Lesson #059, Continuation of Vamping Discussion V

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #059, Continuation of Vamping Discussion V

Hi Everyone,

Before I start explaining this last technique I would like to talk/type about what I call "the circle of learning and teaching". This last technique of the right hand I learned from my nephew Mark. I showed Mark a few things when he was first learning to play the Five String, and after he had been playing awhile he showed me this technique of the right hand. This is what I call the circle of learning and teaching. I will say again that learning to play the Banjo is a continual process, and I think that teaching what one knows about the Banjo can only further the progress and process of learning. In this way, we will all help one another in our continuation of playing and expressing ourselves on the Banjo. I encourage all of you to show other aspiring Banjoists what you know. Always feel free to express your own thoughts and ideas on this site, because thats what this site is all about. Whatever instrument you are pursuing.

First let me say that this last technique is an advanced technique of the right hand. I'd rather that you don't get too concerned with this technique at this time in your playing. Concentrate on the three basic vamping techniques We just went over. The technique of placing your palm on the Banjo is used when your ears can hear the subleties of the vamping techniques, and these subleties take quite alot of practice to hear and understand. I use the palm sometimes in my playing, and only when I want to create that sublety of tone and lack of resonance of the Fifth string. Most of the time the overtones of the fifth string add to percussion of the vamps, and is vaguely noticable to ear.

I'd like to say a little bit more about the x and y positions. You can hear in the video for yourself what occurs when you slide your right hand closer to the neck. The sounds of the strings become mellow. You can use this sliding of your right hand to great effect when playing backup. I slide my right hand in this fashion to create different sounds within my backup and you can experiment too with the x and y position. I will be talking about this more in future lessons.

Also I'd like you to practice the vamping techniques using the same chord formations on the fingerboard. You can start with the 4th string formation and play the G , C and D chords using the that same formation. You should also practice using the 3rd and 2nd string formations in the same fashion. Again this is going to get you very familiar with the Banjos fingerboard.

I know this sounds like alot, but it will help in our continual process of learning and expressing ourselves on the Five String Banjo.

Good Luck in your Vamping All,


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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.