Ok, I have watched this video many times and I am interested in this groups thoughts before I comment.

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No sarcasm was perceived. I missed it entirely. Yes, Charlie Poole's approach is similar to classic. Kind of a damaged classic technique. But he's not particularly typical of old time finger-picking. By that I mean that while there's not much difference between how the fingers of the right hand have contacted the strings other than vellum contact or not, what is done musically has varied tremendously as has left hand patterns. Dock Boggs, Marian Underwood, Pete Steele, Charlie Poole, etc all have different ideas of what constitutes banjo music and the differences are more than than technical. I've been trying to say that there's so much variety that there's no way to honestly label anything as "typical". What is it exactly that you are skeptical about? I understand that you are skeptical that what is represented as period music by historical re-creationists and as always I applaud your skepticism, although I may not endorse it in *every* instance. But beyond that I really don't recognize the target of your skepticism.

In the world of bluegrass the typical tuning is an open G chord, i.e. "elevated bass". This is just about universal so Kinney Rorer is saying that Poole's tuning (which is the same as classic standard tuning) is "different". And so it is. He is addressing those for whom Elevated Bass is standard.

Yes, "Country" music is now rock with silly hats, Rock with the drums mixed louder. "Country" has become a demographic code word. It's used in the Recording Industry to indicate that the recordings are likely to be purchased by teenaged white males. As opposed to another category called "urban" which at one point was aimed at teenaged black males, but now has a white market, and which supplanted an early (commercial) category called Rhythm and Blues, which was Biz Code for "these records are expected to be purchased by black females between the ages of 12 and 22".

By no means should you keep your mouth shut nor your keyboard inactive. I just didn't know what you meant. As for pedigree, *my* old time banjo music has no pedigree whatever, it is utterly mongrel and I'm happy with that state of affairs and at present don't feel defensive because I don't feel attacked.

What else? Oh yes, the guitar patterns in the printed tutor are for the most part a good deal simpler than what was played on guitar or fingerpicked banjo by vernacular musicians in the rural south and areas beyond. Whoops gotta go....

Merry Christmas, best wishes,
Jody

deuceswilde said:
Sorry about the sarcasm. I admit that I am skeptical, but I would like to understand the difference.
Charlie Poole's approach looks like it could have come from any of the classic tutors. Of course there are many things that he does differently I don't understand.
In the description he says that it uses a "different tuning" (standard) with a lot of barre chords and tremolo.

So that is a grand total of one classic old time banjo player.

Perhaps I am looking for a certain pattern of skill. Is it the style of music itself and not the M.O. that makes it old time?

Similar to modern country and western that is rock and roll with silly hats and accents, classic banjo on the porch with old timey sounding songs is old time?

There is no doubt that banjo styles have evolved into many different forms.

I guess I should just keep my mouth (keyboard) to myself. I forget how sensitive this subject is and how defensive folks can get about the pedigree of their banjo playing style.

Basic patterns of guitar style accompaniment:


yes this is old-time southern country music. Old-time music is a folk word for folk music. As to what constitutes old-time music, it's a lot of things including repertoire, attitude, where the downbeat is perceived, a set of rhythmic and harmonic assumptions, etc. As for technique, that was borrowed from classic banjo which was borrowed from folk banjo which was borrowed from the folk banjo from the next county which was borrowed from classic banjo which was borrowed from folk guitar which was borrowed from folk banjo which was borrowed from Africa which was borrowed from Asia which was borrowed from Africa which was borrowed from Europe which was borrowed from Asia which was borrowed from Africa which was borrowed from America which was borrowed from Africa which was borrowed from England which was borrowed from America which was borrowed from England which was borrowed from Persia and France. And so it goes.



deuceswilde said:
Does this qualify as old time banjo also?


He could vary well pass for the model of this cut.

um how 'bout this? : classic banjo is old time finger-style banjo without brain damage.

deuceswilde said:
S Is it the style of music itself and not the M.O. that makes it old time?

"So that is a grand total of one classic old time banjo player."

As I said earlier: Look up "Lifus Gibson" on a record called "The Library of Congress Banjo Collection" and Ernest Helton's "Royal Clog". Also, check out Frank Jenkins' playing; in a band format he played a flat-chording style vaguely akin to Charlie Poole's, he also recorded two banjo solos: "Home Sweet Home" and "Baptist Shout".
I'm a late-comer to the thread, but can I just add the comment that Rob Murch and I made when we introduced the classic banjo workshop at Whitby Folk Festival this year viz "....this style of playing has nothing to do with Folk Music" .
David Wade said:
I'm a late-comer to the thread, but can I just add the comment that Rob Murch and I made when we introduced the classic banjo workshop at Whitby Folk Festival this year viz "....this style of playing has nothing to do with Folk Music" .

We should probably spin this off into a new discussion, David, but you raise an interesting point.

Rob is of course correct that Classic style (as opposed to the three finger old-time style in the clip) has at heart nothing to do with the folk process. It was commercially produced and communicated via dots for one thing.

However as a folkie I feel that these days the style has a home in folk music. I run Walthamstow Folk Club and I find no problem in booking the likes of Rob or Elias Sibley.

Its a bit like Music Hall in that it wasn't anything like folk music in it's day but in 2010 it has become a specialised and non commercial amateur genre which really sits quite happily in the definition of folk music, or certainly within the booking remit of a folk venue.

Folk clubs make a great forum to promote the music and I'd encourage any Classic player to investigate their local.

In fact hang on and I'll start a new discussion for this one!
I agree that the *repertoire * has nothing to do with traditional folk music of the eastern side of the Atlantic. If by "style" technique is what is meant then the evidence suggests that classic banjo has *something* to do with folk music. But not with English folk music! Think it through and you'll see what I mean. But the culture of classic banjo in Britain is very similar to the culture of early bluegrass banjo in America. Bluegrass started as a commercial product but became a vernacular (folk) music with its own unique culture.

David Wade said:
I'm a late-comer to the thread, but can I just add the comment that Rob Murch and I made when we introduced the classic banjo workshop at Whitby Folk Festival this year viz "....this style of playing has nothing to do with Folk Music" .

I thought I'd revisit this discussion from a few years ago.


A little while back I ran across a outtakes reel of the "Dogget's Gap" film.

http://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A29155

At the end of the film they show a close up of one of the banjoists.  The way his fingers react on the strings tell me that he is playing on gut.  He also has a pretty high end banjo.

It has been slow here (on the site) and I thought I'd share.  I found the outtakes to be interesting.

I'd say it's possible but inconclusive. The sound of the closeup section does seem to be consistent with gut. By the time this film was made steel strings were easily available and less expensive than gut. Bascom Lunsford, who is playing fiddle here and directing the proceedings was a well-to-do lawyer.  He played banjo more often than fiddle. If the banjo in the closeup was *his* banjo, being played by another musician,  a high end model and gut strings would be easily plausible. 

Joel Hooks said:

I thought I'd revisit this discussion from a few years ago.


A little while back I ran across a outtakes reel of the "Dogget's Gap" film.

http://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A29155

At the end of the film they show a close up of one of the banjoists.  The way his fingers react on the strings tell me that he is playing on gut.  He also has a pretty high end banjo.

It has been slow here (on the site) and I thought I'd share.  I found the outtakes to be interesting.

He's definitely playing gut on a nice Vega (Senator?).  Bascom Lunsford was like Henry Ford... promoting "old-time" white working class nostalgia music for all of the wrong reasons.  

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