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May 26, 2024 - 10:33:07 AM
429 posts since 9/13/2006

The album Foggy Mountain Banjo has often times been mentioned as a learning tool, most recently in the Lincoln Hensley post. Would anyone be willing to make a video of only the banjo playing all of the songs on the album as well as every version of each song? Ideally it would include backup as well. It would be nice if the songs were played a little slower than normal but not necessary. No explanations of what you are doing would be needed, just playing the song. I know some of the songs of Earl playing them can be found on Youtube, but they don't show the entire banjo the whole time. Thanks!

Lance

May 26, 2024 - 11:12:52 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

30220 posts since 8/3/2003

I think the main idea of learning from the Foggy Mountain Banjo album was to get you to listen to what's being played, learn to differentiate one instrument from the other, to isolate the banjo and what is happening both in breaks and in backup. In learning that, you'd be learning to hear individual notes, chords, chord changes and what other instruments were doing during breaks and on backup.

Now, if someone wants to make it easy for you, that's fine with me. I had to learn the hard way and it definitely taught me to use my ear to hear what was happening instead of looking at tab or watching a video.

May 26, 2024 - 11:22:31 AM
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108 posts since 4/19/2014

The Foggy Mountain Banjo album is on YouTube. There is an option to slow down the playback of YouTube videos, which I’ve found helpful.

May 26, 2024 - 11:52:24 AM

429 posts since 9/13/2006

I have the album. I also know the chords, chord changes, etc. I can figure out by listening, but it's a whole lot easier to see where on the neck it is being played while trying to learn it. I know I have learned a few licks that got every note correct, but then seeing better players play that lick in a song it was a better way to play the same thing, even though they sounded the same. That's why I would like videos.

Lance

May 26, 2024 - 12:21:16 PM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

2370 posts since 8/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by BluegrassWarehouse

I have the album. I also know the chords, chord changes, etc. I can figure out by listening, but it's a whole lot easier to see where on the neck it is being played while trying to learn it. I know I have learned a few licks that got every note correct, but then seeing better players play that lick in a song it was a better way to play the same thing, even though they sounded the same. That's why I would like videos.

Lance


If you know the chords you're good to go. You really only need the audio. Takes practice for the ears but it becomes 2nd nature after a few years 

May 26, 2024 - 12:25:27 PM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

2370 posts since 8/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by BluegrassWarehouse

The album Foggy Mountain Banjo has often times been mentioned as a learning tool, most recently in the Lincoln Hensley post. Would anyone be willing to make a video of only the banjo playing all of the songs on the album as well as every version of each song? Ideally it would include backup as well. It would be nice if the songs were played a little slower than normal but not necessary. No explanations of what you are doing would be needed, just playing the song. I know some of the songs of Earl playing them can be found on Youtube, but they don't show the entire banjo the whole time. Thanks!

Lance


Would you like fries or an apple fritter with that?

 

Learning the banjo; breaks, back up, timing, repertoire etc etc takes years of dedication. 

Even if someone laid it out for you in this way, the only way to learn will be your own way of learning...organic, through osmosis..in your own way. Be patient, keep chipping away at it bit by bit, day by day.

May 26, 2024 - 2:21:16 PM

429 posts since 9/13/2006

Yes, I can do it audio only (that's what I'm doing now), as well as tab. I could also take a vinyl record and slow it down and change the pitch and figure it out. But with todays technology and video it makes it so much faster.

Lance

Edited by - BluegrassWarehouse on 05/26/2024 14:21:52

May 26, 2024 - 3:36:20 PM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

2370 posts since 8/9/2019

Youtube allows you to slow it right down without changing the pitch.

Just be advised on a lot of older recordings, they're not playing out of a true A=440hz open G "concert pitch"....a lot are tuned sharper than that. Don't chase your tail wondering why your notes don't sound the same, sometimes

May 26, 2024 - 4:14:21 PM
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1136 posts since 12/12/2005

True, that reminded me of a funny story of long ago. Earl once told me that Lester thought he could tune by ear. Well as we know he was sometimes a little sharp They didn't worry too much. It sounded good with Lester's vocals when he was younger.

Edited by - Randy Escobedo on 05/26/2024 16:17:04

May 26, 2024 - 4:32:08 PM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

2370 posts since 8/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Randy Escobedo

True, that reminded me of a funny story of long ago. Earl once told me that Lester thought he could tune by ear. Well as we know he was sometimes a little sharp They didn't worry too much. It sounded good with Lester's vocals when he was younger.


