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So I finally bought a banjo

Matt_R 07 Apr 12 - 12:51 AM
Les in Chorlton 07 Apr 12 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Apr 12 - 08:24 AM
Will Fly 07 Apr 12 - 11:21 AM
Leadfingers 07 Apr 12 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 07 Apr 12 - 11:44 AM
Will Fly 07 Apr 12 - 11:46 AM
Will Fly 07 Apr 12 - 11:48 AM
Musket 07 Apr 12 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,Guest 07 Apr 12 - 12:21 PM
Les in Chorlton 07 Apr 12 - 12:25 PM
Stringsinger 07 Apr 12 - 12:38 PM
Gurney 07 Apr 12 - 04:01 PM
JedMarum 07 Apr 12 - 06:59 PM
Leadfingers 07 Apr 12 - 07:44 PM
Matt_R 07 Apr 12 - 07:54 PM
Leadfingers 07 Apr 12 - 09:17 PM
foggers 08 Apr 12 - 01:55 PM
foggers 08 Apr 12 - 01:57 PM
framus 08 Apr 12 - 09:51 PM
Crowhugger 08 Apr 12 - 11:10 PM
Will Fly 09 Apr 12 - 05:18 AM
greg stephens 09 Apr 12 - 06:15 AM
Will Fly 09 Apr 12 - 07:09 AM
Rapparee 09 Apr 12 - 07:37 AM
Will Fly 09 Apr 12 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Apr 12 - 03:27 PM
Matt_R 09 Apr 12 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Apr 12 - 11:02 PM
banjoman 10 Apr 12 - 05:23 AM
Will Fly 10 Apr 12 - 05:28 AM
Matt_R 10 Apr 12 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Apr 12 - 09:42 AM
goatfell 10 Apr 12 - 11:40 AM
framus 10 Apr 12 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,hg 11 Apr 12 - 12:00 AM
GUEST 11 Apr 12 - 12:09 AM
banjoman 11 Apr 12 - 05:47 AM
greg stephens 11 Apr 12 - 08:16 AM
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Subject: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Matt_R
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 12:51 AM

After all these years! It's nothing fantastic, really -- a second-hand Savannah for $85 at an antique store. Not sure when it was made -- maybe 1970s or '80s. It needs a new head and a geared 5th string tuning peg, but other than that, it sounds good to my ears. Since the 5th string peg is gone, I have it tuned in the Irish tenor style, which is pretty easy with my knowledge of violin and mandolin. One thing that is kinda hard to get my head around is how far apart the frets are -- lots of finger stretching. Plus my little loves listening to it. She points at it and says "'tar! 'tar!" ... her word for all stringed instruments.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 08:04 AM

An excelent move in two parts - by a banjo - play it like a tenor.

My Framus tenor has a long neck so I put a capo on around the 4th fret. This enables me to play jigs, reels and polkas without much trouble. You may need to experiment with sting gauge and flat picks. I find light strings move quickly - which siuts the dance tunes we play.

We also have a 5 string player in our band and he has no problem playing the tunes:


The Beech Band

Best wishes

L in C#


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 08:24 AM

Congratulations, Matt. That's a cute story about your little love.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 11:21 AM

Ah Matt - so you've gone to the Dark Side. When it comes to banjos, I always say, "Four strings go-oo-od... five strings ba-aa-ad."

Enjoy.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 11:29 AM

Welcome to the world of banjo Matt - Now all you need is that Fifth String peg and you can do it properly !
And ignore that Will Fly - He is only a Guitarist


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 11:44 AM

Yeah Will,

What's with the five string bias ? or do you mean baaaad in the way that my Chicago blues friends use it.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 11:46 AM

And ignore that Will Fly - He is only a Guitarist

Beast! Only a guitarist, eh? Well... I've also been known to pick up a tenor banjo... a mandolin... a tenor guitar...

In mad moments, I've even fiddled with an Anglo!


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 11:48 AM

Nothing serious Hoot. :-) Just prefer the sound and style of a 4-string banjo to a 5-string, though a 5-string frailed well can sound pleasing.

To be honest, the tenor guitar is more expressive (to me) than the tenor banjo.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Musket
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 12:06 PM

It's ok playing a banjo I suppose.

Or at least between consenting adults in private....

Not something I would put on my cv though. (Ok, I've got one.... Just wouldn't post anything on the internet saying I have one, that's all.)





Oh shit.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 12:21 PM

Not been a good week for banjo players, first Scruggs, then McKenna. Can you imagine the din in Heaven.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 12:25 PM

Hell?


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Stringsinger
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 12:38 PM

I'm replacing the neck on my B and D, a seventeen fret rather than a nineteen fret reducing the neck scale which enables easier stretching on the hand. The early tenor banjos with nineteen frets are hard on many hands with average finger length.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Gurney
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 04:01 PM

A banjo wouldn't tempt me, but our local opportunity shop had a battered electric base guitar and amp. About 70quid or US$120.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: JedMarum
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 06:59 PM

Congratulations


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 07:44 PM

Sorry Will - I KNOW how good a Git Basher you are , but HAD to respond to your banjo comment !
And I DO have a short scale tenor as well as the Five String , the Guitars , the Mandolin and the Banjola ! LOL


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Matt_R
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 07:54 PM

Thanks for all the advice! I really like the tenor sound and it's neat to be able to play it fingerstyle like a guitar but with mandolin tuning. I might keep it this way.

Here's a question -- this has an old partially perforated Remo Weatherking standard head. I like the look of the Fiberskynz heads that Remo makes, but it there really any sound advantage or is it all about the visual?

