Obviously this also could be titled “I Spoke Too Soon.”
Yes, friends, Robert Frost’s Banjo is back, refreshed from the vacation! I really didn’t anticipate this back in August—or through most of 2013, in which I was anticipating shutting the blog down. But a while ago, I realized my main contributions to the Facebook universe were music postings—& it occurred to me that I could be doing this on the blog & maybe do some other writing besides. So here I am.
Robert Frost’s Banjo will continue to be the same in its broad outlines. However, I did learn a lesson from the past year or so that really only sunk in when I’d stepped away from the blog: the tight scheduling of weekly series was a great thing at one time, but it also has a limiting effect; so while I’ll still be writing about many of the same topics (& some new ones as well, I hope), there will be no ongoing weekly series. They do tend to defeat the notion of “A miscellany like Grandma’s attic in Taunton, MA or Mission Street's Thrift Town in San Francisco or a Council, ID yard sale in cloudy mid April or a celestial roadmap no one folded.”
So I hope to return to more of that original miscellany idea—but don’t worry, there will be plenty of guitars & banjos & the like in all their amazing incarnations. I’m also really happy to let you know that the four poet contributors, Barbie Angell, Carmen Leone, Mairi Graham-Shaw & AK Barkley will be back, though poems will appear just a couple of times a month rather than weekly.
Anyway, for today I have a wonderful guitar duet featuring the father & son jazz guitar team Bucky & John Pizzarelli. But in addition to being a rousing duet on the perennial crowd pleaser, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” note that both men are playing seven- string guitars.
Of course the quest to extend the guitar’s range is a seemly endless endeavor; & if you take the time to read the Wikipedia article, you’ll find that seven-string guitars have been around for a good long time. In terms of jazz guitar, they first caught on with George Van Epps in the 1930s, & while they aren’t uncommon at jazz gigs anymore, for a long time Van Epps & Bucky Pizzarelli were the main proponents of this type of instrument. The advantage is more bass—the seventh string is typically tuned down to a low B, just as a five-string electric bass will have a B on the fifth string. This means that the interval between the seventh & sixth strings (typically an E) remains the same for the added string—a fourth, as is the case with all the strings in standard tuning except for the third to second strings, in which the interval is a major third.
Seven-string guitars are used in many forms of music—jazz, classical, & more recently, even in rock & heavy metal. In fact if you search for images of seven-string guitars online, the photos of seven-string solid body electrics tend to predominate.
So: something that may be new to some of you! A happy New Year & thanks for coming back to Robert Frost’s Banjo!
Image links to its source at the top1000songs blog