When I arrive in Benson in early February 2021, a guitar player challenges me to play “Dueling Banjos” at the first jam session that I attend. For almost a year, I have been picking and grinning my way to being a better banjo player. But in all that time, I did not even attempt “Dueling Banjos.” I swear then and there, that when I return for Winter 2020-2021 I will be able to duel with the best of them.
I find Tunefox, an online banjo course that has a special emphasis on learning “Dueling Banjos.” In addition to practicing many other songs each and every day with them, I always save at least 15 minutes for “Dueling Banjos.” I build my skills for this song measure by measure and feel good about my progress.
But by the time I return to Benson, I still cannot play the song completely through without having a tangled finger meltdown somewhere along the way. While I know the techniques and licks of the song, I need to get my timing right and my nervous digits under control. That requires finding a patient guitar player who will repeatedly play the song while I work to overcome my musical shortcomings (let’s face it, I don’t have time to fix ALL of my shortcomings right now so I will stick to the musical ones on this particular song).
Can you play Dueling Banjos? Can you ...?
My original challenger does not return this year. The only guitar player here who will admit to knowing this song is Sundance. He regrets admitting to having that knowledge almost immediately. I resort to begging him to put aside his mandolin and break out his guitar to give me some “real person” practice. Of course, I continue to practice every day with the Tunefox video players once I can maintain their speed. But that is not as much fun or as challenging as playing this song with a live person.
This week, with only days before all the musicians scatter toward cooler weather for the summer, I implore Sundance to give me one more chance to get this right and record my efforts. Pete agrees to apply his formidable video skills to making us look good. After several takes, I get enough of the song right, that I feel OK sharing it with my friends.
At the end of our video you will see big grins on both my face and on Sundance’s face. Mine comes from delight at having mostly played my favorite song right. I am sure that Sundance is grinning because he is thinking “finally, I don’t have to play this song anymore – thank goodness!!”
Pete’s excellent video is below. I sure hope you enjoy watching it as much I enjoyed playing this song for you. Thanks Sundance and Pete for your patience with my “project.”
16 Replies to “Musical Mission Accomplished”
OUTSTANDING my dear, nicely done, my hat is off to both you and Sundance. I have tried that song many times and cannot get it right on the guitar, you guys did great, all your practice paid off. If anyone disagrees with me hand them the banjo and tell them to HIT IT and see what happens. ;>) Enjoy all your post, you know that, but the music ones are really special, thanks to all of you for making it. From soggy NC. And hope you had a great Easter, HE HAS RISEN!!!! GOD BLESS
Jim & Sandy
Thanks so much for the support! I love making the music posts best too. I seemed to be terribly addicted to playing musical instruments. Guess it could be worse 🙂 Hope it dries out there soon. You and Sandy take care – love to you both!
You are one amazing woman! You did GREAT!!! Very, very impressed. Thank you for sharing your experiences (both good and bad), I look forward to seeing your adventures. Stay well,
Mary Miller (Rex Wellness partner)
Hi Mary – so great to hear from you! Hope all is going well for you. I sure miss my Rex friends!!
So happy to hear this, tears coming down my face, just reminds me how much we miss you.
Goodness, I miss you too!! You know any other instrument can dual with the banjo – wonder what dueling alto sax and banjo would sound like? :-))
Something to look forward to this fall!?
That was awesome!!!! Aunt Jeannette Said Great! Can ‘t wait for you to great home and play for us.
Glad you both liked it. I am so looking forward to giving you a concert in person this fall! Love you!!
Wow! This is fantastic! Love the music. Hope to catch up with you one of these days. Would love to see you.
Thanks – so glad you liked it. Maybe we can catch up with each other this fall when I am volunteering at Manteo.
Practice makes perfect…well, almost perfect. Great job. I admire your tenacity. Now you can try it with the fiddle! Give you something to do in your spare time. You’ve come a long way girl! I’m so glad we could get together his winter. Happy trails this summer and until our paths meet again.
Thanks for the kind words! So great to hang out with you and Rob this winter. Same to you til we meet again!
Are you kidding me? How did you learn that? Amazing! Loved it!
Marcia in Delaware
I learned it VERY slowly. But it sure is fun to play. Glad you liked it!!
You did amazing Sunny. That’s not the easiest of songs to play and you knocked it out of the park.
Thank you so very much!! Glad you enjoyed it!