Gurney, that's a pretty good deal for a bass plus the amp. Our Toys R Us was having a closing sale and had lots of beginner electric guitars more than 50% off. I wish they would have had a bass -- I would have grabbed it. I did walk away with a native American flute and a ukelele though ...


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 09:17 PM

Weartherkings are OK - The finish is (I Think) purely cosmetic and does not affect the sound !
My Tenor , AND the Seven String both have Vellum , but the Five and the banjola have weather king !!


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: foggers
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 01:55 PM

Welcome to the Dark side!!!
My Wildwood Troubadour 5 string has a Remo Fiberskyn head and it is thicker than the Weatherking; I think it contributes to the mellow plunky sound, though without faffing around swapping heads on my banjos I can't prove that claim.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: foggers
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 01:57 PM

Meant to add; check out the wonderful online forum Banjo Hangout for all you could ever wish to know about playing, buying, building or renovating.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: framus
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 09:51 PM

Every bugger in the Hangout plays a G. Tenors is great, but I agree that a long neck is a bit hard to stretch, especially if you're a delicate soul like me with small hands. Bought a bouzouki in tenor tuning, sounds great but the stretch is difficult!


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Crowhugger
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 11:10 PM

Congrats! I'm totally an amateur player but I love banjo in every style I've heard it played.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 05:18 AM

Oh no - I'm getting the urge to get that tenor banjo out of its case...

It's Easter Monday, it's piddling with rain, the neighbours are away - dare I do it... dare I... he-e-elp!


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 06:15 AM

I just got a new banjo too, an old John Grey Benares model. It's to match my old banjo, also an old John Grey Benares model.
Good old Barney, eh? leading a screaming banzai(banjai?) charge against all those new fangled bazoukis citterns mandolas etc creeping in.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 07:09 AM

Greg - what years are the John Grey banjos? Haven't seen one of those for a long time.

Mine's an old Windsor model 3 tenor banjo - "Popular" - probably early 1920s and probably as cheap as chips in its day. It's quite plain but has a v-profile neck which is as straight and true as the day it was made. I bought it for a tenner in the late '60s in a shop in High Holborn - might it have been the old John Hornby Skewes music shop, I wonder. I had a resonator back made for it by the old Clifford Essex shop in Earlham Street and - many years later - a chromed tone ring by the late Barry Murphy of Hurstmonceux.

Still sounds sweet.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 07:37 AM

Oh dear. Oh dear, dear, dear.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 08:29 AM

Heh heh - that'll teach you to nose in to these banjo threads, eh?


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 03:27 PM

More than once, stretching the hand to fit the frets on a banjo has been mentioned. I'm pretty I just read in a book (I read a lot) that it is bad to stretch a part of the body and then make it do work. Stretching to find a fret and then pressing on the string sounds like you're doing exactly that.

I have two thoughts:

If you have to stretch, make sure the strings are not too high off the fretboard. That could compensate some by reducing the amount of pressure required.

Perhaps you shouldn't be stretching towards the frets but releasing the hand and jumping to the new position. After all, banjos are noted for their pointillistic sound.

I've never played, I'm just wondering.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Matt_R
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 05:09 PM

My strings are pretty low-set and they're really light, so it takes barely any pressure at all the hold it down -- much lighter than a violin, mandolin or guitar.

The jumping thing definitely seems to work the best, but it is a new concept when you're used to most everying being in your reach. Les' idea of capoing up on the fourth fret works great, where the spacing is much more like a guitar.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 11:02 PM

Good.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: banjoman
Date: 10 Apr 12 - 05:23 AM

Just finished my latest banjo and played its first tune (Angelina Baker) sounds great but needs a bit of tweeking re the action. I had given up making them but found a Hickler Rim at a knock down price and couldn't resist so I now have 26 banjos.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Apr 12 - 05:28 AM

26 banjos? Good lord! The mind boggles... I thought guitarists were bad enough (I only have 7). I demand a group picture - just to see the immensity of it all. :-)


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: Matt_R
Date: 10 Apr 12 - 09:37 AM

He IS the banjoman, after all.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Apr 12 - 09:42 AM

And my brother thought I was bad with 29 recorders!


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: goatfell
Date: 10 Apr 12 - 11:40 AM

good, and that's from a guitar player


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: framus
Date: 10 Apr 12 - 08:45 PM

I finally bought a G. Total swine to get to grips with at my advanced age (64). Might use it to play French cricket!


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 11 Apr 12 - 12:00 AM

mBo!!! Matt! did I just hear that you are married, with a baby that says "tar, tar!"   


Congratulations

harpgirl

PS got a FB page?


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Apr 12 - 12:09 AM

Yep, married back in 2009 and have a 15-month-old little girl now.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: banjoman
Date: 11 Apr 12 - 05:47 AM

I am almost 69 so there is no age limit to banjo playing although the fingers are getting a bit stiff. I started when I was 11. The banjos currently range from a civil war (USA) fretless -windsor zither various gold tones and a range of short travel banjos as well as those which I made for myself. My favourite is a frying pan banjo which I made as a challenge when someone said my banjo could be used to fry sausages. So, I used the pan as a resonator and fitted a wooden pot. It has a great sound but still has the makers name on the ack. Wont fit in the dishwasher though. I also have six guitars and my wife collects recorders and whistles as well as wind up gramophones. Our house is full to the rafters so we may have a clear out or buy a shed this year.


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Subject: RE: So I finally bought a banjo
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Apr 12 - 08:16 AM

banjoman: what it says on the tin!


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