Bill Monroe was like that too

May 26, 2024 - 4:38:04 PM
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1136 posts since 12/12/2005

Bill sure was. Anytime I picked with him I would just tune to him. He was the Father of Bluegrass afterall!

Edited by - Randy Escobedo on 05/26/2024 16:42:06

May 26, 2024 - 5:19:53 PM
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9617 posts since 8/30/2004

Not many people are born with absolute/perfect pitch. So they invented tuning forks with different pitches to help stay in Universal Tuning...Jack

May 27, 2024 - 4:51:40 AM
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phb

Germany

4065 posts since 11/8/2010

For some reason I just had to think about all those young karate students that have to polish dojo floors with their hands. They could be using a floor polishing machine, it would be so much easier. Or they could take a completely different approach to learning if they don't like the one that has polishing dojo floors with their hands in it.

May 27, 2024 - 6:57:50 AM
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3059 posts since 2/12/2005

quote:
Originally posted by BluegrassWarehouse

Would anyone be willing to make a video of only the banjo playing all of the songs on the album as well as every version of each song?


Apparently, the initial answer is "no" (from this group). I suggest you contact Eli Gilbert and suggest the idea to him. I agree it would be valuable and many people could use it.

Good luck and best wishes!

May 27, 2024 - 8:33:29 AM

RB3

USA

2034 posts since 4/12/2004

For me, this is an interesting question/suggestion.

As I understand it, Lincoln Hensley wanted to ask Sonny Osborne some questions about playing the banjo, and Sonny responded by telling him, that before he would answer any of his questions, Lincoln needed to "learn" to play everything that Earl Scruggs played on the Foggy Mountain Banjo album. However, I don't know if Lincoln has said if Sonny specified that a particular method should be used for the learning process.

If tablatures were available for everything that Earl played on the album, that could be a tool that could be used for the learning process, but did Sonny intend that all of it must be learned only by listening to what is played. The latter method would certainly have been the one used by Sonny when he learned. Or, as the original poster suggests, the learning tool could be video demonstrations of what was played. Are tablature and the Murphy Method acceptable, or must it be learned "by ear"?

Edited by - RB3 on 05/27/2024 08:35:11

May 27, 2024 - 8:56:52 AM
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3805 posts since 4/5/2006

Put yourself in Sonny's shoes. There were no "crutches" in Sonny's day.

May 27, 2024 - 11:10:32 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

30220 posts since 8/3/2003

quote:
Originally posted by RB3

For me, this is an interesting question/suggestion.

As I understand it, Lincoln Hensley wanted to ask Sonny Osborne some questions about playing the banjo, and Sonny responded by telling him, that before he would answer any of his questions, Lincoln needed to "learn" to play everything that Earl Scruggs played on the Foggy Mountain Banjo album. However, I don't know if Lincoln has said if Sonny specified that a particular method should be used for the learning process.

If tablatures were available for everything that Earl played on the album, that could be a tool that could be used for the learning process, but did Sonny intend that all of it must be learned only by listening to what is played. The latter method would certainly have been the one used by Sonny when he learned. Or, as the original poster suggests, the learning tool could be video demonstrations of what was played. Are tablature and the Murphy Method acceptable, or must it be learned "by ear"?


People learn in different ways.  For some, listening works best, for others, they must see (tab) something and for yet others the rote method works best.  And, sometimes all 3 or at least 2 are lumped together to help see.

So, my answer to your question:  anything is acceptable as long as it helps you learn.  I started out with no tab available but when it became available, it definitely helped me understand more what I was trying to accomplish.  Then listening and learning to recognize what was being done helped also and learning to play my own breaks, make my own arrangements took me past any need of tab.

Jun 5, 2024 - 4:21:40 PM

265 posts since 9/6/2016

Let me offer a slightly left field perspective as a non bluegrasser. It’s a fascinating album to study as a four string player, for tenor especially. But then, I taught myself tenor with chord charts and playing along with Art Pepper (alto saxophone) records after playing guitar since the 1980s; so I’m weird to begin with. But it is a useful album to listen to, even though I don’t play anything that can remotely be considered bluegrass.

Jun 6, 2024 - 7:21:26 AM

79711 posts since 5/9/2007

I tried slowing records down,listening over and over and over and watching a local person play Earl's standards and other things on his RB 250.
I couldn't get anywhere near what I was seeing and hearing.
Couldn't get rolls together or figure out what strings to play.

I had chords and rhythm down quite well with a flat pick (first 10 years) ,but was getting no results from the picks.
When I discovered BNL I discovered tablature and then found the Oak books by Pete Wernick and these books showed me how to incorporate rolls into my chords which made playing by ear much simpler.

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