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Author Topic: Mountain banjo  (Read 8999 times)

Tom

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Mountain banjo
« on: January 04, 2013, 03:04:50 PM »
Yesterday, while in the local town Welcome Center here in OH, I spotted this mountain banjo on exhibit in their small museum display case. Note the lack of frets. The 'yellow card' provides more explanation than I could provide.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 03:06:45 PM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 03:08:23 PM »
Real musicians don't need frets 8)
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Tom

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 03:18:32 PM »
I guess I'm not, nor ever will be, a real musician  :(
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Ned

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 03:29:13 PM »
Tom, your voice certainly doesn't need any frets :)
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SeilerBird

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 03:29:51 PM »
I guess I'm not, nor ever will be, a real musician  :(
Oh yes you are. I was making a joke. The joke was inspired by the t-shirts sold at Glacier NP that say "Real men don't need guardrails".
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Molaker

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2013, 03:30:07 PM »
Yesterday, while in the local town Welcome Center here in OH, I spotted this mountain banjo on exhibit in their small museum display case. Note the lack of frets. The 'yellow card' provides more explanation than I could provide.
I always wondered how violinists managed without some sort of reference up and down the neck.  But, if they can do it, "banjoist" s/b able to learn.  Go for it, Tom
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SeilerBird

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 03:37:59 PM »
I always wondered how violinists managed without some sort of reference up and down the neck.  But, if they can do it, "banjoist" s/b able to learn.  Go for it, Tom
After I had been playing guitar for about 5 years I decided I needed some help at pitch discrimination. So I took two years of violin and viola lessons at Ventura College not so much because I wanted to play the instruments but to really help my ear.

Once you get used to being able to play a fretless instrument you really don't even have to look at the fretboard. Actually once you get used to playing a fretted instrument you don't need to look at the keyboard.

So in answer to your question as to how do they do it the answer is - practice practice practice.
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Tom

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 03:49:13 PM »
I equate violin players to bass players and trombone players; No frets, no stops/buttons (whatever they're called).

Reminds me of the guy who asked a NYC cabbie if he knew how to get to Carnegie Hall; The answer was "You practice!".
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SeilerBird

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 03:52:27 PM »
One thing you will notice about violin, viola, cello, double bass and trombone players is that they never hold a note without adding vibrato. This makes it very easy to correct a note if it is not exactly pitch perfect. When playing a run of notes there is no time for a vibrato but then it is difficult for 99% of the listeners to tell if one of the notes isn't exactly perfect. Lots of singers use the vibrato trick too.
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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 04:06:55 PM »
Don't forget buglers.  Even trumpet players (my Tom in high school) get many, many notes out of pressing three valves.  BTW, I agree with Ned, Tom Jones.  When you open your mouth and sing, you ARE a musician.  :D
 
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Tom

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2013, 04:38:39 PM »
Quote from: Tom and Margi
... I agree with Ned ...  When you open your mouth and sing, you ARE a musician.

He said I'm fretless  ;D
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Luca1369

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 04:57:42 PM »
Since there are only 12 notes (A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#,G, G#), and if you hit a sour note, you're never more than a half step away from a note that you should be playing (going by the scale and key you are in).
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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 05:00:03 PM »
That is the type of Banjo you would hear when you sat on the big front porch and listened to the men make music on a warm summer night in WV where I grew up. Heard many a mountain Banjo when I was young.
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Ned

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2013, 05:06:40 PM »
He said I'm fretless  ;D

I wouldn't fret about it.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2013, 05:09:23 PM »
Since there are only 12 notes (A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#,G, G#), and if you hit a sour note, you're never more than a half step away from a note that you should be playing (going by the scale and key you are in).
There are only 12 notes in Western music. Eastern music can have more than that. There actually is a 43 note scale:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Partch%27s_43-tone_scale

Steve is correct though, in Western music you are never too far away from the correct note. As a lead guitarist you learn either one of two things when you hit a wrong note, either bend up to the right one or play the wrong note a few more times so people will think you did it on purpose. If anyone asks you about the wrong note then you tell them is was the correct note, you were in a different mode. :D
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gwcowgill

