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Nov 29, 2023 - 9:01:21 PM
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32 posts since 11/29/2023

Just joined and thought I'd intro myself. 55yr old just starting out and excited to learn. I have a Deering Goodtime w/Gumby headstock and a, just picked up today, Gold Tone CC-BG banjo. I also ordered the resonator kit for the Deering but, it hasn't arrived yet. So far, I have been practicing the forward/reverse rolls. Once I've got those, I think next step is chords? Anyway, glad to be here and hope folks are patient with newbs. :-) Three finger Scruggs style is what I'm most interested in as Bluegrass has been a favorite of mine since a kid.


 

Edited by - BoneHeadBanjo on 11/29/2023 21:21:23

Nov 30, 2023 - 1:52:52 AM
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Slogo

USA

102 posts since 7/28/2022

Welcome to the forum TW. It wasn't long ago I was starting like you. You will find a lot of help and info here.

Nov 30, 2023 - 2:24:03 AM
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773 posts since 4/28/2012

Welcome TW!

IF you care to share....

What type of books, instructional materials, picks, capos, strings, etc.,  are you using?

Lots of folks on here can offer suggestions on the best resources if that helps you!

Edited by - Mark Douglas on 11/30/2023 02:24:51

Nov 30, 2023 - 4:31:45 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

29823 posts since 8/3/2003

If you have never played a stringed instrument before, you should try to find a live teacher. You will learn faster, easier with fewer bad habits to break later. We have a teacher's list that you might look at to see if there's anyone in your area. Go here: banjohangout.org/teachers/.

If you can't find/afford a live teacher, there are many excellent beginner books that will take you step by step through all the basics you need to know.

If that's not feasible, there are online teachers who give lessons.

As a last resort, u-tube has many videos on playing bluegrass banjo. Be wary here because not all videos are by people who know how to teach or teach the necessary basics you need to have.

Whatever you do, welcome to the banjo world. It's fun, it's frustrating at first and once you're hooked, there's no cure (G).

Nov 30, 2023 - 5:34:45 AM
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BobbyE

USA

3441 posts since 11/29/2007

Howdy. Glad to have you aboard.

Bobby

Nov 30, 2023 - 5:34:55 AM
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61675 posts since 12/14/2005

Welcome to the wonderful world of messing around with banjos.

Nov 30, 2023 - 6:20:37 AM
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chuckv97

Canada

71534 posts since 10/5/2013

Welcome! Have a nice, family-removed den to practice in,,,, woodshed, machine shed, fallout shelter, outhouse,….
A marriage-saver might look like this…

Nov 30, 2023 - 6:54:56 AM
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41 posts since 9/12/2004

What Sherry said---in spades.

Nov 30, 2023 - 6:57:04 AM
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3275 posts since 5/2/2012

Welcome to the HO. Chords are a useful thing to learn, but I would suggest you pick out an easy tune to start working on.  You'll learn some 2 and 3 finger chords as you do so.  I'm recommending starting on a tune because I found just working on rolls was boring for me.  Playing something that sounded like music/a song was motivating for me.  This arrangement of Bile Them Cabbage Down will work well with time spent on  forward-reverse rolls.    

If you are learning with tab, I went to the "Learn" tab on the upper left had side of this page and did a search using "bluegrass", "Scruggs style", "G" tuning and "beginner" as key words and got this list of beginner tunes.  If you choose to do so, you can download a free version of Tabledit to access many those tunes.  

Different ways to learn, like by ear, with books of tab, DVDs or utube videos.  Let us know how you learn best and that will help future posters make recommendations.  

Edited by - thisoldman on 11/30/2023 06:59:03

Nov 30, 2023 - 8:13:40 AM
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TN Time

USA

836 posts since 12/6/2021

Welcome to the Hangout TW. I have to agree with thisoldman about learning some songs as you start to learn the banjo. Bile Them Cabbage Down is a good beginner song to start with and that's the first song I teach to my beginning students. After you can pick out the melody to Cabbage, you can add rolls and a few licks (hammer ons, slides, etc.) to make it sound more full and less boring. The first song I learned to play was Cripple Creek, and what an epiphany it was when I finally got it down.
Robert

Nov 30, 2023 - 9:25:14 AM
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32 posts since 11/29/2023

quote:
Originally posted by Mark Douglas

Welcome TW!

