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Banjo library I can use in a non-bluegrass/country context?

Zardoz

Member
I have to perform this song with a praise band in church this weekend. As you can hear there is a banjo that is strummed and not just rolled. I would just learn the part and play it but I don't own a banjo so I thought maybe I could fake it with a v.i.

I've looked at Realitone's Banjo and the one from Bolder Sounds. They both sound nice but seem geared more toward a traditional bluegrass style. Would either of those work for this? Any other library I'm missing?
 

rrichard63

Perpetual Novice
Bluegrass banjo is played with metal fingerpicks. As far as I can tell, both the Realitone and the Bolder Sounds libraries are limited to this articulation. Both have a control called "mute", which might help some. But I own Bolder Sounds and can't seem to make the mute control do anything (that could easily be operator error).

The banjo on "I Am" is strummed with finger tips and/or finger nails. As the OP suggests, this is a very different sound. To my ears, the Cinematique library sounds a lot closer to it. Even though it's not nearly as detailed an instrument as the others, in a busy arrangement (and "I Am" is one), it might work pretty well. Emphasis on the word "might".
 

rrichard63

Perpetual Novice
Another possibility is 8Dio's Misfit Banjo -- it has a very old-timey vibe and purports to understand strumming in some way that the advertising copy doesn't explain. Although I own this, it will be much later today before I can try it with some simulated strumming.

UPDATE: Having installed this temporarily on my non-music computer, I think it is worth the investment ($28 US). The "strum" setting makes a very minor difference, but there's a "choke" setting that might really work for the sound you want if you layer it with a second instance with "choke" off. Or try layering the "mute" setting in the same fashion. Add in two microphone perspectives, and there's variety here to work with. You can't really judge any of this from the demo on the 8Dio website, so you would need to buy it to be sure.
 
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synthpunk

Senior Member
Another idea is to hit the pawn shops and see if you can find a beater banjo somewhere and this way play your own sound and make it the most realistic as possible.(I do see you have a time constraint this time though ) I use this approach quite often when there's not something out there good enough or appropriate. I play a mean Don Cherry piccolo trumpet now :cool: A warning if you don't already know banjo is one of the hardest string instruments to learn, but like just about anything you can fake it:grin:
 
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storyteller

Senior Member
It won't be out in time for your performance, but check out guitar-jo. It's a snap-on banjo pickup for electric guitar... seems like a really novel idea if it ever comes to market. They say fall of 2017 on their website.
 
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OP
Z

Zardoz

Member
Bluegrass banjo is played with metal fingerpicks. As far as I can tell, both the Realitone and the Bolder Sounds libraries are limited to this articulation. Both have a control called "mute", which might help some. But I own Bolder Sounds and can't seem to make the mute control do anything (that could easily be operator error).

The banjo on "I Am" is strummed with finger tips and/or finger nails. As the OP suggests, this is a very different sound. To my ears, the Cinematique library sounds a lot closer to it. Even though it's not nearly as detailed an instrument as the others, in a busy arrangement (and "I Am" is one), it might work pretty well. Emphasis on the word "might".
Thanks for the help. I watched a live video of the song and realized he's playing a 6-string banjo that's kind of a guitar neck stuck on a banjo body. So I definitely think the Realitone and Bolder instruments aren't going to work.

For $28 I might just take a chance and get the Misfit - looks like it might be fun to play with even if it doesn't work for this. It's not essential to the song that it have banjo, I just thought it would give it some fun flavor.
 

rrichard63

Perpetual Novice
Thanks for the help. I watched a live video of the song and realized he's playing a 6-string banjo that's kind of a guitar neck stuck on a banjo body. So I definitely think the Realitone and Bolder instruments aren't going to work.

For $28 I might just take a chance and get the Misfit - looks like it might be fun to play with even if it doesn't work for this. It's not essential to the song that it have banjo, I just thought it would give it some fun flavor.
You're very welcome. In spite of the too-quirky interface, some of the Misfit series have useful off-beat sounds.
 
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