Hi,

So, over the past week and half, i've erased everything that I know about classic banjo and began working from scratch with the Frank Bradbury book from Mel Bay. Well low and behold, my notation reading skills have vastly improved (and i'm only at the Belle of the Ozarks), so here I am conceding defeat.

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Hi David,

There will be no "crowing" that WE are right on here!  Our playing members have all put the hours in and learnt from others and our own experience.  All the shortcuts have all been tried before and the "BEST" method, without doubt for Classic Style has found to be by following notation.  I have tried to warn against reinventing the wheel on numerous occasions....and, of course, I am ALWAYS right ;-)

Keep up the good work and give Grimshaw's book a chance again, if only for the music as Jody mentioned.

Bradbury's book is indeed very good or even the best for learning to read staff notation for the 5 string banjo. My judgement is based on empirical evidence.

Hi David. 

I feel like I'm following in your footsteps, trying to learn to play classic banjo, so, I appreciate your posts. (I picked up a place that I was playing a C instead of a B in Pink Lemonade by listening to your video, so thanks for that!)

The Frank Bradbury book from Mel Bay. Is that the same as the Modern Method for Banjo that I see in the Tutor Books section? I just skimmed through it and noticed that there seems to be a lot of places where right-hand finger choices are indicated. I feel like I need that right now -- to build good intuitive habits -- so, thanks for the mention. I'll be printing it out.

Had a funny experience yesterday. I sat down with a book of tab that I acquired a while back and I found myself LONGING for notation. I think that's progress!

Cyndy

Funny you say that. I also looked at some pieces that I tabbed out, and thought that it looked strange. I'm not sure if its the same, but I'm sure that our in-house banjo historians will be able to tell us. I don't own a printer and I was tired of looking at screens, so I purchased a used copy of this one on Amazon for a $8 Canadian (shipping included), which is literally just a small chunk of change in US Dollars and UK Pounds. https://www.melbay.com/Products/93238/banjo-method.aspx

Rob Mackillop has recorded most of the pieces, which gives me ear reference : https://robmackillop.net/bradbury-studies/

You are also the first person in history to say that a recording of mine helped you in any way, so you have officially made my day awesome

Cyndy Richardson said:

Hi David. 

I feel like I'm following in your footsteps, trying to learn to play classic banjo, so, I appreciate your posts. (I picked up a place that I was playing a C instead of a B in Pink Lemonade by listening to your video, so thanks for that!)

The Frank Bradbury book from Mel Bay. Is that the same as the Modern Method for Banjo that I see in the Tutor Books section? I just skimmed through it and noticed that there seems to be a lot of places where right-hand finger choices are indicated. I feel like I need that right now -- to build good intuitive habits -- so, thanks for the mention. I'll be printing it out.

Had a funny experience yesterday. I sat down with a book of tab that I acquired a while back and I found myself LONGING for notation. I think that's progress!

Cyndy

Just checking out the MacKillop recordings now. Sounds like a very helpful resource. I'd be happy to play like that! :) Thanks!

Hi Cyndy,

I have been watching your excellent progress and see that you have certainly been "putting the hours in"! 

At the risk of repeating myself... but I will take that risk... learning "alternate fingering" is another important key to classic banjo playing.  When starting off beginners often find it easy to repeat pick of consecutive notes with the same finger of the right hand.  This all seems fine until you become more advanced and attempting to repeat pick may become very difficult, or even impossible to do at any speed!

If possible the fingers of the R Hand should alternate (when possible). There are exceptions of course as in using the thumb to play bass melodies.

There is one exercise which I always recommend to help make alternating become automatic.

I know people may "pooh pooh" repeating exercises ad nauseam, but this one, to me, is the exception. I play it 10 to 20 times a day...EVERY day when I am practising !!!   I have committed it to memory and the fingers play automatically..BUT this is all alternated and I find that when I get a new piece that will not alternate I know that there must be a better way to play it !  This may mean getting one or more of the notes at a different string or position until it "feel and flows" right!

I have added it for download:      ALTERNATE FINGERING

Carefully read the score notation for the Left hand and especially for the RIGHT hand picking fingers and play the notes on the correct strings.  When you can play this without a thought you will have learnt the value of "Alternate Fingering" without even realising!

Now of course there are those who will say :  "What does he know", well don't take my word for it.

Here is Fred Van Eps, probably the greatest Classic Style player of all time, from a 1952 interview talking about the "natural rotation" of the fingers.  i.e. alternate fingering!

FRED VAN EPS ON ALTERNATING THE FINGERS

When you can play 14 notes a second let me know.

Here is a recording that I made of Banjo Jubilee. No tab involved :)



DAVID CARON BANJO
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I believe it's okay to repeat yourself all you want. :) Just be careful not to repeat the index, middle, or thumb in places where they should not be repeated, right?!

Seriously, I know it's really important and I'm committed to doing what I can to learn to embrace it.

I have been putting in some practice time, in part because some of these tunes are just really hard to put down. :)

Cyndy

thereallyniceman said:

At the risk of repeating myself... but I will take that risk... learning "alternate fingering" is another important key to classic banjo playing. 

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