I'm getting a banjo for christmas!!!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by stingray2112, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. I just thought I would share this with the talkbass community. I'm pretty excited about this. Does anyone have any advice for a beginner banjo player?
  2. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Go slow, learn the style you want to play then start working. There are a few different ways to play Banjo, so if you have a plan to be a finger picker, start practicing fundamental finger work, see Youtube for different examples of playing styles. Have fun with it.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    At least it's not an accordion.
  4. Thick McRunfast

    Thick McRunfast Not just good, good enough

    Sep 30, 2012
    Portland, Oregon USA
    You were a very bad boy this year huh?
  5. ricobasso


    Jan 18, 2007
    UK, South East
    And you won't have to bother with tuners any more :D
  6. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    4 strings, right?
    Must be like a bass.
    Listen to Bela Fleck.
  7. Keep your sense of humor, and practice when no one else is home! (On the other hand, if anyone else *is* home, practicing will probably make them go away, so never mind that.)

    I play a (very) little bit of banjo; it's a fun instrument to mess around with and not terribly hard to get a basic vocabulary on. Work out some chords from first principles, then concentrate on keeping that right hand going evenly.

    When you've had some luck with standard tuning, try "sawmill" tuning, with the B string raised to a C. It has a rather eerie, harmonically "open" sound to it; to me it sounds like the tonic has a question mark on it.

    You can use it to enable GAS on other instruments. "Dear? Should I get another bass, do you think, or another...BANJO???"

  8. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    WI, USA
  9. low2groove

    low2groove Tyranis 4 / Lower Groove Guitars

    Jan 21, 2007
    I can cut a nut for you so the bass strings will fit perfectly.
    Think of it as a short scale bass! Lol!
  10. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    A lot of banjos have 5 strings from what I've seen. The 5th string is shorter and its tuner is attached to the neck. What is "standard" banjo tuning? I seem to remember it's tuned to a G chord. I think 4 string banjos are tuned to 5ths like CGDA or GDAE.
  11. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    For my favorite use of banjo in a an ensemble check out Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Zakir Hussein's the Melody Of Rhythm. Banjo, double bass, and tablas.
  12. She'll put down a deposit on a new Fodera.
  13. Yeah, the typical modern banjo is a 5-string, but there have been a lot of variations over the years. It was the standard popular stringed instrument for a few decades there, before the guitar took over, so there was lots of opportunity for innovation.

    There are a bunch of tunings, but the one most people would call "standard" is an open G chord.

  14. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
  15. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    The thread title should begin like this: :help:
  16. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Banned

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    Wow...lotsa banjo hate here! I love my banjo. Nobody else does, but I do :)

    Good luck and enjoy it...they are terrific fun.
  17. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I've been playing 5 string banjo since 1968 and currently have several banjos. My #1 is a Gibson RB4 but I also have other Gibsons, a couple of Hubers, Yates RS, & Osborne Chief and have owned a couple of Stellings. The best advice I can give you is to find a teacher who teaches bluegrass 3 finger picking and start from the beginning. You'll probably start out on civil war era songs, learning to pick with the thumb and one finger, then incorporate the 3rd finger in as you get it down. You'll learn the basic rolls and learn to read banjo tab at the same time. Once you learn the basics of 3 finger picking you can incorporate that into any style of music you like to play. And if you already have finger picking skills on guitar you'll progress quickly on the banjo. Here's a banjo secret: Although there are dozens of banjo tunings, 3 dominant tunings, The 5 string banjo, in it's most common tuning, is tuned to what is also Kieth Richards open G tuning on guitar. So if you've got the open G guitar thing down, then you've already got the chording for banjo in the vault and you just need to learn and get good at the right hand technique and scales. Virginia probably has some good teachers so you're in the right territory.