Reply To: Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Backup) Beginner Banjo

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Hello Mike,

First of all, you are doing great work with this website! It’s great for us non-Americans to have access to at least a “virtual” teacher. I also find the Guided Learning very usefull as before, I would scavange material from left and right, but the techniques and skills were not in context of the bigger picture.

My questions are a bit more general and not necessarily to this song, but I will use it as example. I have recently (~ 1 month) started learning backup, overall I have been practicing since May 2019. I used to play the piano (classical) when I was young (5 years up to 12-13) and it’s the first time I play anything at all after many years.

I still am not sure I fully understand the way I need to be thinking when it comes to banjo and especially backup. I have bought two books of Wayne Erbsen and while one of them is more focused on backup I am still unsure.

My questions are as follows :
*) If you are in a jam with random people and they play a song you don’t know. Are you expected to be able to play backup like in this example? Can you do it? After how many years of practice? This question is hypothetical, as I don’t know of any people to jam with, but I would still like to know how.
*) If you play this type of backup. Are you expected to be able to sing (assuming you can sing). Or in the case the banjo player sings, he/she resorts to vamping? Or it is a matter of level of skill more?
*) I try to practice at least 1H per day, more on weekends and on occasion in the week not at all. Assuming I am the least talented person on the planet, given your experience, how many years until I will be able to play like you.
*) How can I learn to play other types of songs, that are not bluegrass on the banjo? I am Greek, so I have some friends you play that type of music. How can I go about starting to learn to play Greek folk music on the banjo? Or is it blasphemy đŸ˜€ ?
* Is there a pattern of finding the base melody of a song, provided I have the tabs? In this case I am mainly speaking about bluegrass, but I assume you could bluegrassify other genre if you know the base melody.

I have more questions, but I risk you seeing it as a mountain and not replying.
Keep releasing information.