The Banjo Thread

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I've finally done it.  Always wanted one.  It's an old un too.  Hopefully set out on Monday.  Final persuasion was doing banjo like fingerstyle on the acoustic more and more and it coming naturally to me and importantly me loving the sound.  It's kind of a bit like early '80's metal but the pedal tones are in reverse.

Any tips?

I guess I need some finger thingies?

It's the Playbus. We're not in control of ourselves. You're only as dumb as you're trained
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 12390
    I sometimes use a thumb pick but I've never bothered with the steel claws. I find my fingernails do a decent enough job as well as being easier.
    Don't know what tips to give you other than listen to lots of Banjo playing.
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 10912
    I want a Banjo. The obstacles are the expense and Mrs A. I could probably smuggle a guitar in and pretend it's always been here but a round shaped thing that sounds different, even the average female absence of observational skill won't help.
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  • hootsmonhootsmon Frets: 8819

    image


    tae be or not tae be
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  • SambostarSambostar Frets: 8375

    Well, it arrived, in one piece too.  My place is too dark to take pics so probably best just put up the listing.  They don't seem to sell for much, I fell in love with it though, what can I say and it matches the Washburn R314KK I got from Babones from this very parish.


    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/361424302177?_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    It's the Playbus. We're not in control of ourselves. You're only as dumb as you're trained
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 12390
    Looks like you got a good deal there. Very nice banjo.
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  • SambostarSambostar Frets: 8375

    There are loads of them about and 100 something year old Mandolins.  Nobody wants them.  £100 - £150 tops.  Nuts.

    I just love the mahogany neck and MOP inlays and rear inlay work.  Easy to play too.

    It's the Playbus. We're not in control of ourselves. You're only as dumb as you're trained
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3378
    Next step ....


    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • SambostarSambostar Frets: 8375
    edited November 2015

    Picking patterns are the hardest thing, I mean apart from the ones I already know and to know how they sound.  Especially picking down with your thumb on the high 5th G low string.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7MoWPTeYS4



    It's the Playbus. We're not in control of ourselves. You're only as dumb as you're trained
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  • Awww man. Why did you have to post this just before Christmas? I've been looking at banjos on the bay for the past few months.....looked at playing techniques on toob clips....and the missus is wanting to know what to get me for Crimbo! How are you finding it playing wise? Are you finger picking or clawhammering? Are you playing on the veranda, sipping sour mash whiskey and shouting yeeeeeehaaawwww?
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  • SambostarSambostar Frets: 8375

    Finger picking.  It's OK, I kind of got it to improve my fingerpicking on guitar, which was coming on as well.  I actually get on well with the 5th string where a low E would be on a guitar and the tuning overall.   

    Just the rolls and patterns are a bit tedious to lock in.  However, although it is a struggle, once you have mastered simple patterns, you basically have hyperspeed bluegrass as there ain't much doing with the left hand.  Although it looks much easier than it is, the roll pattern above for example is fairly awkward.

    Still I love that sound so much, it gives me the motivation to get there eh!

    I don't know about open backed banjos, but my closed back one sustains like a Les Paul.  Seriously.  Maybe it's the 100 year old mahogany, lol.

    It's the Playbus. We're not in control of ourselves. You're only as dumb as you're trained
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 12390
    Sambostar said:

    There are loads of them about and 100 something year old Mandolins.  Nobody wants them.  £100 - £150 tops.  Nuts.

    I just love the mahogany neck and MOP inlays and rear inlay work.  Easy to play too.



    I don't know about nobody wanting them. I've been in a few bidding wars over the years where even poor condition vintage banjos have reached silly prices.
    That one you've got looks to be in nice playable condition.
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  • Go for it mate. I'm still undecided. I like the look of a clawhammer technique....but believe that the truest banjo sound is the finger picking style. And the fifth string (high g is it?) seems counter intuitive to the guitarist. There is a place in town that sells second hand stringed instruments. They always have banjos that they can't seem to shift so maybe I can get hold of a playable cheapie!
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  • SambostarSambostar Frets: 8375

    There are a few old Windsors on Ebay for £100.


    It's the Playbus. We're not in control of ourselves. You're only as dumb as you're trained
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  • Sambostar said:

    There are a few old Windsors on Ebay for £100.


    Thanks. Aye.....some are even cheaper! 100 sovs would be my top whack. Would like to get my hands on one just to see how it feels.....Maybe try some basic finger picking on an open string chord.....see how it feels.
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  • SambostarSambostar Frets: 8375

    It takes patience, I am crap, but I am starting to make banjo noises.  Hardest for me is picking thumb 1st 2nd, rather than thumb 2nd third finger, mind that has nothing to do with the banjo.  I think it might be haunted, makes you wonder what the people who played it in the past must think of me right now.  Also because it's a six string converted to 5, the strings are nicely apart, not as much as a classical but like a finger picking steel string say.

    Regards picking though, it's just repetition though and muscle memory I guess, took me ages to get my fretting fingers to do patterns up scales on electric, although I could always go down, then one day it clicked.  Now I don't think about it.

    It's the Playbus. We're not in control of ourselves. You're only as dumb as you're trained
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  • SambostarSambostar Frets: 8375
    Nice piece of furniture and ebony and mahogany if nothing else
    It's the Playbus. We're not in control of ourselves. You're only as dumb as you're trained
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  • Wanna play banjo like Pete Seeger and guitar like Brian Setzer......not much to ask.....is it?
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3003
    Sambostar said:

    Picking patterns are the hardest thing, I mean apart from the ones I already know and to know how they sound.  Especially picking down with your thumb on the high 5th G low string.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7MoWPTeYS4



    awesome…. love it…

    I have a 5-string banjo.. I'm not that great at playing it, but it's just so much fun..
    play every note as if it were your first
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