What new banjo tunes do you want to learn for 2010

  1. Jock
    As above,

    I've learned a new to me 3/4 retreat march so far this year and been re-working an irish reel (which Gerry O`Connor has forever sullied for me due to his incredible playing).

    I'm thinking I'll have to learn a few of the bigger irish jigs as I'm alarmingly light in this department. Also a few of the bigger pipe reels + 2/4 marches (scots).

    How about the rest of you, what you got cooking?
  2. chrisblack
    Hey Jock

    what's the GOC reel???

    I've my head into a few reels at the moment- got the basics on them, but the triplets haven't come yet - hollybush, dogs amongst the bushes, finbar dwyers, - also trying to improve my playing style on jigs to get them more rhythimc.

  3. Jock
    Hi Chris

    The GOC reel is his version of Sean sa cheo (sean in the mist), this tune I learned on the 6 string guitar a good few years ago and finally got round to getting it going on the banjo as this tune is played from time to time at various sessions I sometimes go to and it's one of the old favorites. I could busk it without thinking about it but thought I should round the edges and get it nailed on the banjo. Anyway as with most tunes I learn I try to hear as many versions as possible to hopefully give the dots a little life and to that end I got a hold of the Ceol Taxi (scottish TV's gaelic language music show showcasing trad acts) CD and there was Gerry's cracking version, twaz a take the banjo out back and burn it moment

    My way of dealing with GOC's brilliance was simply to deny it and shelve the plan, saved my banjo from being burnt

    Anyway I revisited it a few days ago and I'm trying to play it each time I pick up the banjo to see if I can't develop it a little. Actually GOC's version is a little different to how it gets played by most folk and I'm unlikely to run into the man himself at my hangouts.

    What I did do was run his version through Transcribe (a slow it down app) at 30% speed for a listen to hear what he's doing. At 30% of the speed his playing is amazingly busy, triplets of one kind or another happening on most notes at blinding speed, a hummingbird of a right wrist. Although life is too short for me to try to emulate him it's been a worthwhile exercise in that it's making me think about how I play and what I can learn from him that will help me improve.

    With this in mind I've learned a couple of 3/4 retreat marches this week and I'm looking at how I can put more into them to fatten (and make them sound better on sustainless banjo) them out whilst trying to keep the tune tasteful and in context.

    The best way to learn triplets is to slow things down I've found. Pick grip, angle, pick thickness etc all have a bearing. Take an irish reel where there is a 8th note followed by a quarter note of the same pitch (or the other way round) and think about it as an 8th lead note before or after the three notes played in place of the quarter note. In other words it's really 4 notes in the basic triplet ornament (an 8th note followed by 3 x 12ths or vis versa), da, da da da.

    Pick up the dots to an irish reel and you'll see this crop up a lot. It's as good a place to start getting the triplets in as any. Of course there are many more triplet tricks but the above was how I was started off on that road with a little help by a ITM fiddler friend.
  4. Eddie Sheehy
    I've just got a banjo so I'm keen to "convert" a couple of my mandolin jigs over... maybe Banish Misfortune and Merrily Kissed the Quaker...
  5. BBarton
    Anything by Angelina Carberry -- love her style! Down-Up-Down triplets/trebles are one thing, and I kinda have those now, but the U-D-U triplets, which she seems to master, are a lot harder (for me, anyway).
    I too have done the mando-banjo "conversion", and just about anything celtic in the first position works.
  6. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Angelina plays UDU triplets/trebles herself, but tells all her students to play DUD (I was one of her students) She doesn't advocate UDU triplets/trebles - it's just how she began playing them and she's been at it so long that it's too much hassle to try to re-learn how she plays them.
  7. bmac
    Yeah but what is a banjo tune?

    I am fairly new to the tenor banjo and reading previous comments and suggestions it seems there is a strong focus on traditional Irish tunes. As a Scot by heritage I have no objection to that... in fact I am fascinated by many of the sample videos on this site. But what interests me about the tenor banjo is just how flexible an instrument it is.

    My own focus is on blues from the first half of the last century. I find the banjo a surprisingly effective blues instrument. I tune mine to GDAE and to my thinking that tuning is perfect for traditional blues. The stacatto nature of so much banjo doesn't bother me at all because a fast but gentle tremelo can draw out a banjo note the equivilant of a sustained guitar note.... or you can flail away at it and rattle the neighbors windows.

    I cannot suggest a blues tune which would be more suited for tenor banjo than another. Almost any blues can be effectively interpreted on a banjo. At least any blues is worth trying on a banjo. I would not have said this six months ago but now that I have experienced the flexibhility of the banjo and developed some skills I have become an advocate.

  8. catmandu2
    "Almost any blues can be effectively interpreted on a banjo."

    When I heard a recording of "Mood Indigo" by the Preservation Hall Band, I became immediately smitten and had to immediately get a tenor banjo. It was one of those things..
  9. Ten_or_Fifths
    Bag of Spuds, Autumn Leaves, Zombie Jamboree (oops, those are for 2011)
  10. zookster
    Dogs Among the Bushes, Bunch of Keys, Boy on the Hilltop, Gallowglass Jig
  11. Chip Booth
    Chip Booth
    I picked up Bag of Spuds recently on tenor. I also started playing clawhammer style where I learned Spotted Pony and a few variations on other tunes I already know such as Angeline the Baker and Over the Waterfall.
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