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fret fret fret

Margo 10 Jun 00 - 02:34 AM
GUEST,Banjo Johnny 10 Jun 00 - 02:43 AM
sledge 10 Jun 00 - 03:51 AM
Tony Burns 10 Jun 00 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,Joerg 10 Jun 00 - 07:30 AM
Gary T 10 Jun 00 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Auxiris 10 Jun 00 - 09:30 AM
JedMarum 10 Jun 00 - 10:20 AM
Rick Fielding 10 Jun 00 - 12:22 PM
catspaw49 10 Jun 00 - 12:25 PM
Mark Clark 10 Jun 00 - 01:02 PM
Margo 10 Jun 00 - 03:36 PM
catspaw49 10 Jun 00 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Joerg 10 Jun 00 - 10:28 PM
Margaret V 10 Jun 00 - 11:39 PM
Gary T 11 Jun 00 - 12:17 AM
Gary T 11 Jun 00 - 12:36 AM
Rick Fielding 11 Jun 00 - 01:29 AM
catspaw49 11 Jun 00 - 02:08 AM
Margo 11 Jun 00 - 02:41 AM
Gary T 11 Jun 00 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Joerg 11 Jun 00 - 01:04 PM
Gary T 11 Jun 00 - 01:46 PM
Uncle_DaveO 11 Jun 00 - 01:51 PM
Uncle_DaveO 11 Jun 00 - 01:52 PM
Gary T 11 Jun 00 - 02:05 PM
Gary T 11 Jun 00 - 02:13 PM
Gary T 11 Jun 00 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Joerg 11 Jun 00 - 10:42 PM
sophocleese 11 Jun 00 - 10:43 PM
MarkS 11 Jun 00 - 11:06 PM
GUEST,April790 12 Jun 00 - 02:59 AM
Little Neophyte 12 Jun 00 - 07:40 AM
Gary T 12 Jun 00 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Joerg 12 Jun 00 - 01:09 PM
Little Neophyte 12 Jun 00 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Joerg 12 Jun 00 - 11:29 PM
Rick Fielding 12 Jun 00 - 11:38 PM
Whistle Stop 13 Jun 00 - 09:19 AM
Skipjack K8 13 Jun 00 - 10:39 AM
Gary T 13 Jun 00 - 03:28 PM
Margo 13 Jun 00 - 05:22 PM
Tony Burns 14 Jun 00 - 04:37 PM
Kim C 15 Jun 00 - 03:19 PM
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Subject: fret fret fret
From: Margo
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 02:34 AM

All banjo jokes aside, I was wondering why my banjo playing was consistantly out of tune, even after tuning up. Then I realized that my teacher had told me the reason, but it didn't sink in. I finally have seen the light and have changed the way I'm pressing the strings.

My teacher told me not to press directly in the middle of the fret, but up next to the bar (I hope this terminology is right). It requires far less pressure, and the string isn't pushed too far which is what was making my notes out of tune. Now that I am following instructions, my playing is in tune.

The added benefit to this method is that my playing is suddenly more relaxed, and more accurate, Because I'm using half as much power to press the string, I have greater agility.

So is this common knowledge? How many of you read this and say "Well, of course!!" I am amazed at the difference in my playing, and I wonder if any of you try this and have the same result as I did. This goes for guitar too.

~banjo Margo~


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: GUEST,Banjo Johnny
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 02:43 AM

Hi Margo! It's not unusual, you were trying too hard! The same when you learn to drive, you grip the wheel like death. No need for that as you see. Wishing all the best for your banjo playing! Johnny in Oklahoma City


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: sledge
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 03:51 AM

Margo

As a beginner to playing anything, the gem of a tip you've passed on is most welcome, I have had the same problem with the Bazouki I'm trying to learn to play.

Cheers

Stu


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Tony Burns
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 06:53 AM

This topic comes at an interesting time. I have the same problem with one of my guitars. While your teacher is right about fingering closer to the fret it may also be that the frets are too high. That's my current theory and I am planning on taking my guitar to a good luthier to see if my theory holds water.


