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Thread: Banjo solos /mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Banjo solos /mandolin

    Hello, hope I can get some ideas here, Iím a rockabilly/country guitarist, singer songwriter, Iíve noticed in last year or 2 my songwriting is developing more towards old time country
    And bluegrass.. Iím about to go into the studio to record 6/7 new songs, Iíd say 3 of them are straight bluegrass, I, pleased with them, however, Iím taking total novices into this situation, very good musicians, and capable, I have a young fiddle player who just loves this style but knows nothing about it, is there any set rules about soloing/? Banjo first, mandolin second, ? When Iím singing a verse should the mandolin just be ĎclunkingĒ etc? With violins putting in the odd note?
    Iím really curious about this, any rules, or set things I need look for? My guitarist can play banjo good, but he has nylon strings on there, Iím sure thatís not good?
    Also can any old country fiddlers please give me some good advice for my young fiddler?
    Thanks
    Howard

  2. #2

    Default Re: Banjo solos /mandolin

    If you're trying to emulate somebody, listen to their music. If not, do as you please.

    For your young fiddler, I'd suggest listening to older fiddlers, Kenny Baker, Chubby Wise or Vassar Clements couldn't hurt.
    Play it like you mean it.

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  3. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo solos /mandolin

    I assume you have some experience with arranging for recording sessions. I would certainly agree to listen to the music you want to emulate however i would keep it simple. I behind vocals if your mandolin player is chopping have then do it lightly or just put some short single-line notes or nelodic chords behind your singing and onky when there are rests in the vocals. I would ignore any rules but do what sounds the best to your ears. Nylon strings on a banjo are fine usually for old time music or even minstrel or ragtime styles but definitely not for bluegrass. What kinds of music does the fiddle player play? Frankly, if he/she is a classical player then forget about imitating old time or bluegrass on the sly. These are not styles that a classical player can pick up without some background and experience playing. Maybe the fiddle player can play some small single line melodic fills or double stops behind the vocals similar to the mandolin. If this fiddler is a classical player perhaps the best you do might be to write out some parts for him or her.
    Jim

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    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo solos /mandolin

    A lot of times two instruments will split a solo. Listen to Bill Monroe's version of "Uncle Pen." For the first solo, fiddle did a verse, which was essentially the same as the intro, but the mandolin did the chorus. The second time the fiddle did it all. Third time they split it again.

    While you're singing, the mandolin should chop the chords on two and four, but there is a style called "backup" in which the instrumentalist will "noodle" like a call/response or embellishment type of thing. Listen to the Stanley Brothers, and Bill Monroe and you'll hear what I'm talking about.
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    Rush Burkhardt Rush Burkhardt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo solos /mandolin

    Go into the studio and play your music, as you'd like it to sound, with the instrumentation you like! When you've finished, label it as to the genre where you think it fits! People have been listening to and playing "bluegrass" for decades and lots of them miss the target and wind-up with music that isn't fish or fowl! Just make good music!
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    Default Re: Banjo solos /mandolin

    The advice I have gotten is to keep it simple. Don't step on the singer or the lead instrument. Meaning don't play the same note ever or in the same register when possible. When they go down go up when they are playing in the upper register stay on the lower. "Busy" playing behind a voice or another instrument is not desired. It confuses the listener and the music. Fiddle … long slow tones in harmony .. chorded double stops are used only occasionally. Akin to an exclamation point at the end of a phrase. Have your fiddle player listen to Vasser Clements Bobby Hicks and Kenny Baker a listen. Mandolin …. change chord forms within the same chord using the lower tones and double stops. It keeps the chunking along from sounding boring. And yeah … it's your music play it like you want it to sound to you. Everybody else will. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Default Re: Banjo solos /mandolin

    I lovevit when people start talking about music getting too "busy". Ever listen to an orchestra?

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo solos /mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    I lovevit when people start talking about music getting too "busy". Ever listen to an orchestra?
    Well...a symphony orchestra is not exactly "folk music"!

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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo solos /mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Well...a symphony orchestra is not exactly "folk music"!
    And the whole orchestra generally doesn't play forte while the fat lady is doing her thing in the opera
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  13. #10
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banjo solos /mandolin

    But have to admit this is a great comment, made me chuckle out loud this morning

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    I lovevit when people start talking about music getting too "busy". Ever listen to an orchestra?
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
    ------------------------
    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
    Newbies Social Group | The Song-A-Week Social
    The Woodshed Study Group | Collings Mandolins | MandoCymru
    - Advice For Mandolin Beginners
    - YouTube Stuff

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