They Ought to Have a Name for It – The Song Race

Here’s a small series of blogs on various things that happen to banjo players. See if you can identify with any (all?) of them!

The first one is…

The Song Race

As a new banjo picker, you’re still struggling with getting your rhythm just right. It’s all too easy to pick up speed as a song goes along. So here you are in a jam session. You’ve played your first break reasonable well and the mandolin player does a break. He’s pretty new as well. Then maybe the fiddler (also a newbie). They also need to work on keeping a steady rhythm, but the mandolin and fiddle can speed up easier in this situation than a banjoist or guitarist can.

Then, the break comes back to you.

By this time, it has gotten awfully fast – so fast, as a matter of fact, that you can no longer keep up! What do you do? The most useful thing to do is just laugh about it and gracefully end this “song race”. Live and learn.

I’ll post some more over the next couple of days.

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About Phill Gibson

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama where I work as a Systems Engineer and part-time banjo and mandolin instructor. I've been playing various instruments since my teen years. I started mandolin at about age 17 and banjo at 20. I love just about all kinds of music. In terms of banjo styles, I play Scruggs and melodic and am working on becoming more advanced with single string. I'm also working on 4-finger banjo, which is way off the beaten path. I would like to see more jazz techniques integrated into bluegrass situations; counterpoint, especially. So long-term, that's what I'm doing. I'm also very keen on astronomy, ATM (amateur telescope making), birding, christian homeschooling, martial arts, organic gardening and about 30 other distracting hobbies to a (mercifully) lesser extent.
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