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 07:30 AM

Do you really want to tell me that there are people who do not know that a string must always be pressed as close to the bar as possible without damping it? I am also astonished that there seem to be instruments that do not snare terribly when the string is pressed in the middle of the fret. The only reason for that I can imagine is that these instruments have extremely high bars (compared to what I know.

One should also avoid 'drawing' the strings (don't know if this is the right word in english) i.e. displacing the string from its correct position on the bar. Always press the string DOWN, do not push it towards one of the adjacent strings. Doing so also causes wrong pitch and can e.g. be used to produce a vibrato.

Joerg


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Gary T
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 08:19 AM

Tony, I'll be interested in hearing what you find out. I suspect it will not be that the frets are too high. I just had my guitars refretted, with higher frets than the factory used. I find it noticeably easier to play now. I can now do some barre chords that were impossible for me before. My understanding is that ideally, the fretted strings never touch the fingerboard. When the frets are too low, the strings will bottom out on the fingerboard, and if they're buzzing you're sunk--you can't go any further.

I realize that if the frets are too high and the strings are squashed down as far as they will go, it can stretch the string and alter its pitch. It was explained to me that the idea is to press on the strings just enough to get a clear tone, which is less stressful for both the guitar and the fingers.


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: GUEST,Auxiris
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 09:30 AM

Hello, everyone. What's fun is when you try to pick up a fretless banjo after having played a fretted one for a long time! I thought I knew how to play, but it was back to school for me!

cheers, Aux


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: JedMarum
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 10:20 AM

as Joerg pointed out, another thing to watch out for is stretching the string accidentally. If yuo push straight down on the string, just behind the fret, you should get a good note, but if you are pushing slightly toward the next string, you may very well be stretching the string a bit, and affecting the intonation, as well. When you do this on purpose, you are probably playing the blues, or rock and roll, but it is a very common problem I have seen many many guitar and banjo players do - and one which has a sometimes very sublte affect on the over all intonation.


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 12:22 PM

Well it's time I got into a little trouble around here!

Since I've always preferred the company of women to men, I've heard some rather telling comments over the years about "which guys are good lovers, and which ones aren't". Often it seems that it's "the touch". Well, it's the same with playing the guitar. As far as finger placement on the frets...a couple of mm.s either way can make the difference between a nice melodic sustain, and being simply "out of tune". One of the ways to help this is to use correct fingering for chords...fingering that allows you to get the digits near the fret rather than in the middle. The most important trick though is to use JUST ENOUGH pressure to push the string against the fret. There's certainly no reason to have it touch the wooden fingerboard itself. It's not an easy skill to learn (which is why the world isn't filled with great guitarists) but it's worth it in the long run. From what I've seen, men just press too damn hard. Since I played 12 string for many years and developed very muscular hands (no muscles on the rest of me!) I have to be conscious of easing up the "touch" substantially when I'm on the 6 string, or I'll constantly put the "B" string sharp.

Tony MAY have a point about "fret hight". Simply from a "comfort" point of view, I really like low frets, but many swear by Gibson's "high frets". My experience has been that sometimes a specific guitar JUST DOESN'T WORK PROPERLY for a specific player....for no easily explainable reason. Better to get a new one than keep trying to fix something that may be unfixable.

So remember, when you're on that G string, ya gotta find the right spot..."The G spot, of course".

Good thread Margo

Rick


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 12:25 PM

ohmygawd Rick..........break out the Lysol.............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Mark Clark
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 01:02 PM

Margo, (and Rick) would you mind copying and reposting your observations to the Give us a tip thread? Rick is going to edit all the tips down to a page or perma-thread or something and I'm sure he'd want your post included.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Margo
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 03:36 PM

So it is known!! I'm surprised that I haven't heard about this before. Yes Joerg, I did have problems when trying to pull off, because I was pushing the string towards the adjacent string and it did make the note play out of tune. But now that I'm up next to the fret, pulling off is easier. It requires less effort and it's in tune now. I'm so excited I want to SHOUT TO THE WORLD OF GUITAR AND BANJO PLAYERS but this thread is as close as I'll come to that :o).

