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Showing posts from January, 2014

The Journey Back to Jamming

It's been several months since I've been to a local jam session. Since my son was born in September, it's just been too difficult to find the time. One of my goals this year is to get back to playing with others, preferably in the next month or so.

The thought of playing my banjo in a group again fills me with a bit of anxiety. By nature, I'm not the most outgoing person. Couple that with the feeling of being way out of practice, and you have a recipe for the nervous nellies.

As readers know, I've spent most of my music-playing time this past year learning the fiddle. However, I still don't feel confident enough to play it in public. Besides, there are plenty of fiddlers around and not enough banjo bangers to keep them honest.

It seems high time I get back to woodshedding tunes on the five-string to get myself back up to speed. I like to practice by playing along with recordings. Last night, I was reminded of the handy Old-Time Jam Machine, an online source for…

A New Year. A New Goal

The holidays brought a bounty of gifts to help me improve my fiddling. As you can see from the photo above, it was a Brad Leftwich Christmas. You can also see my new Snark clip-on tuner. These resources should help me level up my bowing. After working from Wayne Erbsen's Old-Time Fiddle for the Complete Ignoramus for the past year, it was time to seek new challenges.

Awhile back I had borrowed Leftwich's Old-Time Fiddle: Round Peak Style from the library and deemed it a good resource, but nearly incomprehensible in terms of trying to read the tabs. However, it came with a CD with more than 80 tunes that I hope to learn by ear once I figure out the bowing "licks," which is where the Homespun DVDs come in. (By the way, you can download those 80-plus CD tracks via the eBook page at the Mel Bay site. Look for the "Downloads" tab and click on "Download Extras.")

So far, the DVD lessons are proving to be just the challenge I was seeking. I'm throug…