Need Help PLEASE - First post

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Sashua, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Sashua

    Sashua Member

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    I am playing an acoustic guitar on stage and we are segueing into a song that requires me to play a banjo sound.

    I have no interest in learning how to play a banjo and I wouldn't have time to switch instruments anyway.

    Is there a pedal out there that has a patch perhaps?

    Any ideas on how to get a half decent banjo tone out of an acoustic/electric guitar?

    Thanks all!!!!!

    Russ
     
  2. Deville2Rocket

    Deville2Rocket Member

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    Good question. That sound is so distinctive, seems to me it'd be really hard to re-create it.
     
  3. BoyWearingVans

    BoyWearingVans Member

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  4. BoyWearingVans

    BoyWearingVans Member

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    Also, if you have access to a banjo, you can take the 5th string off, and tune the strings like the top 4 strings of a guiatar. D G B E

    then your guitar chords still work, you can slide an A Maj shape or a D shape up and down the neck. For minor chords use the A and D minor shapes.

    hope this helps.
     
  5. drolling

    drolling Member

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    I've had some luck simulating a resophonic guitar just using an EQ pedal to jack treble/cut bass & drenching it down with reverb.. You might be able to conjure up a banjo-esque tone in a similar fashion.

    BTW, Welcome to The Gear Page & best of luck with the show!!
     
  6. norumba

    norumba Supporting Member

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    i dont play banjo but i do play sarod, which is also a skin- covered stringed instrument ( in fact some sarods or sarod players can really get that banjoish tone, which is not a sarod tone i care for in most applications).

    What i have discovered in editing / premastering my own recordings is EQing out ( or once in a rare while -- earlier statement not withstanding -- bringing back in) those banjo ish tones, which seem to roughly span a spectrum from about 500hz to 1200hz. Lot of variables depending on instrument, room, mics etc. but that's roughly where you want to focus in on.

    Theres a snarly, nasaly kind of quality in that range that youre looking for; get a 15 or 31 band EQ to really hone in within that span, play with those ranges, adjust to taste. You'll start to zero in on what sounds right for you.

    i'd also experiment with some plate reverb settings, but tweaked quite a bit, to help recreate the drum head resonance characteristics.

    Probably most famous use of acoustic-guitar-as-banjo is in the 1965 Herman's Hermits song "Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter", where tissue or toilet paper was stuffed under the strings by the bridge to get that percussive banjo characteristic. live it was the dishrag-with-rickenbacker method, as seen at 5 seconds into this clip:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv8k0VI9tBc

    Barring the prepared guitar method, i think a good snappy compressor , on those chicken pick'n country ish settings... so much of the banjo's character is in the attack.

    Far and above all of the above, though, is to try and play and think like a banjo player would, rather than a guitarist playing a banjo part. Listen to a lot of banjo players, not for copping their licks, but a more meta-view; take in by osmosis their approach, their vibe, how they fit that instrument in their music, its role in it.

    Absorbing and transmitting some of that essence, that vibe -- rather than just imitating it -- will be far more convincing in the end to the listener than any gear settings you dial up.

    but both won't hurt either :)
     
  7. Sashua

    Sashua Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I have had a number of people mention the Mrs. Brown song to me as an example and I have tried everything from paper towel to candy wrapers, etc. but I am using an acoustic guitar and it is just a different dynamic (besides I have always felt that "Mrs. Brown" just sounded like a muted guitar...nothing like a banjo really).
    Norumba, I have a 31 band EQ and have been playing with it in conjunction with a noise gate and compressor. By cutting off the decay and sharpening the attack of the notes I have been able to get a half way decent banjo sound. It's just a complex group of pedals and settings for live performance and I was hoping to do this with a cheap, down and dirty korean circuit ;-)
    Going to check out that Line 6 now.....

    Russ
     
  8. jfromel

    jfromel Member

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    I think there is a Sitar pedal out there that may get you close
     
  9. thisfire

    thisfire Supporting Member

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    Yea, the Freakshow Maharishi is a siter-esque pedal that might get you close to banjo. The whole idea with banjo is killing pretty much all of the sustain...the notes decay crazy fast.
     
  10. Knuckles

    Knuckles Member

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