[Dixielandjazz] Re: Dixielandjazz Digest, Vol 27, Issue 12

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 6 10:01:30 PST 2005

"John Mumford" <john at jazzbanjo.com> wrote (polite snip)
> There is more to playing a solo than just picking a single string melody.
> The 5-string was a very popular instrument in the late 1800s and early
> 1900s. It was played finger style that gave it a different style than the
> bluegrass you hear today.
For a look at what some of the Rockers are doing with banjo, banjo/lute,
Mandolin, Pipa type instruments you banjo pickers might enjoy google
searching for Shamisen.

It is a 3 stringed sort of banjo from Japan. If you have seen Kabuki, you
will recognize it. Or check out the following:


There should be no hard and fast "rules" about how to play an instrument.
That is the personal decision of the player, or bandPERIOD

And we should remember that banjo was NOT an original Dixieland instrument.
Guitar was. Banjo came later after the first recordings were made because
guitar was incapable of being heard on records. (Lake double bass, hence
tuba) So there was no "original rule" to begin with.

Banjoists like Steven DiBonnaventura, or Bela Fleck, among others, can play
single string melody on stuff like Charlie Parker's Confirmation at
breakneck speeds. Or they can play chord melodies. Or they can mix it up. On
3 string, 4 string, 5 string, 6 string, or more, banjo variations. Who are
we to tell them they are wrong? :-) VBG

Guitarist's like Sonny Troy in my band, can play single string or chord
solos on any tune. He also sometimes plays single string like a 4th horn in
ensembles, in between chordal backup lines. To the great delight of his band
mates. Marvelous.

That's what jazz is all about. Doing it YOUR way. Just saw a pretty good
definition of "jazz" yesterday:  "Improvised, Creative, Music".

Steve Barbone

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