I am packing up my banjo for Monday Music Night at Christ Fellowship Bible Church. Pooka doesn’t want me to go without her!
We leave for Johns Hopkins tomorrow morning around 3:00 AM. I have not been there for a long time because every visit turns into an exercise in pain. In fact, I used to call Johns Hopkins The House Of Pain after the classic 1932 horror film Island of Lost Souls.
So after a three hour drive into the nightmare landscape of Baltimore I’ll have a doctor up to his elbows in my ears in the House Of Pain, and then a three hour drive back to Crisfield.
It’s gonna be a long day. At least Dear Old Dad is going with me
People keep asking me how I can stay happy in spite of all the awful things that happen to me.
I think every musician has an instrument in his or her imagination that they can’t get their hands on. It could be a pre-war Gibson banjo, a classic Martin dreadnought or some other rare fantastical combination of wood and wire.
At this moment, my daydream banjo does not exist anywhere but my imagination.
I would like to get my hands on a seven string banjo. Six melody strings like a guitar and the seventh similar to the fifth string of a banjo.
Why seven strings? Well, an instrument such as this would expand the range of sounds you could draw from the instrument. You would have the option between open tunings or tuning like a guitar.
It would be a heavy instrument. The pot would have to be larger and heavier to accommodate the wright of the neck. A 12″ block-laminate rim would probably do the trick. A flathead or tubaphone tone ring for projection. A tube and plate flange to attach a heavy resonator. The rim hardware should be top-tension to simplify maintenance and setup.
The seventh string should run the entire length of the neck with some sort of capo system to make it easy to adapt to any key. the tailpiece could be patterned after the no-knot. No inlays other than a Celtic knot at the fifth fret, side position markers and a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign on the back of the resonator..
This idea is not entirely new. Banjos made during the classic banjo era sometimes had six or seven tuners on the headstock – but these extra tuners were rarely used.
I will probably never get my hands on this dream banjo, and that is okay. I already play an amazing banjo. My cup isn’t just running over, it’s practically a fountain! This imaginary banjo is just a thought experiment. Something to daydream about.
I found another SD card full of pictures . . .Continue reading
A fresh look at the basics of old-time frailing banjo.
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.
I missed this when it was first posted, and only found it today by accident. Harp and A Monkey from the UK created the soundtrack for this charming animation about Van Gogh’s love of Japanese art.
Van Gogh, Harp and A Monkey and Japanese art. It’s a trifecta of happiness!
Feeling better today I decided to treat myself to one of my favorite vegetarian snacks, Garden Salsa Sun Chips.
Unfortunately, Pooka has a weird affinity for these chips.
So tonight my cat and I reenacted the scene from Gladiator where the Spanish Roman character with an Australian accent fights tigers. It was a bloody and drawn-out battle with no clear victor until Pooka cheated and climbed down my shirt.
Now the two of us are sprawled out watching Jimmy Stewart talk to his Pooka in the classic 1950 film, Harvey. Life is good.