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Thread: I fear

  1. #1

    Default I fear

    What, you ask? I fear I've slipped down another rabbit hole. I was just strolling through the forest when I tripped over a banjo. It was the kind that transports you back to the dawn of steel strings. Or a century before that.

    Anyway, it is an El Cheapo and it had a cracked headstock which I repaired quite nicely. Anyway, there will be some clawhammer in my future. Do you have to tune these things? From listening to them, I'm not quite sure. And how can you tell if you're getting good? Will the dogs stay in the same room?

    One thing is troubling me. I was walking through the house and the yellow pages were opened to attorneys. The left hand page was open to wills and trusts, the right was divorce. There was a bookmark on the gunsmith page. Should I worry?
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: I fear

    Be afraid. Very, very afraid.

    I, too, own a banjo. I’ve even played it in public a couple of times.

    But, I don’t play it at home except when my wife’s out of the house...

    Beware the clues...

    Shoot, if she’d been born in earlier times and happened to marry Earl Scruggs, he’d have been the best darn finger style guitarist you’ve ever heard. She truly detests the instrument that much. But, I secretly love it, and, of all the instruments I attempt to play, other than mandolin, of course, it’s the one I wish I were really good at...
    Chuck

  4. #3
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: I fear

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    What, you ask? I fear I've slipped down another rabbit hole. I was just strolling through the forest when I tripped over a banjo. It was the kind that transports you back to the dawn of steel strings. Or a century before that.

    Anyway, it is an El Cheapo and it had a cracked headstock which I repaired quite nicely. Anyway, there will be some clawhammer in my future. Do you have to tune these things? From listening to them, I'm not quite sure. And how can you tell if you're getting good? Will the dogs stay in the same room?

    One thing is troubling me. I was walking through the house and the yellow pages were opened to attorneys. The left hand page was open to wills and trusts, the right was divorce. There was a bookmark on the gunsmith page. Should I worry?
    Hmmm, lots of very important questions here.

    I'll start from the end and move upward:

    1) Do you have somewhere else you can live?
    2) Banjos can be tuned, but most experienced players don't try.
    3) You may get good, but you won't know it. No one will tell you.
    4) You mention clawhammer in your future. Is that Freudian for sledgehammer?
    5) Regarding fixing the broken headstock, too bad you wasted your time, it would have sounded just about as good broken.
    6) Was the hole really a rabbit hole? Was there a flushing mechanism to activate?

    Seriously, speaking as someone who is mostly known for banjo playing, it can be lots of fun. There are lots of tunings, but to get you started, the most common is gDGBd; you may not personally need to tune it, but your loved ones will thank you for doing so.

    As someone who has played banjo for about 50 years now, I can truly say that people seem to respect me more now that I play the bass.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  5. #4
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    Default Re: I fear

    Tom Collins is excellent, lots of info on youtube, and for $5 a month thru patreon, you get everything he offers-lots and lots of instruction there.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHovpY60W4Y

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  7. #5
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: I fear

    I've owned a few banjos over the years but haven't had one for awhile. I always played 3 finger Scruggs style, but I've had a hankering to try clawhammer style. I finally broke down recently and bought an open back Pisgah banjo. Clawhammer is (for me at least) significantly quieter than picking with metal picks, so that's a good thing for playing at home. It's also easy with an open back banjo to stuff some cloth inside for further muting if so desired. I wish I hadn't waited so long to get another banjo.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

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    Gunnar 

  9. #6
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: I fear

    How old are you? If you are over 6, you'll never get clawhammer down right. But nobody will know.

    And if you happen to drop a thumb, just bend over and pick it up. Always good for a laugh.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  10. #7
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: I fear

    Seriously, look up Josh Turknett and his Brainjo lessons. He's pretty good. Here: https://clawhammerbanjo.net/
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  11. #8
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: I fear

    Hilarie Burhan has a bunch of YouTube videos teaching clawhammer tunes. She doesn't provide tabs but just goes through the tune slowly explaining each section piece by piece. It's almost like having a friend teach you a tune.
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  12. #9
    Registered User Joe Dodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: I fear

    Recognizing you have a problem is the first step. I remind you of the words of the social philosopher who taught us that: "A gentleman is someone who can play the banjo, but choses not to." Was it Ambrose Bierce? I've forgotten.

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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: I fear

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    I was just strolling through the forest when I tripped over a banjo . . . Do you have to tune these things? From listening to them, I'm not quite sure.
    Yes, there is a proper way to tune a banjo . . . however - when the inventor never told anybody how to do it, and when he died the secret went with him to his grave.

    I have found that if you simply tighten each string until it breaks, that is how they sound best.

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  15. #11

    Default Re: I fear

    I had no idea when after the repair, I couldn't get the outside strings to stay in their slots, so I ran down to Griffin. Frank Ford was there and asked what I had. I replayed, either a banjo or firewood. He guessed it was a kit banjo, and just needed the bridge slots cut deeper. Asked what I wanted to do with it, I replied, make bad music on it. He said he could easily make that happen. Sent me on my way gratis. I had a devil of a time before the new strings settled in. I still have a devil of a time. But I do have the attitude down. Fire up the still boys.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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  17. #12
    plectrist
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    Default Re: I fear

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Dodson View Post
    Recognizing you have a problem is the first step. I remind you of the words of the social philosopher who taught us that: "A gentleman is someone who can play the banjo, but choses not to." Was it Ambrose Bierce? I've forgotten.
    I thought it was Mark Twain.

    Ryk
    mandolin ~ guitar ~ banjo

    "I'm convinced that playing well is not so much a technique as it is a decision. It's a commitment to do the work, strive for concentration, get strategic about advancing by steps, and push patiently forward toward the goal." Dan Crary

  18. #13
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: I fear

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryk Loske View Post
    I thought it was Mark Twain.

    Ryk
    That's what I was gonna say, but my internet was too slow.
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

  19. #14
    Registered User John Van Zandt's Avatar
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    Default Re: I fear

    gDGBd, 1,2,3,4,5, yep 5 strings worth.

    Still no clawhammer photos in this thread?
    Kentucky KM-380

  20. #15

    Default Re: I fear

    I went down to my local hardware store and they didn't know what a claw hammer was, but when I said it was for banjo, they showed me a sledgehammer.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: I fear

    Quote Originally Posted by John Van Zandt View Post
    ...
    Still no clawhammer photos in this thread?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is a Belknap Blue Grass Claw Hammer with a ripper claw. Very effective for banjo tuning and head maintenance.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

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