IF you care to share....

What type of books, instructional materials, picks, capos, strings, etc.,  are you using?

Lots of folks on here can offer suggestions on the best resources if that helps you!


First, thank you all so much for the welcomes and helpful tips! At the moment, I don't have any books or instructional materials other than what's here on this Forum. I am planning to do the Jim Pankey 1 minute lessons.  For picks, I have the Propik thumb pic and standard metal finger picks. No capo yet and strings are whatever came on the banjo's when I bought them. They are not nylon if that helps.

I don't learn well by just reading things as I've always been a hands on, dive right in and get to it kind of person. So, repetition and memory I guess.

Nov 30, 2023 - 9:49:06 AM
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14812 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by BoneHeadBanjo

So far, I have been practicing the forward/reverse rolls. Once I've got those, I think next step is chords? . . .Three finger Scruggs style is what I'm most interested in as Bluegrass has been a favorite of mine since a kid.


Welcome to the Hangout and to banjo. Sounds like you're off to a good start.

Chords next? Sure. Way more banjo music is played with fretted notes and chord shapes than open strings! So learning your basic chord shapes -- even starting with 2- and 3-finger versions before 4-finger versions -- will make your exercises sound musical.

To tell the truth, some published methods start with stumming chords to teach how chords work in songs before rolls and anything that sounds like three-finger bluegrass is introduced. I think Pete Wernick's excellent Bluegrass Banjo book approaches it this way. Maybe even Earl Scruggs and the Five-String Banjo, which isn't really an instruction book, but is worth having for its historical record of how Earl played a lot of tunes at one time. Even though Earl probably never played anything exactly the same way twice, I think he rarely did anything outside the core vocabulary that he created. So the tabs in the Scruggs book provide a view into the shapes, licks and phrases from which he constructed essentially everything he ever played.

Which leads to my last piece of advice: Listen to banjo music. You've already told us Bluegrass has been a favorite of your since you were a kid. Great! Keep listening, with an emphasis on banjo. Pay attention especially to banjo intros and solos in vocal songs so you can hear and recognize how Scruggs-style banjo tends not to play literal note-for-note melodies, and how banjo has to add lots of filler notes to take up the space when a vocal note is held over several beats or even measures.

Above all, have fun!

Edited by - Old Hickory on 11/30/2023 09:51:39

Nov 30, 2023 - 11:48:04 AM

32 posts since 11/29/2023

Can anyone please tell me where to attach this strap? It came with the Gold Tone but, no instructions on where to put it and there are none on their website or YT vids. Thanks in advance.smiley


 

Nov 30, 2023 - 11:50:01 AM
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3630 posts since 4/5/2006

Welcome to the Hangout Tw.

One end of the strap should attach @ the 1st hook past the tailpiece, the other end @ the first hook past the heel of the neck.

Suggest checking out Wendy Sue's inquiry. She's in the same boat as you. Lots of good advice on that post.

Edited by - monstertone on 11/30/2023 11:54:45

Nov 30, 2023 - 12:06:19 PM
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32 posts since 11/29/2023

quote:
Originally posted by monstertone

Welcome to the Hangout Tw.

One end of the strap should attach @ the 1st hook past the tailpiece, the other end @ the first hook past the heel of the neck.

Suggest checking out Wendy Sue's inquiry. She's in the same boat as you. Lots of good advice on that post.


Thank you and greatly appreciate the info. I'll definitely chech out Wendy Sue's thread.


 

Nov 30, 2023 - 2:49:49 PM
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14812 posts since 6/2/2008

Attached at the hook on the first string (high D) side of the neck, the strap will support the heel helping the banjo stay in playing position. With strap attached on the 5th string side, the banjo will continually dive.

This strap appears to be designed to avoid scratching the wood close to where it's attached.

Dec 1, 2023 - 6:23:16 AM
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4771 posts since 3/28/2008

Welcome to the banjo world!

