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Down Up Dick
07-07-2015, 07:39 AM
Well, my new Banjo is giving me the yips. For one thing, just before I bought it, I started a new jaw clenching problem: I can't tell which string I'm picking without looking anymore. In addition I don't always know which string I'm fretting, again without looking. And so, I went out and bought a Banjo with FIVE strings. What a dolt! And then, on top of all this, because of my cataracts (I guess), I have trouble focusing (close up) on my fretting fingers. Ahhh, ain't old age swell?

Ha! But think of Doc Watson! Totally blind, and he played guitar, banjo and God knows what else. I really enjoy his music. Maybe my whining is a bit premature.

So, anyway, on top of all the other stuff that I'm tryin' to cram into my head, now I've got Banjo rolls to learn. If learning new stuff is good for Golden Agers, maybe I'll be able to remember things one of these days.

I'd like to hear if other Seniors have stuff like this with which to cope? :old:

SteveZ
07-07-2015, 08:47 AM
I gave up coping a long time ago. I have everything tuned the same so it's just a matter of dealing with string feel and fret dustance. Life's too short to "cope"....

#4horse
07-07-2015, 09:14 AM
Fret not D.U.D. -- sorry for the pun. I think it happens to all of us from time to time, especially when getting used to a new instrument. When I started playing a baritone (tuned GCEA) my fingers didn't want to cooperate. At first my fretting and picking were all over the place on the baritone. I'd return to my tenor to rebuild my confidence and then very tentatively return to the baritone. Over time my coordination returned. Some players may have muscle memory -- I think I have muscle amnesia. :D

But sticking with it and playing the baritone has ended up making me a much better tenor player. Some barre and stretch chords that used to be really difficult for me are now much easier. Plus it's fun to play both sizes.

I've been trying to train myself to not look at my hand when fretting. I certainly make more mistakes, but I'm slowly getting a better feel for the fretboard. I've also found that my posture has a dramatic effect on the quality and accuracy of my fretting and picking. When my posture is poor I play poorly. I guess my parents were right when they told me to sit up straight. :)

I've also noticed that my fretting and picking are poor when I'm really tired. I love playing at the end of the day as a way to unwind from work. But when it's been a long or tough day and I'm exhausted -- and most in need of some relaxation and play -- I struggle the most. So I've just kind of accepted that those days are mostly for enjoyment rather than trying to tackle challenging pieces.

Down Up Dick
07-07-2015, 09:28 AM
I gave up coping a long time ago. I have everything tuned the same so it's just a matter of dealing with string feel and fret dustance. Life's too short to "cope"....

Yeah, I guess so, but that's just what I'm trying to avoid. I know someone who mostly just sits all day no interest in anything or anybody. Her hobby is going to the Doctor. Making changes keeps one loose.

Trying new things is supposedly good for old people. Playing the same instruments/music is a boring chore. :old:

Mivo
07-07-2015, 09:36 AM
I'm forty-three and feel like a senior every time I wake up in the morning! (And I'm surrounded, at work, by people who are 14-25, and they talk about bands and celebrities I never heard of, which further emphasizes the senior feeling.)

You sound pretty sharp anyway, so I'd not worry about some concentration lapses. I've had those all my life, and while I pick up some things quickly, string instruments definitely don't fall into this category. But that's why I went with it, because it's outside of my comfort zone. As you said, learning new things is the best thing you can do in order to stay mentally in shape. I think it's great how actively learning you are (more than me!), and that you don't run out of new things to find interesting. Keep doing that!

SteveZ
07-07-2015, 09:43 AM
Yeah, I guess so, but that's just what I'm trying to avoid. I know someone who mostly just sits all day no interest in anything or anybody. Her hobby is going to the Doctor. Making changes keeps one loose.

Trying new things is supposedly good for old people. Playing the same instruments/music is a boring chore. :old:

We are always trying new things, as it seems the instrument inventory keeps changing...

What's amazing is it's always younger folk telling me what's good for me or in my best interest. How do they know? As I tell them, "The road you have yet to travel, I've already successfully traversed. You still have to prove yourself!" Credibility is lacking when the advice comes solely from a theoretical peseprctive.

Down Up Dick
07-07-2015, 09:52 AM
Fret not D.U.D. -- sorry for the pun. I think it happens to all of us from time to time, especially when getting used to a new instrument. When I started playing a baritone (tuned GCEA) my fingers didn't want to cooperate. At first my fretting and picking were all over the place on the baritone. I'd return to my tenor to rebuild my confidence and then very tentatively return to the baritone. Over time my coordination returned. Some players may have muscle memory -- I think I have muscle amnesia. :

But sticking with it and playing the baritone has ended up making me a much better tenor player. Some barre and stretch chords that used to be really difficult for me are now much easier. Plus it's fun to play both sizes.

I've been trying to train myself to not look at my hand when fretting. I certainly make more mistakes, but I'm slowly getting a better feel for the fretboard. I've also found that my posture has a dramatic effect on the quality and accuracy of my fretting and picking. When my posture is poor I play poorly. I guess my parents were right when they told me to sit up straight. :)

I've also noticed that my fretting and picking are poor when I'm really tired. I love playing at the end of the day as a way to unwind from work. But when it's been a long or tough day and I'm exhausted -- and most in need of some relaxation and play -- I struggle the most. So I've just kind of accepted that those days are mostly for enjoyment rather than trying to tackle challenging pieces.

Thanks #4horse (good name) for the pun and for your kind words. Yeah, I think having a lot of different size Ukes can cause one's fingers to go woggley (just messing with spell check) when fretting.

I don't usually play in the evening because (I think) dinner takes the blood away from my brain to use for digestion. Consequently, I usually don't play well after eating. The other times when I don't play well are caused by being hungry.

Although I've broken my own rule, I wonder why we have to have so many different Ukes, but this question has been hashed out before on the UU. I guess we do because we do.

Well, thanks for posting--post again. :old:

Down Up Dick
07-07-2015, 10:06 AM
I'm forty-three and feel like a senior every time I wake up in the morning! (And I'm surrounded, at work, by people who are 14-25, and they talk about bands and celebrities I never heard of, which further emphasizes the senior feeling.)

You sound pretty sharp anyway, so I'd not worry about some concentration lapses. I've had those all my life, and while I pick up some things quickly, string instruments definitely don't fall into this category. But that's why I went with it, because it's outside of my comfort zone. As you said, learning new things is the best thing you can do in order to stay mentally in shape. I think it's great how actively learning you are (more than me!), and that you don't run out of new things to find interesting. Keep doing that!


Sometimes we compare ourselves to the others around us, and that's not productive. You were that age once too, and you did what you did. Now is now, so do what you like now.

I've had problems with stringed instruments too. I've played lots of wind instruments all my life, but. little by little, I'm gettin' my Ukes and my new Banjo.

Anyway, just keep on keepin' on. We got nowhere to but up. :old:

Nickie
07-08-2015, 03:18 PM
UDU, do you have the strap adjusted to the right length? Is the banjo too heavy? I practice fretting by closing my eyes. If standing is too hard, try sitting, or visa-versa....try different ways of holding the banjo too.
I found out that the banjo is too heavy for me, so we sold it a while back. Neither of us regrets it. The kid who got it plays the hell out of it.