Banjo Ben

Bluesy Backup

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Bluesy Backup

Postby skunk » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:45 am

I started working on Ben's Man of Constant Sorrow break and figured I should also learn the Bluesy Backup which would seem to go along with it:
https://www.banjobenclark.com/videos/250/banjo-bluesy-backup/

Man is it tough for me to bar the 2nd and 3rd strings at the 3rd fret. Just something about flattening that pointer finger out while keeping my ring finger arched. I'm sure I'll get it with enough practice / muscle building but it's a little frustrating.

Has anyone else worked on this? Just wondering if others have tips other than just keep working at it :lol:

BTW, I also noticed that Ben's tab for Man of Constant Sorrow is missing the D chord designation on measures 8, 9, and again on 18, 19... Or at least I'm pretty sure it is -- I think it should be a repeating pattern of 1111 4455 11
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skunk
 
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Re: Bluesy Backup

Postby bluenote23 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:03 pm

I think you are a guitar player so do you hold the banjo neck like a guitar neck, with your thumb up against the middle of the back of the neck?

I have found that holding the banjo like this (some do, some don't; Ben doesn't) makes it difficult to play some banjo figures.

I sort of cradle (but not exactly) the neck in the 'U' between my thumb and index finger. You're not grabbing the neck but if you place it like that, with your thumb sticking up (sometimes) over the side of the neck, you'll get to where it feels right.

Man of Constant Sorrow is G min. But yes, you should add a D min in those bars.
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Re: Bluesy Backup

Postby skunk » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:21 pm

I only consider myself a banjo player. I do own a guitar and mess with it sometimes but haven't given it nearly as much attention as the banjo.

However, I do hold my thumb pressed against the middle of the back of the neck usually. If I were to hold it in more of a cradle fashion as you describe, I think I would deaden many strings. Sometimes I struggle as it is to make certain chord shapes sound clean. However, with regular (daily) practice the last few weeks, I've gotten much better at the X (D shape) position. Previously, I had a lot of trouble with that versus the Y (F shape).

I've been working on the "Bluesy Backup" a bit every day and I can see myself getting a little better each time. My hand does ache after... Gotta build those muscles I guess.
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