Saturday, October 4, 2008

Banjo versus TV: Week 39

A weekly check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s resolution to spend more time in 2008 on his banjo than on TV. This post covers 9/23/2008 through 9/29/2008.
Banjo 256 hrs, TV 227 hours

I spent a chunk of time this week on a banjo-related woodworking project: I'm shortening the neck of a banjo. I've been taking pictures every step of the way and I'll post a thorough description of the project when I'm done. Update: I finished that thorough description of the project over Thanksgiving break. Enjoy.

Here's a peek at a prototype that I carved out of balsa wood.

Also in the last week:

  • Things I took away from this week's banjo lesson:
    • Dave heartily approves of a student rewriting materials. I've done this with my chord charts and with a few pieces of music.
    • I asked the question, "Why are the inlays on the banjo neck located where they are?" Dave said that the inlays at the 5th, 7th and 12th fret indicate the position of harmonics (AKA chimes) and he had me chime a little. (Which was pretty cool.) But he doesn't know why the other inlays are located at their particular positions. I'll have to look into it further.
    • We discussed mixolydian mode, which I'd learned about during this week's guitar lesson. Remember back in week 32 when I was discussing a Sam Bush recording of Old Joe Clark and I said...
      This is a great version for me to play along with at this stage in my chord control. It's in the key of D, which if this was a I-IV-V song would mean D-G-A. That would be bad, since I'm not good on the A chord. But it's a I-IV-flatVII, so it's D-G-C. And I know a couple of C chords! (Another song like this: The Rolling Stone's Great Expectations.)
      Well, that's mixolydian mode right there.
    • We talked about my guitar lessons and how I'm coming along with my ability to recognize guitar chords by sight. I'll be posting about those lessons and that plan soon.
    • Dave had me try out open C tuning. I didn't like it much. How the heck are you supposed to make a D formation chord in that tuning?
  • Another reason I prefer the banjo to the guitar: I've never dropped a pick inside my banjo and had to shake it out.

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