My Banjo learning log

It all began in April 28, 2008 when my wife returned to Tucson with a banjo in tow (a loan from our personal friend Paul Campo).

I begain taking lessons from Bill Ganz, who got me started out right. Any mistakes I am making now are entirely due to my own lack of something or other. His approach was that playing the Banjo was all about picking, not strumming chords.

May 9, 2009 I took the big step of buying my own Banjo (a Deering Goodtime II) and returned the borrowed banjo to Paul.

I stopped taking lessons when I realized that they were pointless unless I was going to commit myself to daily practice. During a brief period of renewed interest I took one lesson from Mike Purdy. Mike is Scott's (from DBA workshop) teacher. He had a laid back approach that I liked, and if he is still taking students I very well might see about taking more lessons from him - once I have a daily practice habit in place. One quote from him:

"Don't fuss and worry about buying an expensive banjo; it is just a banjo".

August 2013 and I am getting back into the Banjo with the aim of spending some time practicing every day. On Monday night, August 26, 2013 I attended the Bluegrass workshop with the desert bluegrass association over at Broadway and Pantano.

Scott was there, and has become a rather accomplished banjo player (that is what daily practice and a lesson every other week can do for you!).

Also Carol, who I remember from a visit to the workshop back in 2011 or so; she was very helpful showing me how to make chords I did not know about.

Also there with banjos were Bill and Debbie. JP was there who is a fiddle player, but with lots to teach to players of all instruments.

Things learned 8-26-2013

The workshops are immensely valuable. One aspect is hanging around and learning from other banjo players. Another is simply being immersed in music for two hours, trying to play and keep time during much of that, watching others, even trying to sing while playing a song. Other musicians are amazed to watch the banjo players, because they all are doing very different things yet playing the same music. Some put on a capo to change from G to A. Others make the changes in their head and play chords without a capo. One may play an open G, another may plan a G fretting with the fingers (which yields a more consistent sound relative to other fretted chords).

Bar on 5th fret is a C

Bar on 7th fret is a D

Em is the C chord with the middle lifted

A G chord is x5435


Have any comments? Questions? Drop me a line!

Tom's home page / tom@mmto.org