One of the easiest and most dramatic changes you can make to your banjo tone is to change where you pick the strings in relation to the bridge. This holds true for all stringed instruments. The closer to the bridge, the brighter yet thinner sound you will get, while the farther away you move from the bridge, the thicker and warmer tone you will have.
John shows you (in under 40 minutes) how to replace your current banjo head with a customized Kavanjo head, loaded with his patented handwound humbucking pickup.
One of the most important aspects of your banjo set up is the head tension. Changes to your banjo head tension dramatically affect the tone of your banjo. It can also alter the playability of your banjo. Luckily, this is one of the easiest parts of banjo setup to take care of yourself.
When it comes to Irish tenor banjo, it is hard to define exactly what type of banjo that is. Yes, it is a four string tenor banjo. But is it a 17-fret or a 19-fret? Does it have a resonator or is it open back? How is it tuned - standard tenor tuning C, G, D, A or Irish tuning G, D, A, E? After spending years playing and talking to Irish tenor banjo players, going to Irish sessions, even traveling to Ireland to watch and listen, I have determined that there is no exact standard although there are some generalizations.
We are pleased to premier the first track of the upcoming Special Consensus record Rivers and Roads, that features Special C' banjo player, Greg Cahill, on Alison Brown's new Deering Julia Belle banjo! This first song is a John Hartford tune "Way Down the River Road"!
Learn how to properly adjust the action of your banjo via the coordinator rods. Deering's Quality Control Manager Chad Kopotic will take you through this step by step. Adjusting your coordinator rods will keep the string action on your banjo at the correct height which will make playing your banjo easier. It can also keep your banjo sounding new as you want to make sure the pot and the neck have a firm connection and haven't worked their way loose.
Melodic style banjo is a style of 3 finger 5 string banjo playing that was created in the early 1960’s by banjoists such as Bill Keith and Bobby Thompson so that they could play note for note fiddle melodies. While Scruggs style is the most popular style of playing the 5 string banjo and gives great drive to bluegrass playing, this style does have its limitations. Mainly that you cannot play melodies note for note that are very intricate such as fiddle tunes.
Single string playing on the 5 string banjo is a style that was originally popularized by players such as Don Reno and Eddie Adcock. This style of banjo playing, while still utilizing 3 fingers (thumb and 2 fingers) with fingerpicks on them emulates what you play when playing guitar with a flatpick. Players such as Bela Fleck, Noam Pikelny, and Ryan Cavanaugh have taken the single string technique to new levels.
Whether you are new to playing the banjo or you are a seasoned player, when learning new chord shapes you more than likely will be challenged making your fingers move from one chord position to another from time to time. This can be frustrating, but take solace in the fact that it is completely normal. It can sometimes feel like you will never be able to change in time with the music, but by being patient and using some of the following tips, you’ll will soon be making chord changes as smooth as silk.
No matter the genre of music (Western Music as opposed to Eastern music such as Indian), the I, IV, and V chord are the most fundamental and widely used chords. This is especially true in American musical forms as the blues is at the root of most American music and a basic 12 bar blues consists of a I, IV, and a V chord.