Grimshaw Banjo Instructor exercises 1&2

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Comment by HardboiledRosie on June 19, 2015 at 19:30
Waiting for my nylon strings to arrive. Meanwhile, began learning to read and working through the Grimshaw exercises. They're fun.
Comment by thereallyniceman on June 19, 2015 at 20:06

Hi Mara,

Great to see you playing on our site. It seems to be ladies day today with both you and Carrie playing some great Classic Banjo.

The Grimshaw Tutors are excellent and have nice exercise tunes for beginners and advanced players alike. If I have to make one suggestion it is that the pieces are to exercise both fingering and timing. There is much to be said for artistic flair and musical expression, but I think that these tunes should, in the main, have strict timing.

Rob MacKillop adds his own flair,

But Exercise No.1 should be played like this. I have added a metronome so that you can follow the beat:

Exercise 1

If you have a metronome (hateful things!) try the exercises in strict time as it will help your playing as you become more advanced!

Superb performance..please keep them coming !!!


Comment by HardboiledRosie on June 19, 2015 at 20:48

THANK YOU for this recording, Ian. I haven't been able to make much sense of timing in notation yet. I will rework these. Is there any place where the musical versions of the Grimshaw exercises are available for use as reference? Thanks a bunch. Mara

Comment by thereallyniceman on June 20, 2015 at 6:59

It's a pleasure Mara. I have listened to Exercise 2 and you are mainly spot on. If we are sticking to these being timing exercises too you are "dotting" the semiquaver runs slightly.

Listen to this recording at the correct speed and you will hear that the runs should sound as "dah-dah-dah-dah" yours have a slight "dah-di-dah-di".

Exercise 2

I am not normally this pedantic, I just hope that it helps getting your timing spot on!

If we can help in any way please just ask on site, There are many more knowledgeable than me who will be only too pleased to offer their expertise.

Comment by carrie horgan on June 20, 2015 at 8:32

Hi Mara - great to see you posting.  You sound like you already have banjo chops.

I'm not new to banjo either but the transition to classic-style has been challenging as previously I was taught to play-by-ear.  I'm just beginning to make sense of music notation but I find it difficult without having some sense of what it should sound like.  

Those sound files are really helpful, Ian. (p.s. if I had known it was going to be Ladies Day I would have worn a special hat :)

Comment by HardboiledRosie on June 20, 2015 at 23:39

Hi Carrie, yes, I have been playing banjo for sometime now-- but similar to you, always by ear and socially, so reading music was never necessary. I've wanted to learn classic style  for a long time but have been too intimidated by how technical it is! But I think that slowly I will work things out. Looking forward to seeing your hat!

Hi Eric, thanks, by watching your video it sounds like you understanding written music very well. Nice playing.

Hi Ian, thank you for both of those sound files! I find them incredibly helpful, its very generous of you. I reworked them and #3 today and will post.

Comment by HardboiledRosie on June 21, 2015 at 0:28
Comment by thereallyniceman on June 21, 2015 at 10:30

Brilliant stuff. You can feel the bounce in your performance now!

Here is a handy tip I learnt from Joe Morley (well his tutor anyway!)...

In Exercise 1 Bar2  when you jump to play the F on the bass string fret it with your 3rd finger, not your 4th.

Two reasons, one the 3rd finger is stronger and larger for pressing and accurately fretting the string, and secondly this method prevents you playing consecutive notes with the 4th finger on different strings.

Just an idea... others may not agree!


Comment by HardboiledRosie on June 21, 2015 at 15:50

Ah! That makes sense, I will give it a try.

I love Rob Mackillop's performance and interpretation, but the punchiness that the original timing has is one reason why I like classic style. It was great to have your renditions, I am afraid I will be botching the timing signature for a long while yet. Thanks for all your feedback!

Comment by Steve Harrison on June 22, 2015 at 5:42

Hi Mara, maybe some of that punchiness was down to the crude early recording systems which required a certain amount of volume to properly capture the sound. Rob has the benefit of modern technology and can be a lot more expressive in his playing...Steve. 

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