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Banjo Playing Tips

  • The Deering Clawhammer Method (Part 1)

    With so many clawhammer tutorials out there, we wanted to create one with our own spin. Deering Sales Manager Barry Hunn has been teaching newcomers to the banjo for over 30 years and in this video you will start as a beginner and end with a firm foundation on basic clawhammer technique.  Once you have mastered this section, part two is just a click away.  So grab your banjo and enjoy.   Part 2: An Introduction to Clawhammer. 

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  • The Deering Clawhammer Method (Part 2)

    Welcome to the Clawhammer Method Part 2! The first lesson is the most successful video we have posted to date and is presented by Deering Sales Manager, Barry Hunn. In part two, Barry will allow you to use the clawhammer technique learned in the previous video, through to playing a full song with advanced techniques.  Enjoy! Part 2: This Land Is Your Land/Incorporating advanced techniques.   Practice Videos Below is a playlist of videos to allow you to play along with the various steps of each video to perfect your technique. 

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  • 5-String Banjo Chord Inversions

    Many banjo players learn songs and rolls from tablature, but never really learn what notes they are playing on the banjo. This series of articles is going to take you through this process.

    This first exercise is going to teach you the chords on a banjo all the way up the neck. By learning all of the chord inversions, the fingerboard will open up to you and those notes up the fretboard won't be so intimidating. It will also open up your playing to a whole new world of ideas.

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  • Learning to Play the Banjo: 3 Practice Tips

    Learning to play the banjo can be an overwhelming task. Practice is one of the major keys to success. But, how can we find more time to practice. Here are a couple of tips. 1.  Find Time To Practice: When my mother retired she used to tell me she was busier than ever! As a lifelong volunteer, I remember being told that if you wanted to get a project done, look for a busy person. Both of these statements seem at odds with one another, right? But, what  do both of these statements have in common? The “busy” person has...

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  • Healthy Playing Technique

    I’ve read and heard musician’s refer to playing a musical instrument as athletics on a smaller scale.  

    This is actually a pretty accurate appraisal and one that is worthwhile evaluating.  

    Playing the banjo is more than just using your fingers.  No matter what style of banjo playing, there are physical considerations that can be helpful in fostering a healthy approach to your banjo.   Because no two people are alike in the way they walk, talk, dance, sing, run, stand, sit, swim, play tennis etc, we must allow for a huge range of tolerance to allow individuals to find their own personal comfort zone.   The suggestions here are not meant as “absolute” or “iron clad” or “cast in stone.” 

    These are mere guidelines that might aid in facilitating greater comfort while playing.

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  • The Symmetrical Tuning of the Tenor Banjo

    By nature, the tuning of the tenor banjo in fifths inherently has a major advantage in that chord voicings and scale patterns are symmetrical. The intervallic relationship between an adjacent string is the same.  This means that if you make a triad on the fourth, third, and second strings with the root in the bass, a triad shape would be the same if you moved it up one set of strings to the third, second, and first strings.
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  • Improvisation: How do you do it?

    Admired and feared, improvising has sometimes been shrouded by mystery and misunderstanding.   New banjo students are often baffled by top players who pick beautiful streams of notes but never the same way twice on a given song.
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  • Making the Most Of Your Practice Time

    These days we all have limited time to do the things we like. We always have to make the most out of our time. If you are reading this, one of the things you like to do is to play the banjo, with one of your goals to always be a better player.

    We often hear of players who tell us that they are practicing all of the time, but they don't seem to be getting any better. 

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  • The Ergonomic Subtleties of Playing Banjo

    OK, so you are saying to yourself that “banjo” and “subtle” are an oxymoron, right? How can a banjo in any way be connected with that word? Well, folks, just as “still waters run deep” so it is with our beloved banjo. If you aren’t paying attention to those subtle little details of playing the banjo, you may just be working too hard!

    One of the most critical factors to playing the banjo is playing position. 

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  • Will I Ever Get Better At Playing The Banjo?

    “Will I ever get better?” is the perennial cry of the pre-beginner (folks say there is no such thing as a pre-beginner but I have been one for 10 years…) or beginner player. We always feel just a tad bit “lacking” in improvement despite all of our best efforts. The truth is that we have more than likely made more progress than we know.
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