Hot answers tagged banjo
Playing As a supporting melody instrument, you should support the melody (without playing it). This means playing notes that fit well with the chord progression (as with soloing). As an example, if the rhythm chord progression is G, C, D (bear with me! :) ), then you should play notes that fit with G, C, or D. That means GBD during the G, CEG during ...
The Wikipedia article on banjos explains it thus: The modern 5-string banjo is a variation on Sweeney's original design. The fifth string is usually the same gauge as the first, but starts from the fifth fret, three quarters the length of the other strings. (The long-necked Vega Pete Seeger model starts the fifth string from the eighth fret.) ...
I play both fingerstyle guitar and clawhammer banjo, and aside from basic left-hand fretting technique, they are very different. Here are some ways in which learning the guitar first will actually make learning the banjo harder, not easier: On the standard five-string banjo, the top string isn't a bass string; rather, it's a treble drone string. If ...
In general, guitars are made to balance with the strap attached to the body (I know, it's a generalisation - one of my acoustics has the strap attached at the nut:-) - so altering that will change the way it hangs. Whether or not that is a bad thing is obviously up to you. I would imagine, even for an electric, that it shouldn't harm the guitar - the truss ...
There are common elements between both elements, moreso than between a cello and a flute for example, but there's absolutely no reason you should know guitar first. Experience with guitar would probably help to some degree with banjo, and experience with banjo would probably help to some degree with guitar. But that assumes prior experience. If all you ...
A banjo tuned to GDAE is known as an Irish tenor banjo. While your question explicitly asks for "what to play instead of chords", I found a pdf demo of an Irish tenor banjo chord book that may nevertheless be of use to you.
You could also use mandolin chord shapes and do a chop/backbeat thing like a mandolin, or appeggiate based on the chords. Keep in mind, you don't need to play all four strings; you can suggest the chord with one or two strings.
Don't just think about your left hand (chords). You can do a lot with simple arpeggios and other patterns in your right (picking) hand to make the accompaniment more interesting. Beyond that, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the (major) pentatonic scale. Finally, and I don't know what you mean by 'old-timey' but much of what is considered 'old-time' ...
Scruggs-style definitely does not require Scruggs tuners. Bill Keith also invented a similar device, but those are not required for "Keith style" (melodic) banjo playing. Even Scruggs rarely used them in his playing, and most listeners would not miss them except for on certain songs.
You can't do Flint Hill Special without them, but you don't have to play Flint Hill Special. I don't think I've heard Bela Fleck use them.
Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible