A Site Dedicated to all enthusiasts of Classic Style Banjo
About five years ago I bought a mandolin Kept up the practice and we got on fine together.Learned some swing and jazzy things .Then three years ago brother in law gave me a kay banjo said if I could get it up and running I could have it . I started to learn bluegrass style . A year later I Thought there must be a better style than this as it was not for me. Then found classic banjo and never looked back.The mandolin took its toll.The point I am making I love both these instruments Its taken me five years of going back and fro . then a few months ago I sat down and gave my self a good talking to , and decided its all about discipline . And at last I can practice both at set times. As before I could not multi task and now I can. The wife seems to differ. Any body else out there had this problem .
Short answer: YES!
I started out on 5-string BG style, took up CH style while still taking BG lessons. Bought a cheap mandolin when I got interested in Irish style fiddle music...and then bought a Tenor banjo (and a mandola and a guitar). Then I bought a Hammered dulcimer...which was simply pushing my brain too far, so I sold it.
In '92, I 'discovered' Classic style and took that up. At the same time I started investigating the earliest banjo styles and got into that (minstrel/stroke style).
2010, I discovered a plectrum banjoist playing locally and started taking lessons (dixieland, jazz, etc.) He moved away and I just put the PB away.
2013, I took the entire year off of practicing the banjo and took up the Cello. Once again...it was too much, so I took the rental Cello back and got back to the banjo. I really love classical music and playing in an ensemble was amazing. I may go back to it...
I used to worry about never getting "good" on any particular instrument...but I've never really been interesting in playing in a band or on stage. I simply enjoy learning and making music. I love having a stable of different instruments to mess about with...
Mutli-tasking is playing mandolin and banjo at once. No one can do that. But anyone can play and practice them sequentially.
A string is a string is a string. The same strings that go on a steel strung guitar go on a mandolin. The same soft strings that go on a classic banjo go on a uke. They are cut to different lengths, that's all. When on an instrument their pitch goes up or down by altering the length, tension, or diameter. A plectrum goes both up and down. A finger goes up and a thumb goes down. I don't see the problem. Most string musicians are multi-instrumentalists. I know hundreds of string musicians and not one of em plays only one instrument, although many play only one in public.
On the other hand there are some instruments that are simply not compatible with certain people and vice versa. I am useless on buzuq or sitar. Pedal steel? Not a hope. Sometimes one likes to listen to an instrument but simply has no aptitude. I love the sound of clarinet and flute. I can't do it. I have no aptitude. Neither can I play a concertina. I cannot play the piano. Then there is the question of how much does one love an instrument. I could be an excellent double bass player but I don't love it enough.
"Discipline" is such a disagreeable word. If I had to practice because it is my duty, I would avoid it. But in fact I practice hours daily (which my computer spellchecker keeps changing to *delay*…the opposite of what I mean! ) Pretty much whenever I have a spare moment. 2 or 3 uninterrupted hours is wonderful but daily life gives few such days. On busy days I use whatever 10 minute intervals are available.
In my opinion music making should be entirely voluntary. Do it 'cause you want it. If you don't want it don't do it. Voila: no problem.
BTW, bluegrass on a Kay is not for *anybody*. It's the wrong tool for the job.