This is my new year resolution.There are many worthwhile issues in my life and my behaviour that I could address and maybe, by so doing, make a little positive difference to the world. But, as Rose Schneiderman put it, “The worker must have bread, but she must have roses too.” So I’m going to learn the banjo.

img_20161231_200037I bought this banjo 3 years ago with money I was given by the churches I was leaving. I enjoy hearing the banjo, especially in bluegrass music, and I’ve been picking a guitar most of my life, so I thought, How hard can it be? The answer is, Very. I have struggled with the open G tuning and I can’t get my head, let alone my thumb, around the chanter string. I’ve wondered about taking off the chanter, tuning the top string up to E and just playing it like a ukulele (but in a different pitch, obviously). I’ve thought about trading it in for a 6-string banjo and playing it like a guitar. I’ve even thought about just giving up and getting rid of it.

But – full of new year’s resolve, I am not going to be beaten. I am going to set aside some time every day to practise and I am going to learn to play the banjo. I’ll report back to you in due course.

In the new world, we’re going to need stories and art and poetry and music, otherwise what’s the point? We’ll need bread, sure, but we’ll also need roses.


7 thoughts on “Banjo

  1. Paul played the banjo back in time a bit, if he’s got any books etc I’ll pass them on to you if you’d like them? He agrees it is hard! Looking forward to hearing you play 🙂

  2. Bought a Gold Tone 5 string last year . My biggest issue is staying at it. I noticed if I play everyday my rolls get faster and the sound is clearer. I’ve been working on cripple creek , my New Years resolution is to be able to play at least one song all the way through !

    1. Every day sounds like a good plan. I missed yesterday. So boring doing exercises but I think it’s the only way. It’s plucking the chanter string with my thumb as if it’s a bass string that I can’t get my head around. Practice, practice. Good luck!

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