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May 27, 2024 - 1:42:33 AM
69 posts since 4/14/2024

A few years back I played around on a bass guitar for a couple of years. One of the books I liked to workout of for my warmups was called "Bass Fitness". It is a book of nothing but finger and timing exercises. As there are a lot of really good players and teachers here I was wondering if any of you all thought those exercises would be beneficial for the banjo.
The first section of the book is all the different ways you can do 1-2-3-4. For the banjo you would start on the 4th string, do 1-2-3-4 on the first 4 frets then move to the 3rd string, the 2nd and then the 1st. Then slide down and do it again starting at the 2nd fret and work your way back up to the 4th string and so on, working your way up the neck and then back down the neck. Then you do the same thing but the pattern is 2-3-4-1 and so on through all of the permutations of 1-2-3-4. Oh, and you do this with a metronome starting off slow and working the BPM progressively higher. All of it done as 8th notes. Its all about developing finger strength, dexterity, and timing.
I was just thinking that both the bass and banjo use a lot of 8th notes and both help to keep the rhythm in the band. And it doesn't actually take as long as you think it would..on the bass it took me 15-20 minutes to do all of them and was a great way to warmup.
So, what do you all think? Hope I explained that right...

May 27, 2024 - 4:31:12 AM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

30200 posts since 8/3/2003

If you plan to do a lot of single string on the banjo that would probably help. Otherwise, you really wouldn't be using that technique a whole lot on the banjo. Maybe on walk ups or walk downs from one key to another. Otherwise you're ususally using all 3 fingers and on different strings rather than single string.

I do an excercise that starts off at the first 4 finger G chord at 5, 3, 4, 5 and take it up chromatically and then back down using a forward roll. That helps you as far as forward rolls go. I do another exercise using partial chords starting on strings 1 fret 1 and string 2, fret2 and take that up in 3rds using a square roll (alternate) or a forward reverse roll And another using the same idea only on the 2nd and 3rd strings All those exercises help with manual dexterity on the string.

May 27, 2024 - 4:53:49 AM

phb

Germany

4065 posts since 11/8/2010

Jack Hatfield has a book called "Exercises for 3-Finger Banjo". This might be what you are looking for.

May 27, 2024 - 11:17:53 AM

1412 posts since 1/26/2011

May 27, 2024 - 7:38:04 PM
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69 posts since 4/14/2024

John and Phillip- Looked at both of those books..wow..incredible! A little above my pay grade at this point but they will be in my library soon for future reference/practice...thanks guys

May 28, 2024 - 4:47:08 AM

69 posts since 4/14/2024

Sherry..sorry, didn't see your post (sucks getting old) Yeah, maybe in a few years I will try single string and/or melodic but for now I just want to get at least somewhat competent at Scruggs style...oh well, just a thought

May 28, 2024 - 6:13 AM
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RB3

USA

2025 posts since 4/12/2004

If you intend to play in jam sessions or bands that like to do exercises, this could be a viable approach. But if those bands and jam sessions prefer to play songs, I think your time would be better spent learning and practicing songs.

May 28, 2024 - 10:11:02 AM

6065 posts since 3/6/2006

I find that learning tunes and songs gives my fingers all the exercise they need. But to each his own, as they say.

Exercises tend to be sequential, but in reality tunes rarely work that way. But whatever. 

Edited by - Laurence Diehl on 05/28/2024 10:13:11

May 28, 2024 - 7:12:28 PM
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69 posts since 4/14/2024

Lawrence- naw bro, I appreciate all the time and advice all of you exp players/teachers give here... I am just always looking for ways to move past some of my learning..difficulties..and be able to play songs like everyone else. If people of you and Sherry's caliber don't think this exercise idea is a good one..then it probably isn't

May 29, 2024 - 6:30:52 AM

phb

Germany

4065 posts since 11/8/2010

I think it is possible to identify a specific technical weakness in one's playing that results in a passage of a song or tune to be more difficult than it should be. Then you can search for an exercise that addresses this weakness. This may yield quicker results than just playing the difficult part of a song over and over again if the exercise addresses the weakness in a more intense way. Also, you can add exercises that address similar problems on other fingers and such without waiting for this problem to show up in another song.

But then this is rather theoretical. While I own the book I mentioned above, I have made very little use of it so far and rather do just that: play difficult tunes or bits thereof over and over again...

May 29, 2024 - 12:42:22 PM

6065 posts since 3/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Patrick1962

Lawrence- naw bro, I appreciate all the time and advice all of you exp players/teachers give here... I am just always looking for ways to move past some of my learning..difficulties..and be able to play songs like everyone else. If people of you and Sherry's caliber don't think this exercise idea is a good one..then it probably isn't


The important thing is to stay engaged so as long as exercises don't feel too boring, no harm done. 
btw I used to live in Albuquerque. There used to be some decent BG players there. Old timers now!

May 29, 2024 - 5:59:24 PM

69 posts since 4/14/2024

Lawrence-Surprisingly I kinda like doing the various mass repetition exercises. I saw that there is a bluegrass jam on Sundays at a local pub..been thinking about going to check it out..wont be playing for a while..just kinda get the lay of the land for a while first, meet a few people, and see how crowded it is. (dont do well around crowds)

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