(Spaw, since I'm pulling off that must mean I'm on top! :o))


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 04:02 PM

.........another can of Lysol over here if you don't mind...........oy..................And people blame me for all the nasty cracks around here!!! I mean really!!!!..........Butt since we're speaking of nasty cracks............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 10:28 PM

I learned to play the guitar with an instrument that was once handmade for my mother in order to make her learn it (they didn't succeed). A guitar of spanish shape, very small, with an extremely thin waist, steel strings (it didn't seem to notice nylon strings at all) and - because of the very old, very light wood - some sound I've never heard again from a guitar. With this guitar it was completely impossible to finger the flat B in a way that it didn't buzz. Being used to play on steel strings the next instrument I begged from my parents was a thing called 'Wandergitarre' in german, also spanish shape, also for steel strings only and - most of all - cheap. No comment! Still clinging to steel strings I then got a real 'Westerngitarre'(Martin type), japanese origin, not really bad (there are much worse clubs) but it taught me how difficult it can be to finger a guitar at all. (BTW what are the english expressions?) Once I played a real Martin: WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! I hope you see that for me it's not for the steel strings but for the particular instrument and the skill used to make it.

I took me all that time to convert to spanish guitars with nylon strings, the most common type of guitar you can get today in every music shop (not a toy shop!). With such an instrument it is impossible to get a string out of tune by pressing it too much, only to make it buzz by pressing it at the wrong place - the fingerboard will simply stop you. The prices have dropped to an amount you can forget. I think that this occured because the Japanese began using advanced manufacturing techniques where good workmanship is that important. The only backdrop is that they can't buy the appropriate wood that cheap so these instruments are likely to loose their quality within few years.

That was the explanation, now I can tell you my opinion: Instruments that enable getting them out of tune by simply touching them in the right place but with the wrong force or even vice versa are absolutely inadequate to beginners (so are people of whatever gender you prefer in bed ;) ). Beginners have enough trouble to put their fingers into some place that isn't completely wrong in time. They shouldn't have to cope with effects an advanced player can utilize or not, depending on what special instrument he has.

So this is my advice: When you are learning, it is essential to have an instrument that is easy to play - regardless of it's price. Parents - never think, that a cheap instrument is good enough for making your children learn it, because they might loose their interest. You might make them loose their interest just because the bad instrument they have makes learning too difficult to them. And you who want to learn because of your own interest - never think that an expensive instrument is the right one for you e.g. just because your favourite player is doing things with it that you are impressed of. And you who are encountering problems when learning - try different instruments, maybe you will see that it's not or not only your fault. And consider to buy a better one (not a better fault but a better instrument).

As a businessman once told me: Never, never buy stocks without having looked at the chart. I am tellig you: Never buy an instrument without having tried it. If you don't feel able to try it or to compare it with other ones, take some advanced player to the shop and ask him. In this case I think it is still better to ask a stupid expert that to blindly buy an instrument which might show to be a catastrophy - there are catastrophies, believe me.

Spaw - what the @#$&%! is Lysol?

Joerg


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Margaret V
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 11:39 PM

I remember when I first found out that Indian music used microtones on purpose, and that the notes in the western tempered scale were not the only "real" notes. It totally blew open my musical mind, one of those aha! moments of my 'teen years. . . I'm kind of feeling that way just now regarding strings not touching the fingerboard. I've been playing for 20 years and never knew that. "Gee, Margaret, maybe if you had just taken lessons this wouldn't come as such a shock," they said, sagely. . . Better start reading that "Give Us a Tip" thread immediately! Margaret


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Gary T
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 12:17 AM

Joerg, "Lysol" is a brand of disinfectant liquid cleanser, typically used to clean kitchens, toilets, etc. Spaw is talking about "cleaning" the "dirty" comments (sexual innuendo--"G spot", "I'm on top") in Rick's and Margo's posts.

