When the hand is diagonal it creates a different tone for each string.

Nov 21, 2023 - 1:35:08 PM

8085 posts since 9/21/2007

Sounds like you have a good plan.

Nov 21, 2023 - 2:34:22 PM

14828 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
I'm probably going to invent five finger style, but you might be right. There might be a reason why it's never been done. I'll try to Arrange some Liszt pieces. Maybe even write some. 

How long have you been playing? Have you encountered a situation where you need five fingers to accomplish something musically that can't be done in three or maybe four (à la Greg Liszt)?

The only reasons I can imagine for wanting a five-finger technique ("needing" seems like too strong a word) are: (1) to execute a 5-4-3-2-1 or 1-2-3-4-5 picking sequence without crossovers or repeated fingers, or (2) to pinch all five strings at once. Not sure why you'd ever need that sequence but I suppose anything is possible. Or maybe it's some situation where you're pinching four strings combined with a pedal note? I'll admit my imagination may be limited. With my three-dimensional world-view I can't imagine what the fourth dimension looks like.

Nov 21, 2023 - 2:46:27 PM

14828 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie

I think five finger style would also allow you to control the tone better. As the hand is completely parallel to the banjo. When the hand is diagonal it creates a different tone for each string.


Guess you mean parallel to the head. But then you have the situation where your five fingers are picking at different distances from the bridge, creating different tones. Some three-finger players bend their wrists so they're picking in a straight line across the strings.

I tried that decades ago, found it uncomfortable, and couldn't hear the difference anyway.

And if you wear fingerpicks, you need to wear them or shape them in such a way that they're striking the strings straight on and not off-angle or on their edges.

Lots to work on. Could be quite the artistic achievement if you achieve it.

Nov 21, 2023 - 3:44:30 PM
likes this

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
I'm probably going to invent five finger style, but you might be right. There might be a reason why it's never been done. I'll try to Arrange some Liszt pieces. Maybe even write some. 

How long have you been playing? Have you encountered a situation where you need five fingers to accomplish something musically that can't be done in three or maybe four (à la Greg Liszt)?

The only reasons I can imagine for wanting a five-finger technique ("needing" seems like too strong a word) are: (1) to execute a 5-4-3-2-1 or 1-2-3-4-5 picking sequence without crossovers or repeated fingers, or (2) to pinch all five strings at once. Not sure why you'd ever need that sequence but I suppose anything is possible. Or maybe it's some situation where you're pinching four strings combined with a pedal note? I'll admit my imagination may be limited. With my three-dimensional world-view I can't imagine what the fourth dimension looks like.


With all five fingers you can balance them on the strings to silence them. One of the things with the banjo is it's as if a sustain pedal is always on. All of the strings reverberate when one of them is played. Not loudly but it's a noticeable ambience. When five fingers are used silencing the strings is more possible.

Nov 21, 2023 - 3:47:23 PM

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie

I think five finger style would also allow you to control the tone better. As the hand is completely parallel to the banjo. When the hand is diagonal it creates a different tone for each string.


Guess you mean parallel to the head. But then you have the situation where your five fingers are picking at different distances from the bridge, creating different tones. Some three-finger players bend their wrists so they're picking in a straight line across the strings.

I tried that decades ago, found it uncomfortable, and couldn't hear the difference anyway.

And if you wear fingerpicks, you need to wear them or shape them in such a way that they're striking the strings straight on and not off-angle or on their edges.

Lots to work on. Could be quite the artistic achievement if you achieve it.


The current plan is to try and legitimize the banjo as a classical instrument. I've been playing since I was in high school which was about 5 years ago. 

Edited by - Kellie on 11/21/2023 15:48:23

Nov 21, 2023 - 8:19:08 PM
like this

280 posts since 4/19/2012

I highly recommend checking out Michael Nix. He plays classic banjo as well as classical guitar and his main instrument is a Ramsey 7-string (6+drone) banjo. If you want to develop a concert virtuoso style adapted from guitar fingerstyle, he's one of the best modern players you could study.

IMO the most important thing is to tailor your technique to the musical "problems" you readily need to solve. You may not need to develop a 5-finger right hand style to mute your strings as needed. Classic banjo as-is will take you up to four, and then you can start working out the need for that pinky as your limitations otherwise become more apparent.


Edited by - ObsidianSpike on 11/21/2023 20:20:21

Nov 22, 2023 - 2:41:44 PM

KCJones

USA

2863 posts since 8/30/2012

Please post videos when you get something together! Looking forward to what you can do.

Nov 24, 2023 - 12:43:12 PM

Kellie

USA

117 posts since 1/19/2018

Right now I'm arranging Liszt's version of La Campanella. I will definitely give updates as I improve. I'm also planning on writing a few etudes and rhapsodies once I get good enough.

Edited by - Kellie on 11/24/2023 12:51:27

Dec 11, 2023 - 5:02:26 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

11952 posts since 6/29/2003

Not to hijack the thread... I have recently restored a English GH&S 5 string with tunnelled 5th and 5 pegs on the peghead. I have installed Nylgut strings on it as I didn't like its 'voice' with steel strings. Playing it, it got me thinking about whether the players, whether classical or parlour style ever used some form of finger picks instead of unadorned fingers
/nails?

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Privacy Consent
Copyright 2024 Banjo Hangout. All Rights Reserved.





Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.390625