Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I thought it might be fun to do a little introduction to Guitar Style of play. Even though Stroke is the most discussed version of play here, both styles were common and we might want to look at it. Does anyone use this....and do you integrate it into your playing?

Views: 1001

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Anyway, this is pretty primitive stuff. Just pick the notes. I think much of the thought and advice follows the thinking of the day, such as Charlie Converse in his 1855 guitar book.

Well, all I can say so far is that this is a lot harder then it looks to be.

And it's instructive to me that something that seems so simple to me seems near insurmountable to Lee, who is master of my obstacle.

I also agree with Tim.  Essentially, just do it, this isn't virtuoso material.

Well, I guess it is all in your perspective. It just seems like, with a whole extra finger to use, it should be easy. Anyhow, thanks to Tim for suggesting it. I've known I should get started on fingerstyle, but I wasn't sure how to begin.

I guess as long as you find the exposure valuable, it is worth looking at. Maybe not today, but at least you know more about it.

Sometimes an extra finger just gets in the way, though!  I find it very difficult to do a classic 3-finger arpeggio, even though I use my ring finger for guitar chords all the time.
 
Leonidas (Lee) Jones said:

Well, I guess it is all in your perspective. It just seems like, with a whole extra finger to use, it should be easy. Anyhow, thanks to Tim for suggesting it. I've known I should get started on fingerstyle, but I wasn't sure how to begin.

In classic (guitar style) banjo the ring finger is rarely used.  It's primarily just thumb, index, and middle finger.  I'd also be hesitant to just have at it as some have suggested in this thread, citing the "simplicity" of the music.  There are period conventions for playing in this manner and I personally feel like they should be observed.  I highly recommend that anyone interested in playing guitar style banjo join the Classic banjo ning.

As for questions about its difficulty, I think guitar style is generally just as easy as stroke style.  I find both to be really easy coming from a heavy metal and shred guitar background.  With guitar style banjo, the challenge is really in the difficulty of the piece itself.  Some of the more complicated pieces are very challenging to play, but I think the technique overall isn't difficult to learn.  Just stick with it and it will become second nature.


Christopher Stetson said:

Sometimes an extra finger just gets in the way, though!  I find it very difficult to do a classic 3-finger arpeggio, even though I use my ring finger for guitar chords all the time.
 
Leonidas (Lee) Jones said:

Well, I guess it is all in your perspective. It just seems like, with a whole extra finger to use, it should be easy. Anyhow, thanks to Tim for suggesting it. I've known I should get started on fingerstyle, but I wasn't sure how to begin.

John....the early stuff IS simple, it DOES use the 3rd finger, and follows many of the conventions of classical guitar. This evolved into classic banjo, but I do believe this is the perios where we see experimentation and evolution. You are correct...go to Classic Banjo Ning for the right way to play this established style. Stay here for exploring the beginnings and crossover material.

I wasn't aware you meant the REALLY early stuff.  The thread just seemed to be about learning guitar style, which is also another name for fingerstyle or classic style playing.

Tim Twiss said:

John....the early stuff IS simple, it DOES use the 3rd finger, and follows many of the conventions of classical guitar. This evolved into classic banjo, but I do believe this is the perios where we see experimentation and evolution. You are correct...go to Classic Banjo Ning for the right way to play this established style. Stay here for exploring the beginnings and crossover material.

NP John. What falls within this forum would be the early stuff, which may need definition anyway. Anything before the printed page may be speculation, so if we look at Buckley 1860 and 1868, we can clearly see the emergence of the style. In Converse 1865, it is written, described, and given repertoire.  Here, it is springboarded from Classical Guitar techniques available used at that time, and in the more "popular" type such as the Charlie Converse guitar book of 1855. You really need to explore and try the repertoire to decide what works best. At one point , Rob McGillop stretched a point and showed us the entire Briggs Book in fingerstyle. Although it can be done in this manner, it was certainly not the intent of the Briggs' book to play that way. Perhaps ( and most possibly ) that style was in vogue, as it is mentioned numerous times...the great G. Swaine Buckley being one of them in the 1850's. Speculating and experimenting with the Buckley book is  great sport. I hope we can try them and see. I have already done most of them both ways. My most recent trip through the 1868 has made it one step more obvious what was intended for fingerstyle. Indeed, the early stuff is quite simple, being an extension of guitar playing. We watch the growth of repertoire and see what is happening in Converse's and other's work as we make our way in to the 1870's.  

   I think those that actually play Classic banjo can see the birth of the style in this early work. My personal fascination is trying to see where frets and fingerstyle became the norm in the repertoire......

I agree about the emergence of the style in those earlier works.  As for frets, there was definitely an abundance of flush fret banjos in the 1870s, and by the early 1880s raised frets had become popular.

I believe there were many fretted banjos way back. Flush frets....still do not create that precision. Gives you a better visual cue perhaps, but the fretless problems remain the same.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

About

John Masciale created this Ning Network.

© 2019   Created by John Masciale.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service