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Thinking about taking up banjo

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by pocketgroove, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    I've recently been thinking about learning to play the banjo. Are there any folks here who started out on bass and picked up banjo down the road? I'm thinking of going the tenor banjo route as I like the sound and the four strings seem like a good place to start. Any thoughts or advice, so far as that goes?

    How hard is banjo to start on, and how to does it compare/contrast to bass? Just as some background, on bass, I was able to get fluent enough to gig and play on bass within a year (albeit with a lot of room to grow), but I never really took to guitar.

    Also, anybody have recommendations for a good starter banjo?

    Thanks in advance for any insight! I'm really excited about the idea, though I really don't know much about banjo at all.
  2. I'm not *good* at the banjo, but I can play it a little. I went from acoustic guitar to both bass and banjo, and the acoustic has more relation to the banjo than the bass does---but neither of them is particularly similar IMHO. The banjo usually tunes to an open chord, so the fingerings are very unlike anything your fingers know from guitar or bass, and the right-hand techniques are wildly different. The basic coordination involved in playing a stringed instrument will translate, but that's about all unless you play bass in a very unorthodox way.

    The good news is that a lot of the banjo repertoire is harmonically simple---three- and four-chord stuff---and as long as you keep the right hand plugging away and get the chord shape right, you'll sound acceptable. It's "easy" in sort of the same way that bass is "easy" because you can get away with just playing the roots.

    Get used to hearing the same three banjo jokes (hey, that's one joke per chord!) over and over again. And buy earplugs for anyone you live with. And the neighbors. And the neighbors' dogs. Actually, open-backed banjos sound much less obnoxious than the bluegrass resonator type, and if you're interested in styles like oldtime country rather than strict bluegrass, you might look in that direction.

  3. DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hehe, just kidding, I envy really good banjo players :hyper:
  4. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters

    Edgar Meyer plays banjo. He also has dots on his bass.

  5. Thick McRunfast

    Thick McRunfast Not just good, good enough

    Sep 30, 2012
    Portland, Oregon USA
    I toyed with the idea of taking up banjo a few years ago. But I was single and figured if I ever wanted to get into another long term relationship playing banjo wouldn't facilitate that in any way.

    So I took up bodhran instead. And now I'm married to a wonderful woman.

    I was really interested in Deerings. Seemed like decent quality beginner instruments
  6. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    Thanks for the advice so far! Since it's really just an experiment for now, I'm thinking of picking this up: www.rondomusic.com/country4.html

    Seems like a decent way to check it out, then upgrade down the road if it works out. What are some good beginner banjo pieces?

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