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2013, 05:15:07 PM »
Quote
As a lead guitarist you learn either one of two things when you hit a wrong note, either bend up to the right one or play the wrong note a few more times so people will think you did it on purpose. If anyone asks you about the wrong note then you tell them is was the correct note, you were in a different mode. :D

Or you could say that whoever wrote the score you are using wrote it wrong :) :) :) :)
Edit: Fixed quote.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 05:19:09 PM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2013, 05:30:32 PM »
Or you could say that whoever wrote the score you are using wrote it wrong :) :) :) :)
Edit: Fixed quote.
Lead guitarists and music scores don't belong in the same sentence. We usually make it up as we go along.
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BillB3857

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2013, 06:40:55 PM »
There are only 12 notes in Western music. Eastern music can have more than that. There actually is a 43 note scale:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Partch%27s_43-tone_scale

Steve is correct though, in Western music you are never too far away from the correct note. As a lead guitarist you learn either one of two things when you hit a wrong note, either bend up to the right one or play the wrong note a few more times so people will think you did it on purpose. If anyone asks you about the wrong note then you tell them is was the correct note, you were in a different mode. :D

Ever listen to Willie Nelson? :)
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SeilerBird

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2013, 07:15:45 PM »
Ever listen to Willie Nelson? :)
Only when I'm On The Road Again. ;D
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gwcowgill

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2013, 09:01:32 PM »
Yea, I forgot, many cannot read the scores.... :)
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SeilerBird

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2013, 10:07:29 PM »
Yea, I forgot, many cannot read the scores.... :)
Nope, that's not it. Most guitar players can read music. The problem is that it is really impossible to translate what a lead guitarist does to the written page. There are too many tricks and too many notes that aren't one of the 12. Listen to Stevie Ray Vaughan play Little Wing and you will see what I mean. And many lead guitarist play with their eyes closed. Lead guitar is more about mood and feeling than the actual notes.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2013, 09:07:25 AM »
One of the major differences between a world-class musician and a competent one is the "extra" sound they impart while playing the same notes. The subtle difference in technique that makes you hear/feel the emotion in the sound.

Another thought: Many popular entertainers aren't particularly good musicians, at least not in the sense of pitch accuracy or correct technique with instrument or voice. Using just some basic competence, they put together an often unique style package that is hugely attractive to an audience without being technically good at all. Willie Nelson is a classic example.
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Tom

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2013, 09:13:11 AM »
I'm neither world class nor even remotely competent, but anyone note (no pun) the error on the printed 'yellow card'? It was obviously written by someone who hasn't played a fretted instrument.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 09:15:46 AM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2013, 09:30:57 AM »
No, I don't see the error.
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Tom

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2013, 09:35:14 AM »
I know you know Tom, but let's see if someone else spots it.
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Molaker

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2013, 09:38:14 AM »
The only possible error I see is it says the frets are "pressed on".  Technically, I think you actually press the strings above the desired fret, not on the fret.  Pressing on the fret would produce a muted or deadened tone.
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Tom

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2013, 09:39:41 AM »
Go to the head of the class Tom (Molaker).
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Molaker

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2013, 09:48:16 AM »
About a hundred years ago I used to plunk around on a guitar.  I never was worth 2 cents though and eventually handed off my two cheapie guitars (a standard and a classical) to my boys.  Once in a while I pick one up and remember why I put it down.  It's funny how my manual dexterity has always been very good when it came to doing stuff like doing mechical work - even tiny stuff, but my fingers seemed not to be directly connected when trying to play a guitar.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2013, 09:58:38 AM »
You press your finger between the frets, forcing the string to press cleanly on the fret, shortening its effective length. That technique makes a clean "stop", whereas placing your finger on the string directly over the fret would dampen the sound slightly as well as being a bit imprecise (depending on player skill). I would guess a fretless mountain banjo is a bit more mellow and less crisp in sound for that reason. Would be interesting to hear fretted and fretless instruments played side by side.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Mountain banjo
« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2013, 10:05:06 AM »
I know you know Tom, but let's see if someone else spots it.
Nope, I did not spot the error.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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