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Banjo action

Nail Soup

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On 07/03/2022 at 10:33, pete.young said:

The acrylic nail will work. The banjo player in our old-time band makes regular visits to the nail bar to have his playing finger nail built up. They thought he was a bit odd at first, only having one finger done, but they've got used to it now.


Another option is the plastic fingernail kits you get from Boots. I've used these they're cheap and they work OK.


There are some banjo picks which are made specifically for clawhammer, maybe some ideas here? http://glorybeamingbanjo.blogspot.com/2018/01/clawhammer-picks-and-you-review.html


Finally got the nail done.......... acrylic (I think)  £3 from local nail bar 

working ok so far, but not done many minutes of playing yet.


Edited by Nail Soup
Picture and typos
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  • 1 month later...

Played debut (not counting a few weeks ago at a very small session) Clawhammer banjo (Cornbread and Butterbeans) at my monthly folk/acoustic session last week ... went down well and someone suggested doing another one next time. So I'm working on "Georgie Buck", alternating between instrumental and vocal sections.


Bad timing with the acrylic nail.... it had grown out too much, and fell off during my performance! didn't matter though as it had protected the natural nail enough to play with real nail.

New acrylic has been glued on since..

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  • 3 months later...

I posted this photo in How Was Your Gig Last Night but I'll put it here too.

On Tuesday the seven piece band I'm in had a gig and as usual we played two sets of swing and then a set of Dixieland and I switch from my Shen SB100 to my Baldwin Ode tenor banjo and a sax player takes over the bass part on bari sax. Luckily I practice at home a lot on both instruments so at a gig it doesn't feel too crazy going from a monster neck and thick strings to the skinny little banjo neck and playing with a pick but it takes a few minutes to get comfortable.

This was our first gig since Covid restrictions started but we have been rehearsing and according to several musicians and others in the audience it was the best we have played and all of us in the band felt the same way. Next gig is in November but we are hoping for more work before that. Since Covid hit it is a very slow live music scene here, especially in the area where I live which is quite rural with few cities. 




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  • 2 weeks later...
10 hours ago, pete.young said:

@Nail SoupI hope your clawhammer is going well.

Yes, thanks for asking. I'm slowly getting there.. but slow is my usual pace for all my musical stuff!

So far I've performed 3 clawhammers ta the local folk/accoustic circle.... Went down pretty well, or at least woke people up!

  • Cornbread and Butterbeans (my own arrangement)
  • Georgie Buck (from a book)
  • Darling Corey (in triple-C modal tuning)

And a few more in the pipeline.



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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

Just realized I hadn't posted a pic of my mutant Goldtone Dojo here:




A new upright bass player came into our long running Bluegrass/Americana jam and I decided to give her the bass chair to bump up her learning curve and try something new myself. The dojo is lot more wife friendly than an actual banjo as I learn the ropes, and I am expecting to get a banjo sooner than later too, but I soon sussed that the dojo works much better in Open E tuning for my current playing situation, so I reckon I'll just hold off for at least another six months or so and just concentrate on one new thing at a time. There's a piezo pickup on the resonator as well as the magnetic pickup, both of which port out on a single stereo jack. I've built a couple of different breakout boxes and am currently working on a full blown all in one blend/EQ box, which will look something like so:




So there are two filter sections a la Alembic/Wal, one for each pickup. And then Bass/switched Mids, High Pass Filter for the magnetic one. All of this has been vetted using other DIY bits and it works very well, going through my Audiokinesis Thunderchild 112 and a variety of commercial and DIY amps. I'll probably just cop a Spark 40 amp for this application though, as the Thunderchild cab is serious overkill for jamming with a few electric-acoustic instruments and no drums.



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