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Banjo - why so many jokes?

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Andy7 26 Jan 18 - 07:28 PM
meself 26 Jan 18 - 07:49 PM
Deckman 26 Jan 18 - 07:50 PM
FreddyHeadey 26 Jan 18 - 08:18 PM
RTim 26 Jan 18 - 08:27 PM
Mark Ross 26 Jan 18 - 09:16 PM
leeneia 26 Jan 18 - 11:55 PM
GUEST,Guest 27 Jan 18 - 02:17 AM
BobL 27 Jan 18 - 03:36 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jan 18 - 03:41 AM
Will Fly 27 Jan 18 - 04:28 AM
Steve Shaw 27 Jan 18 - 05:17 AM
BanjoRay 27 Jan 18 - 05:34 AM
Mr Red 27 Jan 18 - 06:16 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jan 18 - 06:22 AM
GUEST 27 Jan 18 - 06:31 AM
Steve Shaw 27 Jan 18 - 06:32 AM
gillymor 27 Jan 18 - 07:19 AM
Dave Hanson 27 Jan 18 - 07:35 AM
Nick 27 Jan 18 - 07:56 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jan 18 - 08:23 AM
Dave Hanson 27 Jan 18 - 10:26 AM
leeneia 27 Jan 18 - 11:59 AM
Will Fly 27 Jan 18 - 12:32 PM
Senoufou 27 Jan 18 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 27 Jan 18 - 01:16 PM
wysiwyg 27 Jan 18 - 05:39 PM
Bob Hitchcock 27 Jan 18 - 05:53 PM
Nick 27 Jan 18 - 06:58 PM
Joe Offer 28 Jan 18 - 01:28 AM
Mr Red 28 Jan 18 - 03:00 AM
Senoufou 28 Jan 18 - 03:53 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jan 18 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 28 Jan 18 - 05:00 AM
BanjoRay 28 Jan 18 - 05:36 AM
Senoufou 28 Jan 18 - 06:04 AM
gillymor 28 Jan 18 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,ced2 28 Jan 18 - 10:55 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 18 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 28 Jan 18 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 28 Jan 18 - 01:40 PM
Mr Red 28 Jan 18 - 01:52 PM
wysiwyg 28 Jan 18 - 03:10 PM
robomatic 28 Jan 18 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 28 Jan 18 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 28 Jan 18 - 05:43 PM
meself 28 Jan 18 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 29 Jan 18 - 01:16 AM
Dave Hanson 29 Jan 18 - 02:31 AM
gillymor 29 Jan 18 - 08:59 AM
GUEST 29 Jan 18 - 09:11 AM
Reinhard 29 Jan 18 - 11:06 AM
Ernest 29 Jan 18 - 12:26 PM
meself 29 Jan 18 - 01:35 PM
Tattie Bogle 29 Jan 18 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,Jerry 30 Jan 18 - 06:59 PM
Acorn4 01 Feb 18 - 05:32 PM
Bob Hitchcock 01 Feb 18 - 08:35 PM
topical tom 02 Feb 18 - 11:42 AM
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Subject: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Andy7
Date: 26 Jan 18 - 07:28 PM

As you will all know, it's very common in the folk scene for the banjo to be joked about. I watched a group just the other week in which one of the members occasionally played it; and of course, the group leader had to apologise when the banjo player picked up the instrument, and promise that they'd try to stop him picking it up again.

All harmless fun of course, and I'm not knocking it, it's great to have humour included in an act ... but I do find it interesting that the banjo in particular is chosen for this ribbing. It's a great instrument in the right hands, and it certainly doesn't grate as much, when badly played, as can some instruments - the fiddle, for example.

Any theories?


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: meself
Date: 26 Jan 18 - 07:49 PM

" ... in the right hands ... "


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Deckman
Date: 26 Jan 18 - 07:50 PM

Sure ... it's an easy answer ... because it's lighter than an accordion! bob(deckman)nelson ((who also plays banjo ... after dark ... when no one else is at home ... ))


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 26 Jan 18 - 08:18 PM

So many?
Not that many though.
Doing a thread search for 'banjo jokes' five threads came up with a total of only about two hundred posts ;-)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I think it will be to do with trying to lighten a painful experience.
I definitely find it more painful on the ears to hear a banjo being tuned than a guitar being tuned.
I find it more painful on the ears to hear some banjos being played than possibly any other instrument I've heard.
We know that banjo players are pretty tough and imagine that they can take a bit of ribbing.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: RTim
Date: 26 Jan 18 - 08:27 PM

Because it is easy.............

