Monthly Archives: November 2009

Being the Best in Your Zip Code

The last blog I wrote just now mentioned the fact that there will always be someone better than you at whatever you are doing. That’s indeed a bit humbling for some of us, I’ll agree. But still, we have to … Continue reading

Posted in Beginning Banjo | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Play the Banjo?

Why indeed! I can think of several reasons… You get to meet some of the craz… er, nicest people around! OK, if crazy is what you’re looking for then, yes you can find that, too! As with anything in life, … Continue reading

Posted in Banjos and Society, Beginning Banjo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Introducing Two-Finger Style Banjo

I love exploring different styles of playing the banjo. Although I’m mostly a modern three-finger style player, I do know a smattering of other styles. I realize I’ve not blogged on another style I’ve recently started playing: two-finger style. I … Continue reading

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Quitting While You're Behind

Imagine you are going to a regional bluegrass festival (That would the the Tennessee Valley Old-Time Fiddlers Convention in Athens, Alabama for me). You hear some young banjo player picking out an incredible set of licks and you think to … Continue reading

Posted in Beginning Banjo, Music in General, Tips & Techniques | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Increasing Speed with Single String Style

Since returning from NashCamp a few weeks ago, I’ve been more diligent with two things. One, I’ve been more structured in my practice, allotting about one third of my time to each of three categories: playing songs I already know, … Continue reading

Posted in Reno & Single-String Style, Tips & Techniques | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Found: An Old Stella Harmony 12-String Guitar

I was cleaning out the attic today and noticed something: a 12-string guitar. Sure, I’d seen it there before – it used to belong to my oldest brother Mike (the same brother who had that first banjo I would strum … Continue reading

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The Purpose of Reading Music

By and large, banjoists nowadays use tablature rather than musical notation in order to convey what’s going on on the fretboard. This hasn’t always been the case, but since the advent of bluegrass, and the inclusion of the banjo into … Continue reading

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Banjo Chords in D Tuning

5-string bluegrass banjo players definitely prefer open G tuning to all other tunings. That said, there are a large number of possible tunings, each evoking a different mood in the listener; sometimes subtle or mysterious, other times harsh or exciting. … Continue reading

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A Taxonomy of Sloppy Playing

Sloppy playing can creep up on you before you know it, especially if you’re just starting out learning to play the banjo. As time goes on and you get more experience, you’ll start to recognize when you’re getting sloppy with … Continue reading

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Inspiration vs Influence

I’ve always used these two terms rather interchangeably. Saying that someone has been an inspiration, and thus has influenced my playing. Come to think of it though, they aren’t really the same. If someone is an inspiration, they don’t necessarily … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophical Ramblings | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments