A Book Of Five Strings - online tutorial

Strategies for mastering the art of old time banjo.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Coupon Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
The most important factor in this technique is that your forearm is controlling most of the motion. You should not move your picking finger. There is hadly any wrist motion.
When you strike the first string your fingernail should be coming down on the string like a piano hammer. You are not picking across the string, you are striking down on it.
When you play the strum do not open up your hand or flick your fingers. The only thing you have to do is roll your forearm so that you drive your fingernail across the strings. Because we are using the thumb as a sort of pivot point the strum will not be directly across the strings but rather at a slight downward angle.
It sometimes helps to maintain the rhythm of the strum if you give each part a label. Let's call the pick "bump", the strum "dit" and the thumb rolling off the fifth string "ty".
Now tap out the rhythm of the strum with your foot:
    On the "bump" tap your foot.
    Bring your foot back up.
    As you tap your foot again do your strum for the "dit".
    As your foot is coming back up roll your thumb off of the fifth string for the "ty".
Rhythm
In music everything from the notes you play to the rests where you don't play anything has a time value attached to it. That time value is defined as rhythm. Without rhythm the notes would have no context and everything would just come out like noise.
We break music up into measures with a specific number of beats. A beat is the term we use to describe the pulse of the music. The number of beats in a measure is dictated by the time signature.
The time signature tells us how many beats are played in a measure or group of measures. A time signature like 4/4 indicates that we will play four beats to a measure (4/) and that each beat will have the value of a quarter note (/4).
If the time signature was 3/4 it would indicate three beats to a measure (3/) and that each beat will have the value of a quarter note (/4).
6/8 indicates that each measure will have six beats (6/) and that each beat will have the value of an eighth note (/8).
o A whole note is just that, a note that is counted for the whole value of the measure.
<J A half note has one half the time value of a whole note.
J A quarter note has one half the time value of a half note.
J* An eighth note has one half the time value of a quarter note.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III