judifilksign: (<3 banjo)
 I was able to slowly pick out melody on Burton tonight.  I played simple nursery songs from the Wee Sing books.  I am so happy, I could cry!  I didn't play for very long, only fifteen minutes, and carefully.

It's weird, though:  my vee shaped scar on my thumb, usually white in color, is bright red.  It's sort of smiling at me.  It doesn't hurt, though, it's just glowing.

My goal is to be able to play again by OVFF.  Two months.  I can do it, I know I can.  (I was worried a bit that I'd never play again.)
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Doctor's visit today.  I really blew off January as far as doing what I needed to diabeticaly and diet-wise.  Back on track in the past couple of weeks.  Test numbers weren't great, but certainly better than I had been dreading.

Dropped my banjo off at the guitar maker shop recommended by [livejournal.com profile] robin_june  and [livejournal.com profile] braider   It was with a pang I left Burton at the shop, but I believe in good hands.  The gentleman checking it in said the proprietor had a tenor banjo just like it.  He said it would probably be looked at first thing tomorrow morning, as the luthier "saves" special vintage instruments for first thing as a treat, and to make certain of a long stretch of time to which his attention can be devoted.

Having a bit of time, I stopped by a Barnes and Nobles on the way to the doctor's, in order to pick up the latest Mary Gentry book.  In the SF section, I found A Local Habitation, by Seanan McGuire!  It's not officially due out for another week or so, so I was really excited to see it. 

While I was admiring it on the shelf with satisfaction, a random dude (Older than college, younger than me, but cute in a geek gamer way) came up to me in the store and told me that the elves in this book were "for the sh*t," and were written the way they ought to be, "truly terrible."  I looked at him oddly, and he said that elves weren't supposed to be sparkly and cute, but dangerous and terrible, and the author really got it right. 

He looked happy that I picked it up, and pushed for me to get the first one, which I was able to tell him I already owned.  I told him that if he wanted to meet the author herself, he should come to Marcon this Memorial Day here in Columbus.  I did not do the one-upmanship game of claiming to know the author, outwardly at least.

I've started reading it, and already like it bunches.  Off to finish it, because I don't like putting it down.

judifilksign: (<3 banjo)
I went over to [livejournal.com profile] braider   's house tonight, and met her lovely new kitty, (brave enough now to meet folks,) and had a BANJO lesson!

Having just re-tuned my banjo recently to Irish Tenor (same as mandolin), all my recent gains at home didn't sound very good (I know I sounded awful), but I have been given advice on the care and tuning of banjos, sites to check out on the web for music, the most common chords I really, really need to know, picking exercises, fingering exercises, arpeggio exercises, and learn-to-play-by-ear exercises.

I have DIRECTION!  I have drive!  I have a stretchy feeling in my left hand!  I am, despite not being very good at ANYthing yet, still insanely happy that I have things I can do and practise.

Thank you [livejournal.com profile] braider   !  I am full of great banjoy-ness!  I appreciate all the time you were willing to extend to get me fired up and going.
judifilksign: (<3 banjo)
I've been making noise with my banjo, and getting mad that my fingers aren't strong enough - and then finding that my guitar has improved bodaciously because my fingers are stretchier and stronger due to my banjo.  I can play F# and C# on the guitar at speed easily now!  Ha!  I'm cross training or some such nonsense.

Retuned the banjo to Irish tenor banjo:  G-D-A-E, which means I had to re-learn fingering for tune playing, but that I could play tunes that had notes below middle C.  Melodies are recognizable, and brighter in tone than they were before.

Chords seem marginally easier to play - that is to say, they sound more musical, anyway.  But the banjo is not used to the new tuning and is being quite stubborn about keeping it.  (Maybe I need Irish tenor strings?  Are there such differences?)

[livejournal.com profile] braider - (if you're reading this) could you tell me in which way you tune your banjo, so that before I get too far with my banging about, I can choose a style that you can give me tips on?  And get myself books to try to teach myself something in that style?  I find myself imagining that a musician in an Irish band might have Irish tenor tuning.  (Like mandolins.)

It remains amazing to me that something I'm finding so blasted difficult remains so motivating, even under the most crawling of progress.  I am also amazed that my family (including pitch-perfect Sparkle) have not yet really complained about my new annoying habit. 

Still, it may be a good long while before I pull out Burton's Banjo in public.  (It only took ten years for me to play my guitar in filk in front of other people.  Maybe I can make my banjo debut earlier - like by 2015.)  It sure isn't collecting dust.


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