The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #33851   Message #454232
Posted By: GUEST,Les B
02-May-01 - 06:12 PM
Thread Name: Help: Banjo Style/Tuning Question
Subject: RE: Help: Banjo Style/Tuning Question
If it's any consolation, I heard a famous flatpicker (whose name just went right out of my head) say that his wife referred to some of his picking as "deedly deedly music"! It happens to everyone.

The banjo is known for not being a straight ahead melody instrument. A friend, who is a fine old-timey fiddler, decided to learn the banjo. He complained that he couldn't get all the melody notes of a fiddle tune onto the banjo. A good banjo player told him he had to learn to "sketch" out the melody and "imply" what was missing, while still holding the rhythm. The fiddler found this quite difficult after playing a straight line instrument.

It is difficult to bring the melody out of the bombardment of notes a banjo can produce. One way is to be less "notety," and, as suggested above, put a little more emphasis on the melody notes. Also, perhaps you should be clawhammering the particular tune. I find I can get more of the melody in that style than 3-finger picking.

Don't give up. As the old timer said, "Hell, there ain't no notes on a banjo, you just play it!"