Tony Trischka from the American Banjo Museum talks about Classic Banjo.

How nice it is to hear this un-rushed playing and with steel strings and fingerpicks the "Classic Style" music shines through.

Something that I never thought that I would hear my self saying: 

"I am thinking of setting up a banjo with steel strings and buying myself some fingerpicks" !!!

Thank you Tony.

Views: 536

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Tony can play *anything* on the banjo. And he does. I had the pleasure and honor of playing a few gigs with him a while back.  He was able to quickly learn some of my compositions. Not only that, he *wanted* to.  You are right, Ian, that the playing is un-rushed here.  But the idea that steel string or bluegrass playing is normally rushed does not reflect the reality. Just yesterday I got done teaching guitar and vocal harmony at the Monroe Mandolin Camp in North Carolina (well to the  west of the hurricane flooding). The banjo instructors were Alan Munde and Bob Black, two of the top pioneers and creative artists of bluegrass banjo playing. I heard nothing hurried in their playing. Neither one played too loud either.  

I've tried playing with bare fingers on a steel string but it's never occurred to me to try it with fingerpicks.

I'm definitely going to have a go, it would be great to be able to play a fingerstyle tune or two in sets where i can only bring one banjo.

Hi Jody,

I have NEVER played with finger picks.. could you suggest what make I should consider buying and how to select the correct size, and also maybe which make of steel string please?  Any other tips would be appreciated. I may string up my C.E. Paragon and have a practice on that.

I like Kyser picks. Whatever brand you use be sure to get the heaviest gauge you can find. I also very much like Diamond Ti  picks which are titanium and expensive.  National picks are inexpensive and will do but they don't produce the sound that the old Nationals from the mid 20th century produced.  There is only one size of fingerpick but there are different weights. Thumb Picks are another matter. Most are made of plastic. Don't buy the metal ones.  There are many sizes. Select one that fits tightly.  I have used Dunlop, Golden Gate, and other brands. Almost any brand of steel string will do but avoid coated strings. They are pre-dead right out of the package.  In my opinion a Paragon sounds better with nylon than with steel but if using steel I would go with fairly light strings for that model banjo.  Vega, Gibson, D'Addario, GHS, are a few good brands of steel banjo strings. 
thereallyniceman said:

Hi Jody,

I have NEVER played with finger picks.. could you suggest what make I should consider buying and how to select the correct size, and also maybe which make of steel string please?  Any other tips would be appreciated. I may string up my C.E. Paragon and have a practice on that.

Back in 2006, I attended the Nashville Banjo Camp. Jody's friend Bill Evans and Tony Trischka were headliners. They wanted to do some historical stuff during the evening show but neither could bring the appropriate banjos. I supplied both a Minstrel banjo and my Flesher open-back set up with Sands Heavy nylon strings. As I recall, Bill played some minstrel standards and then played an 1870's version of "Home Sweet Home and Variations" on my Flesher. Very cool stuff.

Tony went completely whacko on my Flesher later on, playing some amazing jazz stuff. He simply wanted to play a nylon string banjo and you could tell he was having a lot of fun with it. He's written some "modern classic" stuff...including a song about the era:

And this one...

Ian , start with Dunlop 013  'picks  , and  increase  Following  your progress 015 ; 018 ; 020 ; 0225 ;025

if you start with the heavy gauge ,  it will not work

thumb : plastic pick

I found that light picks are the ones that don't work. They produce a poor sound.  The titanium picks are interesting in that the thicker ones are still lightweight and bring out good sound. They are so light it is almost like wearing no picks at all.  

marc dalmasso said:

Ian , start with Dunlop 013  'picks  , and  increase  Following  your progress 015 ; 018 ; 020 ; 0225 ;025

if you start with the heavy gauge ,  it will not work

thumb : plastic pick

yes , you 're right , Jody ; i play with 025

but , for Ian  , coming from CB classic style , it will be easier to start playing  with 013 or 015   ; and he will have just to  hard the gauge of the picks once he took the habit

I still have the very first metal picks I ever bought. Dunlop .020. Never lost 'em, never liked anything else. I stepped on my original heavy Dunlop thumbpick...something made me try a really flexible (and hot pink) Ernie Ball thumbpick...I loved it and still keep a couple in my BG banjo cases.

Whatever you select for metal fingerpicks, you need to spend a good bit of time bending them to suit your fingertip attack. With your 'segs', Ian, I would probably start by bending the pick blade to follow the contour of the end of your finger. Mine do that and end up almost perpendicular to my fingernail. Then, I twist mine to compensate for my natural finger-to-string angle. I make sure the blade of the pick hits the strings squarely in the middle, not around the edges.

Thank you gentlemen! I have a plan to buy a "new" banjo to play exclusively with picks, but it will be a few weeks yet before I can do a deal.

I have ordered the 013 Dunlops as suggested by Marc D (I can always go heavier!). I like the ideal of Titanium ones but I don't think that I could bring myself to wear Marc's pink, girly, thumb picks as they may clash with my nail polish colour ;-) ...  but time will tell!

As I have never worn them before could someone please post a pic of the metal tip ends that pick the string please. Do they have a "hook" at the end to pick the string or are they just bent round the finger tip like Marc S's photo shows.

Sorry to sound like a real beginner...  but I am ;-)

It's really helped me to trim the paddle end of the thumbpick so it doesn't stick out so far.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2018   Created by thereallyniceman.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service