Ryan, for some reason I just don’t get it. I have been learning from books and tabs. I try, and a poor CRIPPLE CREEK is all I can play. I’m stuck, and about ready to give this up.
I want to learn, I enjoy playing, but I won’t even play unless my wife is asleep. Her whole family plays Bluegrass. I love the Banjo, I just want too much too soon I guess. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Michael, it sounds like you’re putting a lot of undue pressure on yourself to play like a pro right now. When learning the banjo it just doesn’t work like that.
Here’s the part that you probably don’t want to hear. You’re going to have to be very bold and start playing in front of people, even if it’s just Cripple Creek. By the way it’s very possible and not too difficult to make Cripple Creek sound like a masterpiece!
This is what you need to do. Choose a few people that you’ll probably be playing along with when you get your picking up to speed. Sounds like this might be your wife’s family. If they are decent folks you’ll find that they will encourage you to play with them, because this is how they learned when they were beginners.
Next figure out about 5 songs that they most commonly play. Then sit down at home, when you’re wife’s awake and practice these songs until you’re fingers bleed. If you need help working up breaks to them let me know and I’ll help you. You have to have a solid “simple” banjo break to each of these five songs.
The secret little goal is for you to actually sound better than their banjo player when you play your break. This may entail very powerful (mind blowing) kick-offs, pull-offs, hammer ons, etc…
Dont fret! We’ll get you there. Just forget about sounding horrible and lets start sounding like a powerful banjo player. Figure out your five songs that you want to work on whether they are instrumentals or vocal tunes and let me know. I’ll help you put together dynamite breaks to them. Soon you’ll be the banjo star!
1. Determine your group of peers that you’ll be playing with
2. Listen to one of their jam sessions and pick out 5 of their most commonly played tunes.
3. Go back home and work up killer breaks to these tunes.
4. Return with your banjo to the jam and jump in with both feet!