Dec 1, 2023 - 7:09:45 AM
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3275 posts since 5/2/2012

I think of Jim Pankey's beginner videos as "see and do" type instruction. So you might also look at the Murphy Method materials some time. When you are done with the Pankey beginner picking videos, you may want to go on to the backup series, especially if you plan on playing with others at any time. Goeff Hohwald materials (book of tab, DVD with instruction and backup tracks) also might be a fit for you.

I think you will find that the banjo balances better if one end goes "under" the neck (like Ken suggests) while the other end goes "above" the tailpiece.

Dec 1, 2023 - 8:39:03 AM

32 posts since 11/29/2023

quote:
Originally posted by thisoldman

I think of Jim Pankey's beginner videos as "see and do" type instruction. So you might also look at the Murphy Method materials some time. When you are done with the Pankey beginner picking videos, you may want to go on to the backup series, especially if you plan on playing with others at any time. Goeff Hohwald materials (book of tab, DVD with instruction and backup tracks) also might be a fit for you.

I think you will find that the banjo balances better if one end goes "under" the neck (like Ken suggests) while the other end goes "above" the tailpiece.


Thank you very much for the welcome, tips and suggestion on the strap. All is greatly appreciated.

Edited by - BoneHeadBanjo on 12/01/2023 08:39:39

Dec 1, 2023 - 8:49:56 AM

Owen

Canada

14569 posts since 6/5/2011
Online Now

.... maybe off onto a bit of a tangent, but what would happen IF teachers routinely asked the student for a for a first song to be learned* rather than Cripple Creek being the default?  [I dunno, but I assume there must be others at the basic level that incorporate enough of the foundational techniques.]

* = hopefully one that's both familiar and "catchy"  ... maybe the teacher could demo a "short list" and see if anything piqued the student's interest??

And maybe back on topic.... I find that passing the strap under/behind the heel causes my banjo to flip forward .... I think there's more to it than having a bit extra "playing weight" out front, but ... ?? 

Dec 1, 2023 - 9:34:01 AM
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3630 posts since 4/5/2006

For a number of reasons, Blackberry Blossom, presented in short segments as exercises, makes a good starter tune. In most cases, the student, having no preconceived notion of how the tune should sound, easily accepts the results with pride of accomplishment, regardless. There are no "rolls" to learn, no advanced (slide, hammer, pull off) left-hand techniques required, plus, the additional benefit of eliminating that fear of the unknown, past the 5th fret! The associated chords/patterns, and vamping technique, may be eased into as the student becomes at ease with the complete tune. 

Edited by - monstertone on 12/01/2023 09:50:14

Dec 4, 2023 - 9:32:26 PM
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32 posts since 11/29/2023

After some thought, I decided I wanted a resonator on my Deering Goodtime Gumby. I placed an order with Deering and it came today. I got the resonator kit installed and now I'm getting really excited. Why? Because I also got in touch with a local instructor who teaches banjo and he just happened to have a slot opening up this Thursday at 1230hrs here in my town! I jumped on it and will be starting lessons this week.laugh


 

Edited by - BoneHeadBanjo on 12/04/2023 21:34:19

Dec 5, 2023 - 5:02:06 AM
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717 posts since 11/9/2021

Good luck! I started my banjourney about a year and a few months ago. Best advice I can give you? Practice every day, 20 - 30 min a day without fail.

Dec 5, 2023 - 9:52:05 AM
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3630 posts since 4/5/2006

Congratulations. As wrench said, practice, practice, practice, & pay attention to details.

Dec 16, 2023 - 1:23:04 PM
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32 posts since 11/29/2023

quote:
Originally posted by monstertone

Congratulations. As wrench said, practice, practice, practice, & pay attention to details.


That practice, practice, practice sure ain't no joke! Course my days in the service taught me the no gain/no pain thing can be true. After a bit over a week now, I've developed a nice little callous on the tip of my left hand index and middle finger.laugh I'm already looking forward to next Thurs. lesson.

Edited by - BoneHeadBanjo on 12/16/2023 13:23:26

Dec 16, 2023 - 1:56:33 PM
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Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

29823 posts since 8/3/2003

Be sure to listen to your instructor and don't get frustrated if you aren't learning as quick as you want or if you get stuck on some basic technique. Take it slow and easy, don't try for speed, work on timing, tone and technique.

Above all, HAVE FUN!!!

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