Creek Don't Rise

How to Play the Banjo Wrong
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Author:  paulrace [ Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  How to Play the Banjo Wrong

Just an editorial response to a number of negative posts I've seen on another forum.

Here is the list I've come up with so far:

Try to pick it with an axe, chainsaw, or blowtorch.
Use it as a canoe paddle.
Blow in one end like a woodwind.
Juggle banjos blindfolded.

For the full article, click here: ... _wrong.htm

Author:  paulrace [ Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to Play the Banjo Wrong

Just added a blog entry, based on new information I've recently discovered about old ways of picking the banjo:

Will the one "right way" to play the 5-string banjo please stand up? ... -stand-up/

Author:  paulrace [ Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to Play the Banjo Wrong

While painting the kitchen last weekend, I played most of a 6-CD set that was supposed to be classic folk music. I hoped it would get me "in the zone" for the old-timey banjo gig I'm doing this Saturday. Actually, only about half of the songs were the kind of Folk or "Folk Revival" I was looking for. But among those, it was interesting to hear all of the different styles of banjo that were being played. Remember, this is before Scruggs-style was known outside of the Grand Ol' Opry and related venues. I expected to hear a lot of frailing and clawhammer, but there were also 4-string banjos, both arpeggiated, Irish-style, and strummed, Ragtime style. Among 5-string players there were several distinct picking patterns, including at least one (maybe two) that I've never heard anywhere else. It seemed like every Folk Revival band (up until about Peter, Paul, and Mary) was expected to have a banjo, but how that banjo was used was totally optional. Within that collection at least, the variety of different banjo playing/picking styles was far greater than the variety of different guitar playing styles. And some bigger groups, like the New Christy Minstrels had at least two banjos which were played in two different styles. If time ever permits, I should go back and sort the songs out by the various banjo styles used. But it sure makes liars out of the folks who say that Scruggs-picking and clawhammer are the only "authentic" banjo styles ever played. I thought I was remembering things differently; now I know I was.

Author:  paulrace [ Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to Play the Banjo Wrong

Just heard Zeppelin's "Gallows Pole" on the radio. Didn't realize that a banjo comes in about the third verse and pretty much sticks around until the end of the song. Seems to be mostly flatpicked arpeggios, which is a common traditional UK style. There is some online argument about whether it was Page or JPJ. It's fun either way.

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