I have been playing various instruments most of my life, but I never learned banjo. I did play a bunch of fingerstyle/alternating thumb guitar which probably helps in many ways, but surprisingly has created some things to overcome. For anyone who plays something else, I figured I would make some posts about my experience in case it might be useful. I might post progress videos in the future to get y’all’s (awesome) feedback. It is fun/frustrating/difficult/exciting being an absolute beginner again.
The banjo arrived yesterday (Friday). Here’s my initial thoughts:
- The picking your fingerpicks lesson was a huge help. I had borrowed a banjo to try many years ago and I didn’t fit the picks properly. In fact at first, I literally had them on backwards (though I did figure that out)! It feels much more natural getting a good foundation.
- It is more fun to learn a song and do things that translate naturally from playing other instruments, but so far, I am sticking to my guns. I am learning rolls right now and it is HARD to overcome my natural tendencies from fingerstyle (where the downbeat starts with a thumb most the time), but I trust that it will pay off in the end. I even expect my fingerstyle guitar to be more diverse from the work I am putting in.
- Buying a good instrument to start with is SUCH a nice luxury. I have worked with folks that tried to learn guitar with like 1/4" action, and it is a real barrier. I am fortunate to have this nicely setup (and great sounding to my ear) banjo right from the start.
- It is really weird having a fifth string that does not go to the nut. I keep hitting that 5th string G trying to hit the low D when I look at it. It is also weird having the highest pitch string in the lowest position. I am re-training my brain, but that is tough.
- For any with neck and/or back issues, banjo may not be the best choice for you. This is one heavy instrument.
- So far, so good. I look forward to the journey!