[Dixielandjazz] More on banjo's

Bill Gunter jazzboard at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 5 17:02:05 PST 2005

Hi all,

John Pembery writes:

>I believe that the function of the banjo is to provide a rhythmic harmony,
>which in conjunction with the bass player , will provide a background for
>the front line instruments to strut their stuff.
>If you wish to use the banjo as a front line instrument, then by all means
>use a five stringer picking single notes.
>However a four string player can take solo breaks playing chord melody, if
>he needs to.

I feel John's view of the capabilities of the plectrum banjo in the area of 
playing melodies is a little harse.

Banjos (all banjos, tenors - plectrums - five strings - those tune like a 
guitar - etc.) are perfectly capable of playing wonderful melodic leads in 
the hands of capable musicians.

May I aver there are NO restrictions melodic wise on any stringed instrument 
in pantheon of fretted and unfretted multi stringed instruments!!!

Got any pronouncements on, say, mandolins, John?  Are they restricted to 
playing chords or can they play melodies?  How about lutes, ukuleles, 
balalikas, sitars, tenor guitars, guitars, double basses, etc. etc. etc.?  
Is there any question about the abilities of the soloists to take melodic 

It really has nothing to do with lthe instrument, rather look to the 
musician for virtuosity in drawing out creative melodic lines from ANY 
instrument he/she chooses to play!

Respectfully submitted,

Bill "twanger" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com

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