Getting the most out of the site


#1

First… Thank you for a great learning site. I’m really loving it. I’ve been playing banjo for a long time have used the site to keep me learning.

The real reason I joined was to learn the guitar. I didn’t start from complete scratch and I have worked my way through the beginner’s section and just started on the intermediate section I have a couple of questions about how to best proceed.

  1. Should you nail a song at the fastest speed before you move on to another song? I’ve moved on to other songs after temperance reel, but can just get through it at medium speed. The fast speed feels like a magic trick that I can’t figure out. Curious how others (and Banjo Ben) might attack this.

  2. I’ve been following the checklists but noticed that songs are listed alphabetically, so some songs are harder early on in the list… What is the best way to proceed in a progressive fashion? It wasn’t until I worked through Angeline the Baker that I noticed it was alphabetical and the listened to Arkansas traveler and thought… Oh man… that seems really advanced. So any help on how to move through like a teacher might give you something slightly more advanced each week would be helpful.

And again… Thank you for a great website.

Don


#2

HI Don,

Speed is something that comes with time. I normally move on to start learning something else when I can get through a tune by memory…you can always dome back to it each day and play through it a few times gradually getting more comfortable and quicker.

As for the tunes themselves, I’d pick what you most want to learn first… work through any exercises in order that precede it,…hope that makes sense.

I’ve found Ben is a very good judge of what is intermediate, advanced or beginner level. Things that are more difficult for you are things that you should work on more before going to the next level. The order can be different for any of us as we are all wired a bit differently or have had different experiences on the instrument. any specific tune might be very difficult for me and easy for you…the next one may be just the opposite.

Hope this helps some,

Dave


#3

Like Dave said, it will come in time. I find that getting up to speed is helped out by using the tab files. Open the file and have it play at a speed you’re comfortable with. Then speed it up by 5%. Play it at that speed until it feels good, then bump it up 5% more.

For me, once I get above about 90%, I find that I can’t go a full 5% up from there. I usually have to go 2 to 3% up. I’ve even found songs that I could play at 98% speed, but going to 100% caused sloppiness.

Remember, perfect practice makes perfect!


#4

I use a similar method as Mark’s, except I record myself with backup tracks (it gives me a bit more freedom on substituting licks or playing an alternate break). I listen back during little rest periods.

Also I’d only add to his statement about being “comfortable” by adding “relaxed”…I truly believe relaxation and touch control are the keys to speed. My worst enemies in the speed game were (and still are) overplaying my instruments and muscle tension


#5

Mark & Dave have it covered. :sunglasses:


#6

You are so right about “relaxed.” Too often, I find myself bearing down on the pick and my arm tight as can be. Thank you for the advice. You and Mark have given great information.


#7

Good to have you, @donaldswilson! No, I recommend to keep moving.

After you get through the beginner checklist, the songs/lessons are grouped by difficulty level. My hope is that by the time you get through the beginner you’re able to discern what you want to learn, and also have the freedom to jump around and learn what you’re attracted to. And, of course I’m here whenever you have questions!


#8

Well the way I am approaching this learning curve is to study the rolls section extensively as well as the beginner material which I feel are the building blocks for the advanced stuff. The TEF player is awesome. Killer learning tool. Thank you Ben…


#9

Thank you! Love the site and now loving the community section. Thanks to all!


#10

Hi Danny, Don’t spend all your time on roll study. Once you have gone through the lesson and got the picking pattern fixed in your head, move onto the left hand studies, slides, pull-offs and hammer-ons, then into learning some tunes. Occasionally refer back to the roll study to revise the lesson check that your doing things right. Don’t be afraid to tackle difficult stuff. If the cakes too big to eat in one sitting nibble at the edges.


#11

ArchieLeader
4d
Triplett

Hi Danny, Don’t spend all your time on roll study. Once you have gone through the lesson and got the picking pattern fixed in your head, move onto the left hand studies, slides, pull-offs and hammer-ons, then into learning some tunes. Occasionally refer back to the roll study to revise the lesson check that your doing things right. Don’t be afraid to tackle difficult stuff. If the cakes too big to eat in one sitting nibble at the edges.

Thanks Archie


#12

I think @Archie is giving you real solid advice. I’ve been obsessed with getting Boil’Dem Cabbage up to speed. Been telling myself lately that there is plenty of other things to learn and trying to listen to others that say speed will come in time .

Still doing BDCabbage for speed practice, but added Worried Man Blues (F-R Roll + Hammer Ons) and John Henry (slides and the G-Lick).

Rotating through 3 lessons with each one representing a different level of skill for me has broken up the monotony of having too much focus on one thing. However, I personally don’t want to be spread too thin either. I think learning how to practice is part of the learning process too. And we all do it differently.


#13

Steve, All this stuff is inter connected, as you gain experience you start to see the relationships. You use the same licks over and over again just like words in a conversation. You just rearrange them in different ways.

Rather than spreading yourself too thinly your actually expanding your vocabulary. You can always revisit a lesson and each time you do you’ll find what you struggled to learn is that bit easier


#14

Your welcome Danny


#15

Good way to look at it. Thanks.