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 26 Jan 18 - 09:16 PM

Target of Opportunity.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: leeneia
Date: 26 Jan 18 - 11:55 PM

Because it was in instrument of black people and then of working people esp. Southerners. It's a simple case of bullying the less powerful. (Nobody plays banjo at the symphony.)

I like banjo.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 02:17 AM

A gentleman is a man who has a banjo and doesn't play it.

A true gentleman is a man who has a banjo and will not let anyone play it.

The cello cops it in posh music.

And as for drummers!!


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: BobL
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 03:36 AM

Possibly because, although to play it well needs as much skill and effort as any other musical instrument, it is comparatively easy for a beginner to reach an acceptably mediocre standard of performance. The same is true of the bodhran and the melodeon.

Now, why do orchestral musicians have viola jokes?


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 03:41 AM

"why so many jokes?"
I totally agree
There's nothing funny about having your session naused up by a loud percussion instrument in the hands of an inevitably bad musician
Bodhrans are much less of a problem - a sharp knife and a quick flick of the wrist soon sorts them out !!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 04:28 AM

Blimey, Jim, murder's a bit over the top, surely? :-)


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 05:17 AM

I tried to get rid of my banjo by having it stolen. I left it overnight on the back seat of my car with all the windows down and the doors unlocked.

When I looked in my car next morning, there were two banjos.   


As a harmonica player I can tell you that there are plenty of harmonica jokes!


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 05:34 AM

A harmonica only sucks half the time.....


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Mr Red
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 06:16 AM

Simple
It has the potential to be loud. And beginners often fall into the mistake of substituting skill for enthusiasm.
Bodhran falls into the same category, only total beginners don't think they need the investment of time, and what are dots anyway?

You might not notice a good player, but a bad one intrudes. And melodeons don't get off the hook on that score!

Trump must be a harmonica player because George H Bush described him as a "blow hard".


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 06:22 AM

" Jim, murder's a bit over the top, surely? :-)"
For banjo and Bodhran drivers?
I'll have to think about that Will!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 06:31 AM

"Because it was in instrument of black people and then of working people esp. Southerners. It's a simple case of bullying the less powerful".

Nonsense - it's not only banjos - the same jokes and comments are made about accordians, melodeons, bagpipes, bodhrans, drums (and drummers), and some brass instruments like tubas and euphoniums - and as for the constant jokes about morris dancers ...


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 06:32 AM

Tsk. Blowhards wreck their harmonicas within minutes! One does not "blow" - one exhales gently, or huffs...


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: gillymor
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 07:19 AM

The high plinky sound gets to people. When I was first learning clawhammer my wife,at the time, would scream "enough" when she couldn't take any more of my practising, then I knew I had to stop or take it outside.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 07:35 AM

The banjo player in bluegrass bands always played the clown, IE David Akeman { Stringbean } in Bill Monroes band.

how can you tell it's a bodrhan player at your door ?
the knocking gets gradually louder and he never knows when to come in

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Nick
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 07:56 AM

As a sometime bass player -

How many bass players to change a lightbulb?
None. the piano player can do it with his left hand


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 08:23 AM

Fore-runner of all the bodhran jokes - from my early jazz days

A drummer walks into a shop and says; "I'm fed up with people taking the piss out of my drumming, so I want to change my instrument - I want a numbered Martin Guitar with a broad neck, slightly raised frets and Thomastic strings"
"Sorry, I can't help you", says the man behind the counter, "This is a fish shop".
Jim Caarroll


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 10:26 AM

A man goes into a music shop and tells the assistant he is thinking of changing instruments, the assistant asks if he's got anything in mind, the man says the accordion, ' in fact I fancy that big brown one under the window ' the shop assistant says, ' are you a banjo player by any chance ? ' the man says, ' yes, how can you tell ? ' shop assistant says because the instrument under the window is a radiator '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: leeneia
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 11:59 AM

Guest, your list, " (accordians, melodeons, bagpipes, bodhrans, drums")
enforces the idea that economics, more than aesthetics, are behind jokes about musical instruments.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 12:32 PM

The reasons for the jokes are less about economics than the sounds and peculiarities of the instruments in their various musical environments...


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Senoufou
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 01:01 PM

The worst instrument on this Earth is a recorder 'played' by a child. It drives people to drink. Closely followed by a violin 'played' by a child. Both absolutely hellish.
I love banjo music, and melodeons (especially as Morris music). I used to play the harmonica myself (a Hohner).


