As a child and young adult, I was most definitely afraid of conflict and competition. One of my favorite sayings—which also served as an excuse not to try—was “competition makes losers of all but a few.”
In a recent blog (What Is a Four-String Banjo?), I momentarily touched on a concept that I think deserves its own stand-alone blog: “Authenticity.”
As I have often stated in my blogs, I write to affect change and growth. In my wildest dreams, these changes would be in the banjo world itself.
What is a four-string banjo? Well, everybody knows that the banjo is that strange round guitar, best known for its 15 minutes of infamy in the movie Deliverance.
Hi, I’m Ron, and I’m a perfectionist. There, I’ve said it! I feel better already! Of course I write in order to figure myself out; the banjo is simply a cover of “legitimacy,” a public rationale for writing down and exposing my private thoughts and feelings.
As you undoubtedly know–if you know me or have read more than one of my blogs–I play the four-string banjo; this means I do not play Bluegrass, and may take offense (or at least frustration) if you request Dueling Banjos!
The Banjo Snob
Toward a more intellectual understanding of the banjo
[Note: For a complete listing of my blog posts, click on the Articles tab. For my lessons, click on the Technique tab.]
“Why The Banjo Snob?” you may ask; well, because I am one! I have this strange notion that the banjo—in all of its incarnations—is a real musical instrument, worthy of serious study, and even worthy of some “serious” music. The banjo is not generally seen as something to be taken seriously (or to be used for anything other than comedy); well, I take it way too seriously! Actually, I take everything too seriously, so there you have it!
Of course, I also have a sense of humor, twisted as it may be—and am not afraid to laugh at myself—so the title The Banjo Snob is also meant to poke a bit of fun at those of us who do take things too seriously! Who knows, maybe the banjo is just a simple, “fun” instrument after all, unworthy of serious study (and maybe life shouldn’t be taken so seriously). . .did I say that? I grew up with the banjo-as-entertainment device, so I have some thoughts about that admittedly more-popular aspect too.
My life revolves around the banjo—you might say I have a “banjo-centric” view of things. Because of this, most everything I do—even the never-ending search for self—is seen by me through banjo-tinted glasses. If you want to know what I really feel about the banjo and life in general, you need to know me!
Anyway, you’ll find my frequently-updated blogs on various banjo/music/life subjects (things that matter to an old banjo snob like me), an archive of my old Resonator and BMG articles, and video tutorials covering various techniques (some covered in BMG magazine). Since I self-published a method book (The Plectrum Banjo: Beyond Chord Melody—limited printing of 110; did you get yours?), and co-edited another for the Clifford Essex Music Co. LTD (Plectrum Playing for Modern Banjoists), you’ll also find extra material and FAQs for them. I play and write about the four-string plectrum banjo specifically, but a lot of the material here can be applied to all types of banjo (and music in general for that matter).
I’m just getting started, so I don’t have everything up and running yet; check back in occasionally, or maybe even subscribe to my blog so you can be notified when I do post things.