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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:40 am 
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Here's a link to the first article I wrote on the subject. Spoiler alert: despite modern, false, advertising that a six-string banjo will turn any guitar player into a banjo player overnight, the 6-string banjo IS a real, historic instrument with its own uses and peculiarities.

http://www.creekdontrise.com/acoustic/s ... string.htm


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:49 am 
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I bought my first 6-string banjo in January, 2012. Since then I have bought two more, a cheapo (Rogue) for the beach and an electric/acoustic Dean Backwoods 6 to replace my original "pop-top" Backwoods 6. Recently, I was looking at "free online lessons," etc. to recommend from this site for banjo. Some of the 5-string materials are interesting. But I noticed that EVERY TIME someone mentioned 6 string banjo, they fell all over themselves explaining that the 6-string banjo is REALLY a funny-shaped guitar. Despite the fact that it is a historical banjo format, looks like a banjo and sounds like a banjo, unless you play it like a guitar, in which case it will most likely sound like %^&*()*&^%.

Sorry, I just had to say something. I'm on my third six-string banjo now and learning new things I can do with it every time I get it out of the case, which isn't often enough. I've also had fun going back and forth between my 6-string and my 5-string, trying to play the same songs and seeing what accommodations I have to make. I've even figured out a few tricks that carry over better than you would expect them to.

In other words, it's still a real banjo.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:59 am 
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Just got a reply to one of my comments on another forum. I had objected to the use of silly names like "banjitar" to refer to Six-String Banjo. Here's the response:

------------------------------------


I just read your review about the new 6 string banjo you bought.

You might be interested to know that the term "banjitar" is the commonly accepted term in banjo circles to describe a 6 string banjo that's strung like a guitar and has been around for a long time.

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My objection to such names (including "git-jo" and others) is that they trivialize the 6-string banjo's history as an instrument in its own right and reinforce the opinion (held by a wide range of uninformed people who play guitar OR 5-string) that the six-string banjo is nothing but a toy for guitar players who don't want to learn another instrument. It's a banjo in its own right, and has been for over a century.

BTW, when guitar players buy tenor (4-string) banjos and tune them like the highest four strings of a guitar (EBGD), they call it "Chicago tuning," not "guit-tenors" or something stupid like that. 4-string banjos that are tuned like cellos (ADGC) are called "Tenor banjos," not "Cell-jos." If you tune a 4-string banjo like an octave mandolin (EADG), it's an "Irish Tenor," not a "man-jo."

On top of that, when 1920s Jazz banjo players started needing to double on guitar and they ordered four-string guitars and tuned them like Tenor Banjos (ADGC), they called them "Tenor Guitars," not "Ten-guits" or ?????

Why should a classic (if rare before 1980) instrument that is ALL banjo get stuck with a name that makes it sound like some sort of hybrid or toy for the lazy?

My Deering D-6, by the way is ALL banjo, including a banjo-length neck and the same tone ring, flange, pot, and resonator as the Deering Deluxe. Other banjo manufacturers have let their 5-string customers intimidate them into using silly names for their 6-strings. To me that says a lot about their attitude toward their 6-strings. If they can't even bring themselves to call them banjos, I don't want one. Sorry. Flame off. :-)


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 8:58 am 
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P.S. I picked up a rescue "Davison" six-string banjo at a pawn shop. When I got it home, I realized it was made by Jameson, who made the first 6-string banjo I ever tried and was a real piece of . . . . . . . .

This one seems like it can be made playable. I've done some adjusting, etc. My plan is to use it backless as a travel guitar, because it has a guitar scale and isn't hard to drag around with my backless standard-model 5-string Goodtime. I've done some adjusting and need to do some more. My biggest complaint is the round neck, recalling 50s Harmony guitars that used big bulky necks to compensate for the fact that the cheap wood they used would otherwise be prone to warping. If you have small hands, this banjo is not for you.

That said, it has a guitar-WIDTH neck, unlike the Rogue 6-string, which - except for that - has a better neck shape. The Rogue's neck is just too narrow for anyone not used to playing mandolin or some such. I could play chords on it, but fingerstyle was out of the question.

Once the Davison is playable, I should be able to keep practiced up on my fingerstyle guitar techniques, even if they'll never sound as good on this thing. BTW, without the resonator it's MUCH quieter than my other backless banjos, which makes very little sense, unless the pot is also made of inferior wood. So if it works out for me otherwise, I may research aftermarket tone rings; maybe even a home-made one with a bent brass rod or some such. No photos yet, sorry.


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 9:23 am 
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BTW, I just saw Keith Urban playing his Deering B-6 (Boston model) on Ellen. (May 12, 2016; no one has posted it on YouTube yet.)

When he plays chords, he doesn't play too loud. In fact, I couldn't hear his banjo when he was playing chords - the FOH guy may turn him down. It looks like he may be flatpicking a bum-ditty pattern, but it's hard to tell without hearing it. When he plays lead on the thing, though, he is NOT SHY about using the gutsy sounds of the low strings. Another example of how an accomplished lead player can get that thing to "kick butt" on solos.

BTW, the B-6 is Deering's cheapest professional 6-string banjo. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the D-6, but it doesn't need them - it's plenty loud and plays like a dream.

In case you wondered. Here's a link to the thing on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Deering-Boston-6- ... 1c16fc957f

If you want to see the electric-acoustic version that Keith is using click here: http://www.amazon.com/Deering-Boston-6- ... 64018dc2ad

This has the Kavanjo head, which has a custom-made pickup built right into the head. Because they're made by a separate company (and have a list price in the $300 range), they DO add to the cost. That said, if you want an electric/acoustic version, you'll be better off going with one that's factory installed than adding one later. (I know because I'm adding a Kavanjo head to my 5-string Deering Sierra as we speak.)

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about these things: http://www.creekdontrise.com/contact.htm


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 9:24 am 
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I added a video of me playing a Jefferson Airplane song on my Deering D-6 at the end of my article on that refurb. Click on the link and scroll WAY down until you see the old guy holding a banjo in front of a fireplace. :-) This was mostly to show how a combination of fingerstyle and frailing can work on the thing. No, I'm not Keith Urban.

http://creekdontrise.com/acoustic/six_s ... deluxe.htm


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Paul Race playing a banjo. Click to go to Paul's music home page.Whatever else you get out of our pages, I hope you enjoy your music and figure out how to make enjoyable music for those around you as well.

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    - Paul Race Click to see Paul's music home page Click to contact Paul through this page. Click to see Paul's music page on Facebook Click to see Paul's music blog page Click to hear Paul's music on SoundCloud. Click to sign up for the Creek Don't Rise discussion forum. Click to learn about our Momma Don't Low Newsletter. Click to see Paul's Twitter Page Click to see Paul's YouTube Channel.



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