Painful Brain

The plan today was to get The Daily Frail back on track.

That was the plan, but I woke up to one of the worst headaches I have had in a long time. The pain actually woke me up – and that is not a fun way to start the day.

I’m still hurting, but I don’t want to miss Monday Music Night. I’ve got two fiddle students, a mandolin student and a gang of guitar and harmonica students waiting for me to show up!

I will try to get things back on track tomorrow.

Like Ten Pounds of Manure in a Five Pound Sack

I took last week off so I could focus on writing, but I got sick on Monday morning – and I have been sick as a dog ever since.

Two trips to the emergency room later I am starting to get my strength back.

Dear Old Dad and I are making a road trip to one of the places Amy and I used to visit. I have been trying to get out with my camera for way too long. I want to see the snow geese while they are sill on the Eastern Shore!

Now I am going to watch a terrible movie with Pooka. My calico companion has been by my side all through my illness, sleeping happily on my pillow.

I should be back to work early next week.

God bless,
-Patrick

Back Soon

I am powering down my computer for a few days so that I can catch up on several offline projects.

The Daily Frail will return on 2/4/2019.

If you are looking for help with a specific guitar or banjo issue, be sure to look through the archives of our YouTube channel. with over 800 video workshops you are sure to find something to keep you busy!
thttps://www.youtube.com/user/Dobro33H/

See you next week!

God bless,
-Patrick

Little Banjo Dude!

A package arrived in the mail today.

I love unexpected packages in the mail, so this was already a good thing.

I opened the box and found a little wood carving of a banjo player!

Kerry carved the figure and wrote me a really nice note.

I love this – but so did mom. As soon as I opened the package she made a place of honor for the little banjo dude on her mantle – right next to her Wedgewood pitcher!

Thank you, Kerry. I will treasure this!

God bless,
-Patrick

Picks

I broke my frailing nail to the quick packing up to go home after Monday Music Night.

Part of being an old-time banjo player is being neurotic about your frailing nail.

I do not use my fingernails like flatpicks. I actually strike close to the middle of my fingernail. Even painfully short nails can produce good tone with practice. Long nails just make things a tad easier.

I do not recommend salon nails. I tried it and it was more uncomfortable than watching Basic Instinct with my parents. The plastic is so thick that it kills the tone of the strike.

The best solution I have found is a custom sterling silver frailing thimble by Ellington Silver Picks. The pick was hand made to fit the measurements of my finger and engraved with my initials.

The pick features a wide striking area with a downward curve to avoid getting snagged on the banjo strings. The interior of the band has a sandpaper texture to help keep the pick in place.

How does it sound? It’s not the same tone that I get with my unadorned fingernail. There is more volume and that seems to draw out the strong points of my banjo. It sure feels nice when the pick strikes the string.

The only downside to plying with a pick is that there is a chance you can catch the pick on the strings and send it flying through the air. It doesn’t happen often, but when it dies everybody knows it!

Do the picks need to be silver? Yes. I think they do. The picks have a lovely tone on steel string s without a lot of scratching, The material also forces me to be aware of where my picks are, so I am less likely to loose them or loan them out.

After using the pick yesterday to record The Daily Frail for my Patreon sponsors I was struck again by how good the frailing pick sounds. I think I will keep my nails short and my silver picks handy.

Ellington picks are no longer available, but I am sure there is a craftsman out there willing to make his or her own version of this amazing tool.

In addition to the frailing pick I was also given a silver fingerpick and bladeless thumb pick. The are awesome on my Dobro resophonic guitars!