Actually, I don't think he really wants to clean them up, he's just shocked by the competition in making dirty cracks--farting around, so to speak. (Oh, I slay me! Dirty cracks--farting around! Really, though, that stinks. Oh--another one! Stop me before I kill myself. What do you all mean, I won't have to do it myself?)


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Gary T
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 12:36 AM

Joerg, that is excellent advice, to avoid poor quality/difficult to play instruments. As you say, it's hard enough to learn to play, and if one must also fight a troublesome guitar, the struggle can be overwhelming. Also good advice to personally try different instruments, and to not buy one without playing it first.

You ask "what are the English expressions", but I'm not sure I understand the expressions for what. For "finger a guitar" it can be just that, or "fret a guitar". If there were other words or phrases you were wondering about, I'd be glad to try to help with idiomatic English.

Now I have a question. Talking about the Japanese guitar, you said "there are much worse clubs". I don't understand what you mean by "clubs" here. Is it what I call "brands" (e.g. Martin, Yamaha, etc.), or is it something else?


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:29 AM

I humbly apologise for encroaching on your turf, Pa. From now on I'll keep my hands (and fingers) to myself. Good stuff Georg and everyone else.

R


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 02:08 AM

Hey Gary....OK, we'll do it for you. Actually the Lysol was to clear the air from the bad jokes that stunk the whole place up. Now Rick tries to allude that I have a corner on the market on bad jokes, and in the scatalogical category I do. However on bad jokes of the more esoteric variety, Mr. Fielding has a full market share as he continually proves with lines like the finger thing above. The lovely Margo is a closet purveyor of forthright, honest, and jovial, obscenities herself and oft times a force to be reckoned with!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Margo
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 02:41 AM

Spaw, LOL!! Joerg, LOL means Laughing Out Loud!


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Gary T
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 08:02 AM

Oh, the focus was BAD jokes, not . . . well, we know where my mind is. I actually liked those jokes. Doesn't say much for my taste, I guess.

OK, Joerg, this variety of Lysol is in an aerosol can, and is sprayed to freshen the air.


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:04 PM

Thanks to you all for your explanations. You know it is sometimes difficult to understand what is meant if you don't know a special brand it refers to.

Regarding 'dirty' jokes: Are there minors present? I am over 18. Just be sure the jokes are not.

Gary - I just don't know the english expressions for the types of guitar I mentioned. In Germany we know three main types of acoustic guitars. The cheapest are smaller ones of spanish shape meant to be used with steel strings - the best for heavy duty outdoor use. They are called 'Wandergitarre' (difficult to translate, 'wandern' isn't used exactly as 'to wander' in english, it means walking larger distances). The second type is the well-known spanish guitar for nylon strings, originally meant to be played on your left leg for easy access of the high frets, called 'Konzertgitarre' (= 'concert guitar'). And third there is the type said to be the invention of C.F. Martin for steel strings with a large wedge-shaped body, a narrow neck, 14 frets instead of 12, most of them with a curved fingerboard, completely impossible to play on the left leg. These are called 'Westerngitarre' (must I translate?). How do you call them in english?

By 'clubs' I meant long, thick, heavy and hard pieces of wood well-suited and often used for offensive purposes. Just look at the necks of some guitars and you'll understand my feelings. (Isn't there the expression 'blunt instrument' in english?) You know there are instruments simply not recommendable to beginners but there are also some which anybody can only fight with or against. Poor beginner who is expected to do...

Joerg


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Gary T
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:46 PM

OK, I get it now! And yes, the club is the basic blunt instrument weapon. I hadn't thought of guitars that way, but now that you mention it, some of them qualify better as clubs than as musical instruments.

