Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Banjo Practice Tip:
Each hand must learn to work with the other. Typically, the right hand will go faster than the left because it is repeating patterns. The key is to play at a slow pace and let the left hand catch up in a manner which allows you to play smoothly. Practice one line at a time-over and over- until you can play without looking at your music. Begin slowly or your hands will become tired and 'crampy'.
The beauty of banjo picking is the clarity of individual notes-not the speed you can rattle them off. Believe me, speed will come in time, and in the long run you will appreciate all the hard work you put in before playing at top speed. Keep pickin' and grinnin' Terrie

Sunday, July 14, 2019

I saw an interesting article about the 47th Annual RockyGrass Festival in Lyons Colorado that sounded like is the link Rocky Grass Festival.... check out the lineup with lots of recognized names....oh my...what fun...if any of you out there go to the festival...send me your comments and I will list them here...there is camping available and daily jams around the festival. I remember doing that at different festivals. One in particular was the 4th of July festival at Smithville, Tennessee. They have a blast and lot's of good banjo picking there. The parking lots would be full of bands jamming and at night you could walk around town and play with different groups.

This is a fun way to learn. You pick up techniques, new songs, meet new players, see different styles of picking and develop timing when playing with others. If you get a chance to go to any jam session, I highly recommend it. Don't be shy...if you need to, just go to listen and leave your banjo in the car until you get your confidence up...then get it out and start playing. You can play quietly in the background. The more you play in these groups, the better you will feel and the better you will play. I said leave your banjo in the car...well, maybe not in the car, with the heat and the threat of it being stolen, but you can leave it in the case until you feel you want to get it out and play.

Ok, so let's talk about playing with someone. If you have someone close to you, ask them if you can play with them. You pick a song you know, if possible, and you play rhythm until you get the hang of playing together. Tap your foot to the rhythm you are hearing. When playing backup on the banjo, move your right hand closer to the fingerboard to get a softer sound. If possible, lift the left hand fingers off the fingerboard after playing the chord and the sound will stop, making the chord short. This gives the sound like the mandolin chop chords you hear in mandolin backups. Pick the bottom three strings and play the chords around the 8-10th will stand out like a banjo, but not overpower the lead notes. Now go find someone to play some music with and start enjoying the idea of learning new songs and styles.

To get some more song ideas and to learn to play faster, try my new books...
Terrie Fleming's Banjo 101...not in tabs, but written out making it easier to learn the songs and I provide practice tips and chord charts to help you. I will be providing YouTube videos of the songs so you can hear them played. Go to this link to purchase your books:Terrie Fleming's Banjo 101

Keep pickin'

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Yeah...the banjo books are here and ready for your music stands. To pick one up, you can come to Arbor Music in Magnolia Tx ands get yours today or you can order them by clicking  here:
Terrie Fleming's Banjo 101 

There are three volumes and each one is designed to be simple to read and easy for you to start playing immediately. Let me get you started on your dream of playing the banjo today. What are you waiting for?

all metal vs all plastic picks

Most 3-finger banjo pickers use two metal finger picks and a plastic thumb pick. Have you ever wondered why?

Your thumb is stronger than your index and middle finger. If your picks are all the same, all plastic for instance, the notes played with your thumb will be louder than the ones played with your fingers. Many times, the thumb is on an upbeat. This means when you tap your foot, the thumb is playing when you have your foot raised up, the upbeat, not when it taps the floor, the downbeat. In most music, we want the stronger beat to be the downbeat.

Many people wonder why Earl Scruggs' rolls were so smooth and flowed together so well. He developed his rolls to start with his index finger on the stronger beat and was able to define the beat better. During his time, rolls would start with a finger and then alternate with the thumb. Banjo pickers would use all plastics picks or all metal picks.... so, any note  played with the thumb on the upbeat was louder. The music was hard to follow or didn't flow correctly. The beats sounded choppy and the rolls were not as smooth. Many pickers changed to metal finger picks and a plastic thumb pick.

There are many types of finger and thumb picks out there. Check back for information on the different picks and why I recommend the ones I use.

To pick up one of my books locally, go to Arbor Music in Magnolia Tx, or  click here  to order them.  There are 3 volumes that are simple and easy to read. Check them out