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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:46 pm 
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Ok everyone, I've been mulling an idea and wanting to run it by people here to see if it sounds like a good or bad one.
I played Old Time music clawhammer/frailing style on 5-string banjo prior to getting my first whistle and switching over primarily to Irish music. Since then I've taught myself a good bit of mandolin/tenor banjo/bouzouki and attempted flute and fiddle (off and on). These days I've settled into the combo of whistle/mandolin, and GDAD bouzouki at sessions.
Frankly I love doing accompaniment every bit as much as melody playing when I'm at the weekly session.
Lately I'm getting back into frailing again, and it has struck me that it can make for a nice accompaniment, at least for reels and hornpipes (6/8 jig signatures are a bit tricky). It's certainly not a unique concept, but most people tend to put more of an American Old Time spin on it.
I think it could be interesting to use it as a counterpoint style of accompaniment (aka Donal Lunney) with traditional melody instrumentation.
Now I'd never presume to try to use this in sessions as a guitar/bouzouki substitute, but it might make for an interesting set of recordings.
My crazy idea is to do exactly that. I have access to recording studios. I'm seriously tempted to make an album of ITM duets of various instruments with 5-string banjo accompaniment. I don't consider myself good enough at melody instruments to record myself, but I certainly have access to some fabulous players. It would very likely take a long while to put this together, including working up tasteful accompaniment that doesn't transform the tune into an Old-Time "fusion" type of sound. And, of course, making sure the tunes used are open source! But I have a fire in me to at least TRY it.
My question is, would people be open to it? Does it sound like something you might like?
Here's a couple of videos of Irish tunes on a 5-string to give a rough idea of what I'm talking about.

https://youtu.be/aLWwISrOY84

https://youtu.be/Z2S6TbvWxBU


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:27 am 
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is this of interest?
6/8 clawhammer technique

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUvrRjBYnZE


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:53 am 
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You may want to look up players like Lena Ullman, Tom Hanway and Dave Harper, who are doing things like that. There are one or two others I have seen/heard but can't think of the name(s), right now.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:09 am 
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Thomaston wrote:
My question is, would people be open to it? Does it sound like something you might like?


My first (gut) reaction was negative, but...


Thomaston wrote:
Here's a couple of videos of Irish tunes on a 5-string to give a rough idea of what I'm talking about.

https://youtu.be/aLWwISrOY84

https://youtu.be/Z2S6TbvWxBU


After hearing those performances, I liked them much better than I thought I would! I was impressed.

I have always liked 5-string banjo (played Scruggs-style bluegrass for 40 years, and admired clawhammer), but didn't think they would be well suited for ITM. Possibly my prejudice stems from the time in 1976 or '77 that I found a 5-string banjo with a resonator in a music shop in Belfast (Matchetts?). Had an impromptu session of sorts in the store, but I had only just been introduced to ITM shortly before, and had a hard time figuring out how to transfer my whistle tunes to the 5-string.

At any rate, press on I say, if you can do anything like the folks in the videos.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:40 pm 
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brianholton wrote:
is this of interest?
6/8 clawhammer technique

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUvrRjBYnZE


I haven't seen that video before, thanks! He's right that 6/8 is doable, it's just so unnatural feeling in this playing style. His heavy use of hammer-ons and pull-offs make it sound good, though.

Mr. Gumby, thanks, I'll look into those players.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:22 pm 
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Didn't Tommy Makem play a 5 string banjo?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:54 am 
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Yes he did, so did Luke Kelly of the Dubliners, but they both predominately used them for song accompaniment, not for playing the melodies of Irish dance music. I'm not aware of any recordings of either playing reels, jigs or hornpipes, but am willing to be proved wrong.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:35 pm 
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A 5 string can sound very good for what
you're talking about. A friend of mine
would do that from time to time, Scruggs
style and claw hammer as well. He'd also
play tunes on it using all of the ornaments
that you'd hear on tenor banjo.He said that
the picking style for that kind of playing was
like what Don Reno used to do.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:40 pm 
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Two recordings I've heard nice clawhammer "backing" on:
Piper in the Holler, Timothy Cummings,
Frankie Lane, Irish Dobro
And as already mentioned Buffalo in the Castle.

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