Know When NOT to Play!

Red HenryRecently I was picking with some folks here in the local Winchester area. We were having a good time, but there was a discordant note. Or, actually, lots of them. And they were all coming from one player.

The trouble was that the banjo player played pretty loud lead all the time. He played during his own breaks, of course, but he also played during the vocals and during everybody else's breaks on guitar, mandolin, or fiddle. He just played and played, without any regard for what anyone else was playing. And that's impolite.

The reason it was impolite was that it covered up what everybody else was doing. (Well, OK, he didn't cover up the mandolin. The mandolin I was playing---Randy Wood #3---can be heard in any situation.) But this banjo player showed that he was NOT listening to the group, and NOT paying attention to anyone but himself. So the music was not as good as it should have been, although I don't expect that many others there realized the cause of it. After this banjo picker started playing I didn't stay in that situation very long, but excused myself and went home. And for some reason nobody else wanted to keep playing, either. I didn't blame them.

So---next time you're in a jam session, if you play banjo (or anything else, for that matter) don't YOU play loudly all the time. Realize that your picking affects other people besides yourself, and know when NOT to play!

Posted in By Red, jamming and tagged on by .

About Red Henry

Began playing mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and banjo in 1967-69. I married Murphy in 1974. We led the Red & Murphy bluegrass band, playing professionally, from 1975-87. Since then I've handled the technical side of Murphy Method cassette, videotape, and DVD production. When you call I usually answer the phone, and I'm normally the one who sends out the orders.

One thought on “Know When NOT to Play!

  1. Harold Sanders

    Very true. It kinda throws a blanket over the entire jam but I can understand from the learner’s stand point. It just sounds so good and he wants to be a part of it. This is still the learning process and the sooner he learns what to do or not do the sooner he will start really enjoying it. Murphy didn’t explain all this good enough to me on her cassett tapes but she really gave me enough to learn to play and I had to find out the other by experience. She does so good in her teaching that I have nothing but praise. SO THERE YOU HAVE IT

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