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 01:16 PM

"Guest, your list, " (accordians, melodeons, bagpipes, bodhrans, drums")
enforces the idea that economics, more than aesthetics, are behind jokes about musical instruments"

(I was the Guest who forgot to sign in)

I don't know what you mean - are you saying these instruments are cheap (low-status) or expensive (Elitist)? Or what?? Have you seen the price of good quality melodeons, bagpipes etc.? Or the price of a good full drum kit? There's hardly an instrument that isn't made fun of, usually in a good-natured way (check out Les Dawson's piano playing) - and I am probably not the only former double bass player who was always greeted with "Can you get that under your chin?". Have a look at this page of bagpipe jokes and see if there are any that haven't been applied to banjos or any other of the instruments I mentioned: http://www.rampantscotland.com/humour/blhumpipes.htm

It's just a case of (usually) fellow musicians taking the mickey out of each other - no need to look for race or class explanations.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 05:39 PM

I share leenia's opinion, and don't appreciate that opinion being attacked. Have your own opinion.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Bob Hitchcock
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 05:53 PM

An accordion player and a banjo player form a duo and try playing in clubs. They finally got a gig on New Years Eve, and played all night with everyone having a great time. The Club owner comes over at the end of the night and says "Hey, do you guys want to play here next year?". "Sure" they said " Is it ok if we leave our stuff here"

Sorry, couldn't help myself


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Nick
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 06:58 PM

I have just taken my banjo out of the bin before the bins are collected just in case


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 01:28 AM

I can't think of an instrument that has a happier sound, and the happy atmosphere it creates is good for light-hearted teasing. On top of that, it takes a lot of time to tune a banjo and it needs tuning constantly, so there's plenty of time for jokes.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Mr Red
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 03:00 AM

Blowhards wreck their harmonicas within minutes!

And?


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Senoufou
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 03:53 AM

Oh that wonderful scene from the film 'Deliverance'! (The banjo and guitar duel) I've just watched it again and it always brings tears to my eyes.
(The boy in it closely resembles one of my pupils years ago, who had learning difficulties, and I think of Daniel whenever I watch the clip)
Why is it called Duelling Banjos though, when one of the instruments is a guitar?
Some of the old black-and-white Bluegrass clips on Youtube are also excellent. Banjos/oes are so poignant but jolly at the same time. I think that's what I love about the instrument. It has an air of joyfulness but there are undertones of deprivation and sadness. Magical.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 04:42 AM

America has managed to make the Banjo an instrument of high art in its traditional music - it even works as an ACCOMPANYING INSTRUMENT to singing
Unfortunately, in Irish music it has become a menace - fine in a noisy session when nobody is really listening, but where you get a group good melody instrumentalists creating together, it's 'short duration' quality destroys the individuality of the playing and turns it into muzak and turns a listening audience into a noisy one - people just stop listening
I say that from a town that thrives on good playing and has produced some of the finest (often described as 'the home of Irish traditional music)
I love the banjo in context (though I can't think of one for the bodhran other than when you run out of turf for the fire!!)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 05:00 AM

Perfect pitch: The sound a forcibly ejected banjoist makes when landing on an arriving steel drummer.

Chivaree me timbres, leeneia may be on to something there.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 05:36 AM

Senoufou - Duelling Banjos started life as a tune called Feudin' Banjos   in 1955 in a recording by Don Reno and Arthur Smith, with two banjos.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Senoufou
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 06:04 AM

Wow! That's hot stuff Ray! Much more complex and faster than the version I know from the film. Thank you for that link.
The only advantage I can see of having a guitar and a banjo is that the two are separate and really 'duel'. The two banjos meld together a bit, more a duet than a duel.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: gillymor
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 06:40 AM

Leroy Troy has the last laugh:

Ghost Chickens in the Sky


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST,ced2
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 10:55 AM

Perfect Pitch.... The sound that the Banjo makes as it hits the side of the skip.

Pity the same can't be said about the vast numbers of tuneless, toneless ukes that seem to afflict a number of musical gatherings, just a dull twang no matter how good the aim!!!!!!!

What say you Mr Hanson


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 01:37 PM

"I share leenia's opinion, and don't appreciate that opinion being attacked. Have your own opinion".

wysiwyg, why so aggressive? "Attacked"? I disagreed with leenia's comment, and gave my own opinion. Several others have argued for a more nuanced view, and I don't see you attacking them.

