One of the most often asked banjo tips I get asked is “Do I have to rest fingers of my picking hand on the head of the banjo?”
You've practiced for a week, and now it's time to add your left hand!
We are asked regularly, is Bluegrass style finger picking more difficult than Clawhammer? Is Clawhammer more difficult than finger picking? Is plectrum/tenor style with a flat pick easier than Bluegrass style finger picking?
New Music Monday! Bringing you Scythian who never fail to get their audience dancing! From their upcoming album "Jump at The Sun" this song is titled Caeli which means "a traditional Gaelic social gathering, which usually involves playing folk music and dancing". Featuring Ben-David Warner on his Eagle II Acoustic-Electric banjo, we hope this gets your toes tapping!
A Brief History
There is great joy in playing the 5-string banjo! Many people have pre-conceived notions that you have to do some fancy fingerpicking to play the 5-string banjo, but this is completely untrue. This type of banjo is traditionally tuned to open G tuning sounds great when strummed as well. Who doesn’t like to strum? It is so relaxing and easy. It is truly my favorite way to play. So, let’s talk about “strum fun” today!
Inspired by the movie “Zombieland” featuring Woody Harrelson whose character at one point uses a banjo to fight off Zombies, Greg Deering created the latest 5-string Goodtime banjo - the Zombie Killer Goodtime banjo. Launched at the 2013 Anaheim NAMM (National Association of Music Merchandisers) Trade Show, the Zombie Killer banjo was a hit with general attendees and dealers alike. With a “blood splatter” resonator finish and a “saw blade-edged” brilliant red flange made with a cut-out zombie-themed pattern to match the fingerboard inlays, the Zombie Killer captures the attention of the audience without even strumming a note.
Learning anything new can be a challenge. In the past I have approached most new songs with excitement and a good dose of trepidation! After all, my banjos skills are modest and that is just being honest. Recently I was sent the music for “Dueling Banjos” that included both the musical notation and tablature for guitar and banjo. Having had requests from customers for this music, I knew it was a great offering for the “more experienced player.” But, what about the beginner...the player who knows where the strings are without looking and can manage a pull-off, slide, and hammer on? These few basic skills are covered in “First Lessons Banjo” by Jack Hatfield , a book I have recommended frequently to new players. Could I even begin to learn “Dueling Banjos” with this basic arsenal of banjo skills? Over this last holiday I gave it a try...