Banjo Ben

New banjo player

Ain't nothin' in the world like a 5-strang banjer...learn more about playing the banjo, and mingle with other like-minded players here!

New banjo player

Postby Joshn569 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:30 pm

I finally got me a banjo! I got the Jameson 5 string off amazon. ive been happy with it so far. seems to be decent quality for the money.

only been playing a few days but I seem to sometimes pick through the strings occasionally making a scratching sound, and I get some buzziness with the metal finger picks quite a bit. any beginner tips to correct that?

anyway just wanted to say hello. Banjo ben has really great material. I have been watching and practicing the rolls and its been really fun.
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Re: New banjo player

Postby 5stringpreacher » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:58 am

Welcome to one of the great addictions known to man. I did (almost) the exact same thing as you 4 years ago. I bought a Fender FB300 off of Amazon to get started.

The scratching sound is sometimes part of the metal picks hitting the metal strings. You can try rotating your picks on your fingers so that they are hitting perpendicular to the strings (Ben talks about that in his picks video: Pickin Your Picks - Part 2 0:55). Also, when your speed picks up, that scratchy sound won't even really be noticeable between the reverberating sound of the banjo strings.

As for the buzzing, there are many issues that could be causing that. Deering Banjos put out a good article regarding that. Here she is: https://www.deeringbanjos.com/blogs/ban ... your-banjo

One thing is to remember that although you have a great banjo that you love, it's really not a quality banjo on par with many others. I think you did the right thing in buying it for your starter banjo, but you'll find that banjo quality really does make a difference.

Have fun!
I pick, therefore I grin.
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Re: New banjo player

Postby Tertom » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:29 pm

I dont know if you had your banjo setup. New banjos need that. It is worth paying a luthier or someplace like guitar center to do that. I had the same issue when i bought my first banjo.
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Re: New banjo player

Postby markrocka » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:03 pm

Welcome to the group!

Sounds like you're just experiencing what we all did when first starting out. I remember hearing the scratch of the picks across the strings, and I even had a problem digging too deep and hitting the head with the ends of my picks for a while.

I've recently learned the importance of finding pick lengths you're comfortable with. I'd been playing National brand thumb picks since I first started, but I never liked the way felt on my thumb after an hour or so of playing. I went with another brand that was much smaller over all, and had a shorter grab length, too. It has been several months and I'm still getting used to that shorter length. I like these picks a lot more. I can play for hours and they don't get uncomfortable. It's just retraining my thumb to travel that extra 1/4 inch after playing with a longer pick for years.

Also highly recommend the above advice to have your banjo properly set up. It doesn't matter how expensive your instrument is, if it's not set up properly, you won't enjoy playing it as much.

Looking forward to learning about your progress.
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Re: New banjo player

Postby Joshn569 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:34 pm

Thanks for the replies. Bens pick video made a huge difference. After forming the pick and wearing them correctly there was a major improvment. I order a few different kinds of picks to try also.

I have been slowly watching and practicing bens basic videos. Im still kind of struggling with boil dem cabbage down foward roll middle lead but im keeping at it.

Ive been practicing a few hours a day. Here is a video I made today of cripple creek.

Feel free to comment or critique whats good and bad. I know i miss a few notes and what not and my timing needs work

https://youtu.be/cjVlIPp4CQ0

phpBB [video]
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Re: New banjo player

Postby mreisz » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:05 am

That sounds like a great start, all the notes are there! I wish I could learn to play Cripple Creek on banjo. I know when I learned it on mando, I played for about a month afterwards. It is even better as a banjo song.
Mike

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Re: New banjo player

Postby markrocka » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:57 pm

Nice job, Josh! It sounds clean and you're not trying to rush anything.

One of the things I wish someone had told me early on is how helpful a metronome is when practicing. I've found it very important to not play too fast while I'm learning, which I have a tendency to do. These days, I either use a metronome, or I import Ben's MP3 files into some audio software that allows me to adjust the playback speed. I'll go down to 50% speed if I have to, then bump it up slowly as things start feeling more natural. I've been known to go up to 110% speed just to make sure that everything is locked in place and feels comfortable at 100%.

You're doing great! Kudos on recording yourself and posting it. Not only does it make you a better player, down the road you'll be able to look back on it and see how far you've come. :)
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Re: New banjo player

Postby WillCoop » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:37 pm

Hi Everyone,

I am a new player from way up in the Enchanted Mitten State of Michigan - Greensky Bluegrass Country.

Been playing my Hollowback Epiphone MB-100 for about a year now. I LIVE music but am newer to Bluegrass... at my 50+ years. I am inspired by Patton Wages playing

Today, I am what you might call the DEEP SOUTH - BRASIL - visiting family... and practicing... or maybe I should just say playing - cuz I enjoy it sooo much!

Ben's site is the best - a Godsend and true companion - when and where I want a lesson - he is there! Can't wait to see the new site layout.

Say... anyone ever try to play Blues yet?
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Re: New banjo player

Postby 5stringpreacher » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:47 am

WillCoop wrote:Hi Everyone,

I am a new player from way up in the Enchanted Mitten State of Michigan - Greensky Bluegrass Country.
...


Welcome to the 2nd greatest addiction ever!

Greensky has come to my hometown a couple of times, and I just haven't been able to make it to one of their concerts yet. I'm hoping to soon.

WillCoop wrote: ...
Say... anyone ever try to play Blues yet?


I've taken a gander at Ben's blues licks lesson and had some fun with it, but I've yet to use it in my playing other than just practicing licks.
I pick, therefore I grin.
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Re: New banjo player

Postby WillCoop » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:28 am

Thanks for the reply 5SP! Good to hear from you.

I have not seen Greensky Bluegrass (GSBG) - yet either... but their latest CD ia sooo good. Check out Merely Avoiding and Living Over. AWESOME
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