Even if it were true that the reason for jokes about banjos is "Because it was an instrument of black people and then of working people esp. Southerners", that still wouldn't apply here in the UK, where the same jokes are told. Also, as I and several others have pointed out, the self same jokes are told about a whole range of instruments, depending on which instruments are common in a particular context - for example, the bodhran is common in Ireland and Irish pubs etc. in the UK, whereas the banjo is not that common - on the other hand, English sessions can tend to become dominated by melodeons and accordians, and hence they and their players become the butt of the jokes. Recently, with the growth in popularity of the ukelele, which used to be quite rare on the folk scene, I've heard similar comments about them too. In some cases (melodeons, bagpipes, accordians) it is likely to be connected to the loud, overpowering sound of the instrument, but when the same comments & jokes are made about less dominant instruments like mouth organs and ukeleles, it's less likely. These light-hearted jokes have a long history - there are medieval carvings & gargoyles in churches and cathedrals depicting e.g. bagpipers in an unflattering light. All I was pointing out is that it is unhelpful to take a reductionist approach - and I still don't know what leenia means by "economics, more than aesthetics, are behind jokes about musical instruments"!


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 01:37 PM

Sorry, the last message was from me


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 01:40 PM

There was a thread last year where even more instruments are mentioned!

/mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=161844


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Mr Red
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 01:52 PM

At Gloucester Cajun Festival yesterday:
A uke player (and his wife uke player) was telling me someone is marketing a mandobanjo. Mandolin 8 string tunings with the banjo skin to make it louder!

Banjocello next?

The banjo was designed to make it loud, in the days before amplification. Its association with black people is an accident of history. I guess you could tar the resonator guitar with the same guilty broad brush strokes, but we don't. We pick our sensitivities, to suit our bette noir.

Now how are we on the ukulele, and steel guitar? One of those comes in for a lot of stick. And its literal translation is "Jumping Flea". Talk about tarring with a reputation!


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 03:10 PM

Guest Bowden-- the mansplaining tone.

I'm not responding to the rest of your trolling reply.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: robomatic
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 04:12 PM

We're getting into ad hominem reactions on a JOKE thread?

Reminds me of the old joke about political jokes- they're fine, UNTIL THEY GET ELECTED!


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 05:12 PM

If you tune your guitar into an open tuning, say DADF#AD, you can ensure your wet wednesday afternoon learning a five string banjo wasnt wasted by playing the same fingering on a musical instrument


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 05:43 PM

wysiwyg,

I've no idea what I have said to elicit such a response - it was not my intention to cause any unpleasantness. I'm sorry you feel so angry.

John Bowden


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: meself
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 07:21 PM

If it's any consolation - you're not the only one who has no idea, etc.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 01:16 AM

Mr Red. Soneone is marketing a mandobanjo?

How different is that to the thousands of banjolins that hafe been played in UK folk clubs (and everywhere else in the world) since year dot?

I bought one from Hobgoblin, must have been forty years ago.

Regarding ukeleles, it turned out nice again for George and his banjolele


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 02:31 AM

Ah ced2, the definition of perfect pitch is hitting the skip [ dumpster for our US friends ] first throw and it smashes a bodhran and an accordian when it lands.

I inherited a mandolin banjo from my late Uncle Donald Jackson, I never play it.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: gillymor
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 08:59 AM

Gibson Mandolin-Banjo MB-4 from 1924.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 09:11 AM

I haven't heard any jokes about Rowan Rheingans's bansitar yet...


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Reinhard
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 11:06 AM

... but in re-viewing the above video, Hannah mentions that the bansitar has been defined as a cross between a banjo and a musical instrument.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Ernest
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 12:26 PM

Just to answer the original question:

They were all invented by guitarists who are jealous because a banjo is louder than their guitar.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: meself
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 01:35 PM

I think this illustrates the problem with banjos: Soldier's Joy for Roosevelt


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 03:57 PM

Heard them ALL before, many also applied to bodhrans (which I also play, tho not banjo......yet! BOOOOOORING! Just off to practice my B/C button accordion (excluded from melodeon jokes!) for Burns supper tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 30 Jan 18 - 06:59 PM

I think it’s not just jealousy over volume, because some guitarists like to belittle Banjos because they don’t like to accept that they are actually harder to play. Anyone who has tried playing bluegrass or melodic clawhammer on the five string, or for that matter jigs and reels or chord melody style on the tenor banjo, will know that it requires greater musical knowledge and prowess than is required to strum cowboy guitar chords. Stop me when this starts to sound elitist....


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Acorn4
Date: 01 Feb 18 - 05:32 PM

I think the best banjo joke I've come across was actually a post on facebook:- a father taking to his son:-

"Now remember, son, a law degree is no guarantee of a good job so keep practicing your banjo".

Play banjo myself but still appreciate the humour in this.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: Bob Hitchcock
Date: 01 Feb 18 - 08:35 PM

Another one:

What do banjo players use for birth control?

Their personalities!

Heard the same one about violas, trombones and drummers.

Bob.


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Subject: RE: Banjo - why so many jokes?
From: topical tom
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 11:42 AM

I LOVE the banjo and that's no joke!


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