Now to the types of guitar. The "Wandergitarre" doesn't sound familiar to me, but probably someone else here knows something about it. Possible English equivalents to "wandern" might be "travel", "rove", "take a journey", "make a trek". I'll see if I can find out more about this.

The typical Spanish nylon-string guitar is often called a classical guitar. This style usually also has two oblong slots in the neck with the string-winding pegs going through them "sideways", so that the pegs are vertical when the guitar is being played.

Typical steel-string guitars have no slots in the neck, the string-winding pegs stick out from the "topside" of the neck, so that they point away from you (towards the audience) when the guitar is played. Some of these are called western-style guitars, some are called folk-style. I believe the difference is in the width of the neck, possibly also in the number of frets.

Perhaps someone more knowledgable than I can elaborate, but I hope that helps.

And, while I think of it, what you call "drawing" the string is what I have heard called "bending" the string.


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:51 PM

"Westerngitarre" = "backpacking guitar", I think, maybe.

Dave Oeterreich


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:52 PM

That was stupid on my part.

What I meant to say was:
"Wanderngitarre" = "backpacking guitar", I think.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Gary T
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 02:05 PM

Here's what I found at an online German/English dictionary, English words for "wandern": to wander, to walk, to roam, to peregrinate (yeah, I use that one every day! LOL), to migrate, to march, to hike, to flit (that's what butterflies do, hardly applies to Joerg's definition), to ambulate. For the noun "Wandern", rambling. For the phrase "das Wandern", hiking.

Dave's guess of "backpacking guitar" sounds pretty good. Somehow I got the impression that the "Wanderngittare" is not as small as the backpacking guitars we see here in the U.S., but I could be mistaken.


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Gary T
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 02:13 PM

Three online translators call it a "moving guitar".


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Gary T
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 02:14 PM

Which is a term I've never heard before, I question whether it's a term anyone uses here in the States. Possibly it's used in the British Isles?


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 10:42 PM

Yes - I knew that you wouldn't understand what 'wandern' is. Go back just 100 years and all the meanings you found would have been correct. But this has changed to some kind of 'kraut' occupation: Wait until weekend. Then put on some really rural clothes, HEAVY shoes and don't forget your rucksack. Then use your car or a train to go to some nice region. Walk about ten to twenty miles (remember you must get back to your car or to some railroad station). Then go home again. That's what 'wandern' means. I don't suppose that Americans or any non-european people do things like these.

Optionally you can take some crooked stick ('Wanderstock')with you or somewhere light a campfire and fry some sausages there (beware of cancer and also the local farmer but there are places specially established for that), you can also go to a pub somewhere on your way (often 'wandern' is finished at such locations) AND you can also take a guitar with you for musical accompaniment even while walking.

You see that a guitar for such purposes must have special features. First, it must be cheap (you might simply forget it somewhere). Second, it shouldn't be too large (you have to carry it). Third - you won't expect that a good classical guitar of dry and light old wood will stand conditions like these, so you'll leave it at home. A guitar you are willing to take with you must therefore be built in a way that will also make it only sound with steel strings. That's a 'Wandergitarre'. It needn't be a 'club' but there are some. Maybe it is what you call a backpacking guitar, but is it of the same type: classical shape, steel strings?

Joerg


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: sophocleese
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 10:43 PM

I like the term 'moving guitar'. If I catch one can I keep it?

Thanks for the tip about frets, I'm paying closer attention to where EXACTLY my fingers are going now.


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: MarkS
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 11:06 PM

One of the more popular German ways to spend a weekend is to put on a backpack and take a lengthy walk (wander) through the woods. I would guess that a Wanerngitarre is a sturdy, inexpensive instrument made to be carried on such a jaunt. You certainly would not wish to treat a Martin this way! Incidently Jeorg, pulling or pushing a string while in fret is called "whamming" a note, and has many uses as a blues lick. Try it with a D (second string, third fret) while doing a blues progression in the key of E. It can be cool.


