Any Banjoists?

15 posts / 0 new
Last post

Most FAWMs and 50/90s, I've started this thread for my fellow enthusiasts. In the past I've called our group BUFF (Banjoists United for FAWM/5090).
Years ago (late 90s, early 00s) I worked as a music journalist and got to interview Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka (one of Bela's teachers). Both were super nice guys. I didn't play banjo yet, though.
In '09, I got some bonus money and bought a banjo. That was also the year of my first 50/90, and I dove right into writing and recording banjo songs. Also, I got an excellent Tony Trischka instruction book/CD that I still refer to.
I got pretty good at bluegrass banjo picking after about 3-4 years, but I don't keep up my chops. The last few years, I mainly break out the banjo for FAWM and 50/90.
I've already done one banjo tune this 50/90, and I'm recording another today.
Who else has banjo tales to share?

Years ago, our teenaged son asked for a banjo for Christmas, and Santa obliged. Son played around with it a little, but when he left for college it stayed behind, hidden away in a closet. Sometime later, when a giant tree suddenly evicted us from our house, we took all the musical instruments to our temporary quarters and stashed them in plain sight in a corner. The banjo occasionally cast reproachful looks in my direction. Took a break from overseeing house reconstruction to attend a music festival, where I spent a blissful weekend hearing my idol Pete Seeger accompanying himself on banjo. When we got back to the temporary apartment, the banjo said to me, “It’s way past time, don’t you think?”

So now I play banjo.

Would not consider myself a banjo-ist so much as a guitar player who discovered open G tuning and then thought, 'hey, isn't that how banjos are tuned?' so I play banjo more like guitar than a banjo-ist-er and mainly for flavor in a song. Under the category of tales, I do have a no-name 5-string resonator that my lovely wife found for me at a local antique mall for a stupid cheap price. Almost five years ago I found an old (maybe 1960's?) Kay student tenor banjo in a local music store on a trip to Nashville. It was priced at $175. I was noodling on it and the store clerk knocked $30 off the price so I bought it. I asked if they shipped instruments and he said no. At that time I didn't think of going to a UPS or similar store to properly box and ship it. So I squeezed it diagonally into my suitcase and hoped for the best. Tenor banjo made the flight home unscathed.

@Chip Withrow I am fond of the couple of our collabs you added your banjo to. The one for my son the Drill Sargent is one of my favorites, though Lightning is pretty fun too because we harmonized. This is a fun place! I'm sure I'll bring mine out sometime this summer and can pretty much guarrantee it will be the chords G, C, and Dm7...

Well, as a bluegrass opossum, I guess my question would be why would anyone NOT be a banjoist? I have already posted my first song of 50/90 and it definitely has banjo!

Yup i am passable! I just never give it enough attention. I mostly just pick around, although can clawhammer . I use it fir backing bits, fills etc, rarely as a main instrument. Also the one thing i am never short of is a banjo friend being up here in the Hills of Thulimbah, so i can always source help. I have a banjo story though! My wife bought my current one for me in Wellington NZ as a present! She was with oldest daughter in town and had just picked it up. It was daughters birthday and they decided to have a light lunch at the then No1 restaurant. Well she and the banjo got Rockstar Treatment! They clearly thought at the restaurant that they were Rock Gods! They still laugh about this particularly being that neither play much of anything (of course Mrs C can sing great).

A friend has a six string Gretsch banjo with guitar standard tuning.....

I also have a banjolele which I suppose would qualify for both the BUFF and FUC groups. It's got a banjo sound with ukulele tuning, and looks like a baby banjo with four strings. Smile

Great stories! (Yes, @darcistrutt, I liked those collabs, too. We did a fun kale song once, as well.)
On this rainy day (Hurricane Elsa just missed us), I stayed in and recorded with guitar, ukulele, synth, and banjo. I tried some fast banjo picking tonight and was really rusty.

I've done three banjo tunes so far this 50/90. I'm sure more will come. My output now is more than half ukulele songs.
For me, the banjo is not a songwriting instrument. Usually, I add it to something I've written on guitar. (Uke and piano are also good songwriting tools for me.)
But I was inspired by a blues documentary on PBS last night, so I may pick around with some blues riffs on banjo and see what I come up with.

Funny, earlier today, (before I saw this thread) I picked up the banjo from the wall, and wrote a short basic instrumental. Not sure if I'm gonna leave it like that or add lyrics at some point and re-record, but sooner or later I'll post something with this banjo (which is a conventional five string no-name, but with the tuning assembly for the 5th (short) string broken, so its kind of a four string banjo now....)

I have a banjo, that I am learning to play. I will add some banjo licks to a song this 50.90. My summer goal is to make some songs using more than I track.

Just picked up the banjo again and wrote and recorded something...

Banjo was the instrument I used in my section of the 10x10

and here's a song with banjo and harmonica...