A Site Dedicated to all enthusiasts of Classic Style Banjo
Study Schedule for Week 1
Exercises for learning to read the notes: 1
Chords and exercises in C Major: 1
The Yodler; Amusement Waltz
Weidt in C TUTOR
I'm not always online. :) I was actually just playing the tunes with the music open on the computer in front of me.
It's a right-hand thing--open or fretted. I'm getting a noise that comes from the flesh of the finger scraping a bit before it plucks ... which I suspect is poor technique. I've just discovered that if I feel the string under the finger first (kind of like the thumb on the 5th string for clawhammer but not) then I get a cleaner sound.
I have LaBella nylon strings at the moment. I'm very new to this, so I'm open to suggestions.
I have nylgut on a Prust banjo that I play clawhammer once in a while and with those strings I get a terrible 5th string squeak sometimes -- but that's different than what I described above.
Yes, your right index and middle fingers should be touching the strings they will pluck before the upstroke is made. Don't pull the string outward (as if you wanted to lift the string from the bridge). A rest stroke is ok at slow speed (the index for instance plays the first string and finds itself resting under the second string.
If you are used to playing clawhammer, as I am, you will be expecting a fair amount of resistance or push-back from the strings with each stroke. LaBella is a good quality string but the gauges are light. With a long scale banjo (27 inches or more from nut to bridge) the strings won't feel slack, but any shorter and the low tension of this banjo set will take some getting used to. I wonder if that is a contributing factor to the noise.
Well, the one thing I've learned this week is that a week is very short. :)
I've worked fairly hard on The Yodler and Amusement Waltz but they're not as solid as I'd like them to be. I'm finding it surprisingly hard to remember them accurately and I think, in part, it's because the right hand is new.
I've made it a goal to record regularly and tonight my focus was The Yodler. I see two obvious things to work on in the coming weeks: 1) dynamics, and 2) keeping the right-hand ring finger from shuffling about on the head. I think that was the source of some of the noise I hear earlier in the week--but not all. I've definitely changed the way I pluck the strings to use a sharper attack than I was before.
A small comment and a big one.
Small: you are plucking the strings at the spot where clawhammer strokes usually sound best. For this new technique you are learning you need to be a lot nearer to the bridge. The strings will resist more and it will feel good and sound more distinct and louder without you having to use more muscle.
Big: The Yodler is a waltz. You are playing it at nearly double tempo. It doesn't make a lot of musical sense so fast. No wonder you can't remember it well. If you set a metronome at 120 and play *each note* in time with the beats that would not be too slow to get a feel for the tune. It could go as fast as 152 and still be a waltz. You are playing each note at 218! The dancers have all tripped or crashed into each other and are lying in a pile on the floor. Playing this classic banjo is going to be much easier than you thought when done at at the right speed.
Somehow my comment on your video appeared above it instead of below.!
I'm laughing because, actually, as I played this week, I tried to picture myself dancing to the piece and, yeah, I don't want to be responsible for the dance disaster described above! :) Seriously, phrasing would be easier slower, too, and -- point gratefully taken! I've experimented with moving the right hand back toward the bridge and I'll make it a point now. Good first week. Onward!
Splendid! You understood my post. And now my comment that appeared above now appears below. Ning also has a sense of humor I guess.
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