Artistry of the 6-String Banjo
Renowned acoustic instrumentalist and songwriter Harvey Reid released his 11th solo album in 1995, a collection of 21 pieces played on 6 &12-string banjo. Artistry of the 6-String Banjo is the first album ever devoted entirely to this instrument, and may prove to be the definitive one. From Scott Joplin to old-timey to Bach to blues, jigs and rags, flamenco and Chuck Berry-style riffs, Reid puts this instrument through it's paces and demonstrates once and for all that the 6-string banjo is a real instrument with it's own techniques and repertoire. The 6-string banjo, essentially a guitar neck on a banjo body, has existed in a small corner of the music world for over a century, never having become either popular or rare. The instrument has been made sporadically by various manufacturers over the years, and is one of many members of the banjo family; the 5-string being the most common, followed by the 4-string (used in Dixieland and Celtic music), plus a number of unusual bass, baritone, ukelele and mandolin-banjos. Reid says 'Playing the 6-string banjo it is not simply a matter of playing guitar music to get a different sound, since it responds very differently than a guitar. It seems to frustrate both banjo players and guitar players, who can't seem to make it sound like either instrument. Though the 6-string is often ignored as a mutant hybrid, I find it to be an alive, subtle, sensitive and expressive instrument with many voices, capable of expressing the various moods of classiccal, folk, old-time, bluegrass, celtic, ragtime, blues, and even rock & roll music. I have been constantly surprised by what music works well on it, and also by what doesn't.' Artistry of the 6-String Banjo showcases Reid's arrangements of traditional pieces as well as his own compositions, and includes 3 cuts with 12-string banjo (*), including a slide blues, 4 selections he has previously recorded on guitar, as well as 7 written for the banjo. Reid attributes his success with this instrument to his 25 years playing fingerstyle & flatpicked guitar, bluegrass, blues and Celtic music, his invention of the use of a partial capo on guitar to achieve drone effects similar to a 5-string banjo.