The Irish Tenor Banjo!

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  • Dave Reynolds

    I started learning banjo this past September. I have a question for those of you who have been working at it for a longer timer. Have you developed any bad habits that you wish you had caught when you were starting to play? What sage advice would you want to share with a beginner?

  • Lanny Fields

    "Have you developed any bad habits that you wish you had caught when you were starting to play? What sage advice would you want to share with a beginner?"

    Three things:

    1) Concentrate on your "down-up-down" pickstrokes, etc.  What notes should be downstrokes vs. upstrokes with the pick and be diligent in duplicating this.  Once you know how it should be done then you can purposefully break the rules, but don't do it out of ignorance.

    2) Really think about your fingering technique through difficult sections of tunes.  The longer scale length of the banjo makes reaching for that high B a bit more challenging than on a fiddle or mandolin and that can present problems. Sometimes there are more efficient (or less efficient) routes through tunes like Musical Priest, for example, and fine tuning and clearly understanding the route rather than glazing over it will help.

    3). Relax. Never be tense. Always make sure that your posture, attitude, grip, fretting is as natural as can be.  You want your subliminal mind to think that when you are holding your instrument it is the greatest thing in the world. Playing should be fun. Not a chore.  That said, there are ways to practice technique/scales etc. while keeping it fun.

  • Dick Glasgow

    This is a live recording, with a cheap Cassette Recorder, of Kieran Hanrahan playing his 4 tunes at the Over 18 Tenor Banjo competition at the All Ireland Fleadh in Ennis, in 1977. ... & yes, he Won!

    Kieran Hanrahan ~ All Ireland Fleadh 1977! 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRn6ebyRq8Y