365 DotU, Day 83: Lake Avenue Breakdown!

Well, not really, although I do have to thank my former academic assistant Chris for giving me the name of the first tune I will ever compose for banjo. Thanks, Chris! My neighbors will thank you, too! Their seconds will call on you later. I think you get to choose the weapons.

Oh, yeah. I have a banjo now. HA! BANJO! My power to annoy the crap out of people just increased a thousandfold! BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Check out this hawt banjo action, bitchez!

Cripple Creek Tenor (1)



ANYway…yeah, I acquired a sweet little 4-string tenor banjo (nothing fancy, just an entry-level Gold Tone number) this week, and decided that my first annoying act should be to use both the banjo AND the harmonica (for maximum annoyingness) on a cover of yet another Neil Young song that starts with the letter “H”: “Helpless”.

I must be the only idiot on earth who ever went from playing the tenor guitar to playing the tenor banjo — traditionally, it’s the other way ’round. I am also playing it wrongish here — tenor banjos are usually used as a rhythm instrument in dance/swing/jazz/dixie/whatever music, and are usually strummed with a pick. They don’t do a whole lot of single-note pickin’. That’s for the schmancy bluegrass 5-stringers.

For this recording, I used the banjo, harmonica, acoustic guitar, and bass (the only electric instrument I played — the drum loop doesn’t count, because I didn’t play it, so nyahnyahnyah). I layered 3 vocals for lead and harmonies. I still struggle with mixing this stuff, but it wasn’t too bad. I probably could’ve made the guitar and harmonica a little more present, but I kind of like the way it turned out anyhow.

Oh, the trouble I could get into with this instrument…


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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