Any 5-stringers out there?

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brewerpaul
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Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by brewerpaul »

After seeing The Punch Brothers live, Noam Pikelney got to me and I finally succumbed to the urge and got a 5-string banjo. I ended up choosing an Epiphone MB-100 open back. For $179 including shipping I'm really happy with it.
I'm starting out with clawhammer style which seems to me to be easier to learn than Bluegrass style. A week into it and I can play quite a few 3 chord wonder tunes and am having a blast.
Do we have any other 5 string banjo players here?
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by Tim2723 »

I have an Epiphone five-banger as well. It's the Scruggs model (resonator back, weighs a ton). I never got into it, but I re-tuned it in Chicago style and use it as a chordal machine. I've been thinking of selling it for years. Wish I'd known you were in the market.
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by Feadoggie »

Enjoy your banjer, Paul!

The poor banjo is so much maligned. I am in agreement with Pete Seeger though who used to say something like "If everyone were handed a banjo when they were born, we'd put an end to war".
It can really be a "happy" sounding instrument.

I've played for many, many years - blame it on Pete. Started out playing folk songs in frailing and claw hammer styles. I started playing Scruggs style because of that blasted TV show theme - "black gold, texas tea". Then I got into bluegrass, rock-grass, psycho-grass, Dawg Music, and new grass over the years. I was a camp follower of Tony Trischka, Bill Keith and Pete Wernick (aka:Doctor Banjo) in my youth. I loved the balance between old and new styles that John Hartford represented. His "Aereo-Plain" LP was a game changer. I kept the banjo "rolled up and stashed behind the couch" for many years after that. I met Bela Fleck when he was a young guy starting out and was flabbergasted by his timing and dexterity - became one of his camp follower then. I like the Punch Brothers a great deal (ran into Thile when he was a young teen). They follow on in the (non-)tradition of the Grisman bands and others like Strength In Numbers. Noam Pikelny is one of the best of this generation. Let's see where he can take the instrument.

I don't play Irish music on a banjo though. Don't know why really.

I've owned too many banjos to talk about. The five strings I play are a 60's Gibson and an S.S. Stewart Special Thoroughbred from the late 19th century classical banjo period. I have a decent Japanese made RB copy from the early 70's that is my beater.

The Epiphone should be a solid instrument for you. Enjoy!

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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by Thomaston »

Yep, I play too. I actually discovered Irish music thanks to clawhammer.
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by MTGuru »

I used to play a bit of OT clawhammer, not too badly. But I kept tearing up the banjo with those prongs. Maybe I should have stuck to ball peen instead.
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by Feadoggie »

Banjo jokes, yeeeeshhh! :)
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by An Draighean »

I'm an old 5-string player from way back, been playing bluegrass (Scruggs style) since about 1970, though I've hardly touched mine in the last few years and not at all since I took up piping.
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by brewerpaul »

Tim2723 wrote:I have an Epiphone five-banger as well. It's the Scruggs model (resonator back, weighs a ton). I never got into it, but I re-tuned it in Chicago style and use it as a chordal machine. I've been thinking of selling it for years. Wish I'd known you were in the market.


That's OK-- I was interested in an open back model and that's what I got. I was in the local music store and they had some Epi resonators in so I tried out my newly acquired chops on it. It sounded good (and loud) but holy moly, was that thing heavy! I'm happy with what I got.
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by robert schuler »

Paul, welcome to the wonderful world of banjo. I'm farmer bob at BHO and FHO.. I been playing banjo most of my life. My hobby is building open back banjos. I just finished two longnecks, and I'm now building a fretless. Since you already are skilled at playing music I think mastering the banjo should be easy.... goodluck.... Bob
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by brewerpaul »

Bob-- do you have a link to your openbacks? I'm happy with my Epiphone, but in the future, you never know...
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by brianormond »

-Been playing, fitfully, for 43+ years on various 5-string banjos and banjo-shaped objects. Current crop is two Bart Reiter open backs and one resonator Deering, all well loved. Not as good nor having as broad a repertoire as the decades could suggest but enjoy old-timey stuff immensely in three-finger style both with picks and bare fingers. -In awe of Dan Levenson and Mark Johnson among many others. (and proud owner of Water Weasels in low G and Bb) There are times only a banjo can scratch that itch.

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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by Greg Connor »

Yes me too. I have two Deerings, an open back and a resonator. Lots of fun!
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by Thomaston »

http://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/music.asp?id=5401

There's a link to my Banjo Hangout profile, it's got some recordings I did back in late 2006 / early 2007. That's right around the time I started learning the whistle (followed later by tenor banjo, mandolin, & bouzouki), so my 5-string playing has suffered ever since. I really need to get back into playing more.
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by crookedtune »

I play old-time banjo, both clawhammer and two-finger styles.

I have an old Vega Tu-Ba-Phone that I've owned for about fifteen years, and had a self-built Stewart-McDonald kit banjo before that. I play banjo less than I used to, (as I've been working hard on ITM flute and whistle for about eight years now), but I still enjoy it.
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Re: Any 5-stringers out there?

Post by 5 string fool »

I started playing banjo many years ago when my boss at the music store where I was teaching guitar asked me if I taught banjo. I said no,and he handed me a 5 stringer and said "Now you do." I took the thing home and mucked around with it till I had the basics down-as a Classical guitarist the right hand was pretty easy for me. Over the years I delved into Scruggs style and became semi-proficient. Then, a few years ago I got bitten by the Irish Traditional Music bug and started trying to play Irish dance music on the 5-string. I know,I know-its the wrong kind of banjo but I enjoy a challenge and besides its the kind I have. I use an unconventional technique using 4 fingers on the right hand and a combinaton of single string Don Reno style and Keith melodic style. Currently I am trying to add the r.h. pinky with a backwards fingerpick to play a bastardized clawhammer as well. If this all sounds pretty strange I'm not surprised .To top things off I'm also trying to teach myself the fiddle. I would be very interested in hearing from other 5 -string players of Irish music . I know there are some very good ones out there and it would be cool to swap ideas with anyone- not to hijack your post Paul , this just seemed as good a place as any to have this conversation.
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