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: GUEST,April790
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 02:59 AM

Thank goodness I play open bass! So simple, so easy, and so rewarding. I can abuse the frets and strings and still come out smellin' like a rose. You guys are a hoot!


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 07:40 AM

Margo great thread, thank you.

When I am learning a new chord position, even if I am using a fingering that allows me to strategically be near the fret rather than in the middle, sometimes it is still a far stretch for my fingers.
It is a rewarding feeling to know that when I finally do get my fingers to reach closer to the desired fret, the rewards will be a clean, clear note. Being I am playing the banjo, I am not sure how much melodic sustain I can achieve but I will happily settle for being in tune.

And Rick, you are so right, some men press way too hard.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Gary T
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 10:18 AM

Joerg, it sounds like the Wanderngitarre might be unique to Germany. From the use you described, it could indeed be called a backpacking guitar, but it sounds like the particular design of it is different from the other backpacking guitars I've seen. Over here, the term is used for any number of different instruments that are made small enough to be carried rather easily. There are many different styles. Some are fairly cheap, others are fairly expensive. They are usually made to be played like a regular guitar, but are designed more for portability than ruggedness. Martin makes one that has a very narrow trapezoidal body, flared out to perhaps 10" (25cm) at the wide end (good tone but very little volume, especially in the bass). Taylor and Larrivee (sp?) make "baby" guitars that are like 2/3 scale models of their full-size instruments.

Perhaps the most accurate term in English would be "German backpacking guitar".


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 01:09 PM

Gary - of course we also know special types of acoustic guitars, e.g. the so-called 'jazz guitar' with f-holes (?) as a violin has or smaller types down to the very small 'octave guitar' which is a real guitar, not a toy but very difficult to finger. (Again I don't know whether these expressions can directly be translated into english.) Now that we discussed it I realize that I can't remember any 'Wandergitarre' from an e.g. japanese manufacturer. Maybe these instruments really are a quite local phenomenon as their name refers to one. Maybe also they are vanishing: They are (or were?) cheaper because steel strings require less manufacturing accuracy for the guitar than nylon strings do, and the japanese now make classical guitars for the same price. The only difference is, that a 'Wandergitarre' is not that susceptible to aging, because steel strings make it vibrate by simple violence. Nylon strings need appropriate wood for sound, and nobody can keep cheap, fresh wood from 'working' as we say.

Bonnie - to simply finger your banjo closer to the frets should normally not be a problem. Just shift your hand a little down the neck. But I suspect that what you say doesn't apply to all of your fingers and you were only fingering imprecisely - am I right? Don't worry - that will come automatically with time and practise.

I am surprised of what you say about melodic sustain. Is that a matter of fingering? When I finger a guitar correctly the sustain is given by the particular instrument I have and nothing else (unless I damp a string by releasing my grip while still touching the string). If not I am immediately punished by the string either buzzing or sounding (uh - sorry) like a banjo: as few sustain but far from its clear sound (better?). Now as you are saying this I recall some banjo sounds I've heard and it seems to me that lacking sustain needn't be characteristic for these intruments. Might it just be caused by the player's fingering? Might there be a problem only banjo players know of and guitar players (except Rick) don't? I don't. But it's worth considering, for advanced guitar players as well as for beginners because this is a thing that should and need not annoy them - it only works with specific guitars. If it applies to all banjos - pooh! Then you have chosen a difficult instrument.

Joerg


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 02:42 PM

Joerg, I guess I am talking about 'decorating' some of the chords with additional notes. Sometimes I want to place my available finger near the next fret, but I may not have gotten that particular finger to stretch that far as of yet with the particular chord-hand positioning I am working with.
Does that make more sense?

I can get some sustain out of the notes I play on the banjo but this is usually when I am playing a melodic tune. With bluegrass and oldtime music, the focus as I understand it, is not to achieve sustain but rather the notes are purposely deaden by the speed and other things are more important like intonation.
But sometimes I like to play the banjo in an 'uncharacteristical' way too. I try to bring out as much sustain a possible.

