Danny Barnes
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Q

What advice do you have for someone who is teaching himself to play the banjo?


Danny Barnes responded on 11/07/2018
A

well side note, there is no need to do this. you CAN of course. the problem is, it takes a lot more time to do it that way. someone that knows what they are doing can show you one thing that will safe you decades of time. but nonetheless here you go: a.figure out how to make a good sound with your hands. try to play every note on your banjo where it makes a good long sound. clear. b. get your chords and scales together. c. a good idea is to learn some vernacular styled music. one reason is, you don't have to ALSO learn/create/find the music you are trying to play as you are figuring out how to play a banjo and you can just PLAY. that way you are only doing one thing not two. there are tons of resources for this. d. record yourself and see if you can make a good sound. e. the two basic ideas are melody and rhythm chords. at first you might try to be really clear about which of these you are doing.
hope that helps!

Q

Do you live in the Pacific Northwest.... and do you give private lessons?
I'm on ArtistWorks with Tony Trishka and play the banjo.


Danny Barnes responded on 11/03/2018
A

i do live up by seattle. i don't teach privately but i'm thinking about maybe opening a teaching studio. but for right now you'd have to see me at a camp or my lessons on peghead nation.

Q

Hi Danny,

Really enjoying your current output and looking forward to next record. I've really been digging the echo session you did on YouTube. Great set and I love your guitar playing. I was hoping to ask some geeky questions about that.

I've recently got myself a banjo caster. I've heard you in interviews saying that you approach the guitar/ barnjo like a six string banjo but do you notice any changes in how you play?

For instance, I see you still wear picks- do you find you alter the angle of your right hand? Guitars are normally more parallel to the ground.

Also are there banjo things that you find don't work so well?- I've found Keith style banjo gets quite muddy/murky.

Thanks as ever for your time; I'm sorry that this might be interesting for me only.

Ritchie


Danny Barnes responded on 11/03/2018
A

you have to palm mute than kinda stuff. if you watch videos of pedal steel guitar guys, they use that "arpa" technique on their instrument and that's what they do.
i don't really drive what i do to much, i just kinda.....make a space and let something happen in that space. i try to make it sound good and if i do, i remember that..how to hold and hit the instrument etc. a lot of times i'm looking.

i use my fingers and picks {it depends on which videos you watch}. they do different things. depends on the song or idea. it's not so much that i'm thinking about what i'm doing, i'm just trying to make a good sound with whatever i have in my hands at the time, starting from space and trying to be in tune and starting with a good sound.

Q

Hi Danny, I am setting up a Bishline Harvest with LR Baggs pickup and venue preamp. How would you set the preamp as a starting point for the most natural sound?


Danny Barnes responded on 11/03/2018
A

well, a good research for you is exactly which frequencies each knob on the unit is ACTUALLY affecting.
generally just set it all flat first. it's kinda like making tea if you make it the way i make it you might not like it. but the banjo is tuned to G so lots of the frequencies that are multiples of G and so forth are gonna have little bumps depending. you can easily look up these numbers {frequency of exact pitch}. generally when you pick up a banjo you gotta rein in the high end if you dig. look for icepick trebly hurty at around 3K. look for body around 160 cycles. if you come up with a real crazy eq setting it's going to start messing with your phase, so ....best to let the surgical stuff go to the house guy or whatever. i think it doesn't wear the audience and you out both, if you soften up the overall tone. or darker rather than brighter. it's nice if it sounds like a real banjo except louder.

Q

I'm proud to be a Barnestormer


Danny Barnes responded on 11/03/2018
A

i appreciate your time. thank you for listening.

Q

how many shows is grant gordy playing with you


Danny Barnes responded on 11/03/2018
A

starting next year it will be billed where you can tell. we play when our schedules line up and he's a wonderful musician.

Q

Hey Danny, I think what you you did with Jeff Pinkus was bad ass!....and the Bad Livers are one of my favorite bands!
Are you going to be anything in Dallas anytime soon!


Danny Barnes responded on 11/03/2018
A

man i don't know, i think we're looking at something, but i'm not sure. but i get up there every now and then. thank you for listening. yeah jeff is a great musician and friend.

Q

Hey man, i saw yer doodle about masters/craftsmen/dabblers and it got me thinking. Would love yer take on two things. First being, do you think it takes more than just practice to become a master? Im not asking the 'born with it' question so much as the "lived it" question. Uh, kinda uh, maybe a good example would be john hurt. Theres a master in my mind, but the dude lived his life and maybe came out richer for not being in the spotlight. Musically richer. Hope that kinda makes sense what im tryna get at. Something about an ivory tower. Anyway 2) at the craftsman level, i think a lot of folks on the path know what they can do and know what they strive for and also kniw the distance between. How might you reccomend a middling player to have confidence in what they do while they strive for something better?

Hope this made sense, and i know, the answer is peactice. Listening, playing, writing, repeat. Some insight would be cool though

Thanks


Danny Barnes responded on 11/03/2018
A

shucks idk. based on the masters i have had the great blessing of playing with, i would say the prima materia has consistently been love of music itself first. and everything else kind of springs out of that. like, i THOUGHT i dug music till i hung out with these guys. so practice spontaneously occurs out of a love of music.
i don't think of john hurt as an out of spotlight person. example, i was able to find out about him in early 70's central texas with no internet. he made tons of great records and was hugely influential. he had lots of great festival bills and was well documented. to me and my friends he was a huge star i'd say. several guitar method books i had growing up he was the FIRST cat they hit in there. he was very developed musically.
in a sense we are all in the same boat. figure out an art you like and want to do or can do and get busy. what else is there? in the absence of inspiration learn some vernacular forms. something will happen if you study and work.

Q

Saw you in Northampton, MA a few years back. There were not many ppl at the show, but it was still one of my top 10 concerts! Thanks!


Danny Barnes responded on 11/03/2018
A

i'm glad you came to the gig. yes i'm a small artist, and most of my fans are all in bands. so mostly just musicians come. which is pretty cool.