Lesson #012, John Henry I

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #012, John Henry I

Hi All,

This is where you start to pick on the banjo. Take your time and go very slowly when you are starting out. Dont be in a hurry so as to play the song too fast, because timing is what you are striving for. A song or a tune doesnt have to be played fast for it to sound good or even to achieve Drive if thats your goal. Always strive for good timing and clarity of your notes. Try to make your notes sound as clean as you can. Be careful to get the proper fretting with your left hand to achieve that clarity. Remember to place your fingers just behind the desired fret. When I referred to the term "Drive", to me that means that the sound of what you are doing has great momentum and purpose, like a freight train rolling down the tracks. A train doesnt have to go fast to get to its destination, but along the way it always has great purpose and momentum. I have to say as well that a song doesn't need to be played with Drive all the time. Sometimes a song or tune doesnt call for drive, but maybe a different feel to get the desired sound and feel that you are trying to achieve in any given arrangement.

Rock On Everyone,


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In 2009, at the age of 60, I decided to learn to play the 5-string banjo. I searched the internet for lessons and struck gold when I found David Cavage's free banjo lessons at Musicmoose.org. His video hosting site revver.com was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. Revver.com stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, Musicmoose.org is no more. I contacted David early 2020 and he told me he no longer had the original master videos and feared they may have been lost forever. This amazing course of free banjo lessons, from absolute beginner to advanced player, is too good to be forgotten, so this is my attempt to get David's work back out there again so that he can teach, inspire and spread the joy of banjo pickin' to more generations of budding musicians, just like he did with me. I've rounded up all the Moose stuff I could find and put it here, so start pickin' and enjoy!-------MooseHerder.