BB


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 11:29 PM

Well, Bonnie, if you are trying something new, there are two possibilities - either have your finger grow a little (Should I...? No, I won't!) or practise. The latter works.

But maybe I still have a tip. Are you watching your elbow? I noticed some people having difficulties with certain things on the guitar because they simply didn't put their elbow from the place it was to some more appropriate place.

It's true, sometimes it takes the whole body. Move...

;)

Joerg


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 11:38 PM

Sometimes when you want to "decorate" a chord (this is my term, and I merely mean adding a 6th, aug., 9th or 7th etc.) you have to change the initial fingering to accomodate the new chord. This isn't easy (that's why most folks don't do it) and involves VERY quick finger movement. I try to stress the "gliding" of fingers rather than lifting them up and down. Yah it's a bitch...but oh, the rewards.

Rick


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 09:19 AM

Going back to the original topic of this thread, I'm a little uncomfortable with the notion that we need to be overly concerned with putting our fingers down immediately behind the frets. Being right behind the frets is a good thing as far as it goes, but if you have a decent instrument, a good setup, you don't bend the strings laterally as you press them down, and you don't press too hard, you shouldn't need to be too precise about exactly where you put your fingers down in the space between the frets. The advice is not bad per se, but it could really cramp your style (and slow your playing to a crawl) if taken too much to heart. Moreover, it could make you neglect the other considerations regarding setup, etc., that are more likely to be the real problem.

Anyone else agree with me on this?


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 10:39 AM

I have the answer for me.

I am more notorious for murdering the squeeze box, but I pick a bit on an ancient baby Fender. A couple of years ago, my sis crossed the pond to attend a wedding in a hilly bit that was never penetrated by the bicycle. Real Deliverance country.

She got kinda hooked up in the music thang, and treated herself to an Appalachian Dulcimer, and salved her conscience by buying me a present of a McNally Strumstick.

I ran a search on previous threads, and Spaw and Roger in Baltimore seem acquainted with these amazing mini banjos.

To get to the point, the troublesome frets are missing, ie the bum notes, so one gets about three inches between most frets, and landing anywhere produces a crisp twang, without any string stretching.

The trouble is the banjo playing snobs (?) I have showed it to are pretty sniffy about it, and the tune has to be in D (You can easily get GDA and B#m chords out of the three strings) I think it makes a great sound, if somewhat quieter than a banjo.

You can see a picture of one of these strumstick thingies at :-

http://www.netstuff.com/strumstick/index.htm

Blue clickey apologies.

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Gary T
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 03:28 PM

I agree, Whistle Stop. As a general rule, I can go 1/2-3/4" (12-19mm) behind the fret and be OK. That was not the case before I had a fret job and set-up done--the frets were so worn that I had a buzz no matter how carefully I fretted. Good equipment in good condition can make a lot of difference.


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Margo
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 05:22 PM

Well Whistle Stop, the thing that delighted me about putting my finger up next to the fret is that I don't have to press so hard. If I press that lightly back where I used to, I might get a buzz. Because of having a lighter touch, my hand is more relaxed, and my playing has become more fluid. I guess it is an individual thing, depending on the person and the instrument. Margo


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Tony Burns
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 04:37 PM

I tend to agree that if an instrument is properly set up then the amount of pressure applied to the string or how close you get your finger to the fret should not make the kind of difference that people complained about. If the resulting note goes sharp if you press harder then there is something wrong with the instrument. Same if it buzzes. A suggestion to place your fingers differently or to press lighter is a poor workaround at best not a fix for the problem.

As I said I have the problem of notes going sharp on one of my guitars not on the others or on other guitars I have played. If the problem was my technique it would follow me from instrument to instrument. I currently believe that the problem with that one instrument is due to frets that are too high. I still have not had time to take it to a luthier.


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Subject: RE: fret fret fret
From: Kim C
Date: 15 Jun 00 - 03:19 PM

Go fretless.


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