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December 12, 2009 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Um, is this a real member, troll, or a sock puppet? This post seems to strange to be true....

It's amazing that people have entertained this post with 100+ replies, but are we being fooled?

Young male wants to send a special something to a young woman he likes...even despite the circumstances he mentioned. OKAY.

But a friggin' BANJO??? Especially with him saying that it would be hot to see her playing it under a tree. I don't know about this.

At least where I'm from, banjos are taken as a joke in just about any context. Something you'll hear playing in the background of some cheesy porno film.
posted by Eleutherios to Etiquette/Policy at 8:14 PM (152 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Something you'll hear playing in the background of some cheesy porno film.

For what it's worth, where I'm from this is emphatically not the case.

Anyway, he eventually realized the error of his ways so I doubt the post is in bad faith. A troll would have continued to goad us for as long as possible.
posted by danb at 8:17 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look, if my brother wasn't in his 40s and weighed down with the burdens of middle class life, I would totally suspect him of writing this AND wearing a trilby. And it's not just a tree, you know, it's a tree in spring sunshine, so it'd be dappled, like an impressionists painting. And he's not the first to think about it, as my second link shows, though of course, some of those pictures are not of banjos.
posted by b33j at 8:18 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Banjo + Porn = OH GOD NO MAKE IT STOP

But, like, um, you know MetaFilter Music? Yeah, um, lots of banjos over there.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:19 PM on December 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


People are a weird and varied and wonderful bunch. Some of them may be fakin' it for laughs, but there's nothing in particular setting off my warning systems.

Banjos are pretty great, for what it's worth, and I have never heard of them being used for porn music though I won't suppose that it's never happened. The noble synthesizer is your go-to cheesy porn instrument, AFAIK.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:19 PM on December 12, 2009


At least where I'm from, banjos are taken as a joke in just about any context.

You come from a bad place where people are bad.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:21 PM on December 12, 2009 [111 favorites]


That is the most perplexing question I've seen on htere in a long time. But I think it's on the level.

Something you'll hear playing in the background of some cheesy porno film.

what
posted by dirtdirt at 8:22 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think you may be male (I didn't go deep into your posting history, so I apologize if I made a heterocentrist mistake).

If you were a woman, you'd have no doubt this is real, as you probably would have run into this man or one of his brethren at least once in your life.
posted by availablelight at 8:22 PM on December 12, 2009 [40 favorites]


Banjos are fine. If he'd said "accordion" then I'd be sure he was a troll.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:23 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


The noble synthesizer is your go-to cheesy porn instrument, AFAIK.

Don't forget Softcore Saxophone and the classic Wah-Wah Guitar.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:23 PM on December 12, 2009


Also, a shiny new favorite to the first person to post some porno banjo to Music.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:24 PM on December 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


Some people are just fucked up. Also, banjos are not a joke and I've never heard of a banjo being in a porn movie. You do know what a banjo is, right?
posted by dead cousin ted at 8:25 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think you may be male (I didn't go deep into your posting history, so I apologize if I made a heterocentrist mistake).

If you were a woman, you'd have no doubt this is real, as you probably would have run into this man or one of his brethren at least once in your life.


Well, I'm a woman, but I'm not straight. I still get hit on by men, but they tend to be random strangers, and not guys that I know. So no, I have never experienced anything like this.

And RE: Banjo porn. It exists, yes it does!

There's a lesbian porno called "Where the boys aren't", and what you have? A woman going down on another woman while she's on the toilet with banjo music playing in the background! Mind you, this does not belong to me, and the owner of it didn't know such scenes were in the porno.
posted by Eleutherios at 8:29 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's obviously a sublimated wish that his lost love would be plucking his banjo string.
posted by Abiezer at 8:29 PM on December 12, 2009


I'm familiar with this type of person and I'm pretty sure this question is sincere.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:30 PM on December 12, 2009


Now I'm just wondering what a Metafilter porno would be like, and wishing I hadn't thought about it. I'm sure it would have lots of banjos, though. And fish in pants.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:31 PM on December 12, 2009


You gotta find your own accordion, man.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:34 PM on December 12, 2009


Googling "Georgina Spelvin", prompted by this post led me to a video clip that depicted Ms. Spelvin, in a hayloft, receiving a sound rogering accompanied by banjo music.
posted by electroboy at 8:35 PM on December 12, 2009


I'm familiar with this type of person and I'm pretty sure this question is sincere.

But this question, with its disturbing banjo references, must be fake.
posted by timeistight at 8:36 PM on December 12, 2009


I've never heard of a banjo being in a porn movie. You do know what a banjo is, right?

BanJ.O.

J.O. Get it?

Har, de, har, har!
posted by ericb at 8:36 PM on December 12, 2009


At least where I'm from, banjos are taken as a joke in just about any context. Something you'll hear playing in the background of some cheesy porno film.

I hope to one day study the curious musical and pornographic eccentricities of North Chicago.
posted by nanojath at 8:36 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you really want to craft a moment of serendipity for someone you should send them a tuba.
posted by nanojath at 8:42 PM on December 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


The noble synthesizer is your go-to cheesy porn instrument, AFAIK.

Not "Yackety Sax"? You watch some weird porn.

Now I'm just wondering what a Metafilter porno would be like, and wishing I hadn't thought about it. I'm sure it would have lots of banjos, though.

It would start when the portobello delivery man rings the doorbell, and someone lets him in only to find that he doesn't actually have portobellos, he has porcinis and doesn't know any better, and oh yeah he's got no trousers on. Then Mr. Mushroom Delivery Man and Madam Whoever would get full on robot naked, step into a bathtub full of beans, and trade sarcastic quips for several minutes until Madam Whoever announces that babby has been formed, at which point Mr. Mushroom Delivery Man must promptly vacate his parking space.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:51 PM on December 12, 2009 [18 favorites]


porno banjo is so totally the name of my sockpuppet account.
posted by palomar at 8:56 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


robot naked?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:58 PM on December 12, 2009


But a friggin' BANJO???

It's a hardcore tater.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:00 PM on December 12, 2009


Banjo + Porn=HOLY SHIT WE HAVE A NEW INTERNET SENSATION! This is how they got rich off of Mafia Wars!
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:02 PM on December 12, 2009


I totally understand what is going on inside his head. It may sound crazy to you, but inside his heart, this is love. Infatuation can be a powerful thing.
posted by niccolo at 9:11 PM on December 12, 2009

At least where I'm from, banjos are taken as a joke in just about any context. Something you'll hear playing in the background of some cheesy porno film.
I don't want to go where you're from. I want to be in exogenous' back yard listening to cortex play little e's banjo, like I did that one time.

I did, in fact, give cortex a package of cock later that evening.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:16 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've known people who would do something like this. I was surprised that people suggested the OP should get therapy (although, hey, it is Ask MetaFilter). To me, this does not suggest deep-seated issues, just naïveté.
posted by grouse at 9:17 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


So is banjo the new code for grilled cheese sandwich?
posted by netbros at 9:23 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


There was a creepy banjo guy in my dorm freshman year.

So I conclude that bluegrass is for pervs.
posted by bardic at 9:25 PM on December 12, 2009


I once was in a strip bar where a women writhed onstage to "Old Man" by Neil Young. Just that little bit of banjo, combined with the grudging lasciviousness of a pole dancer with her arm in a cast, was so disturbing that I have to assume at this point the memory of that night will continue to haunt me to the last days of my life. It's been about thirty years already. Please don't joke about porno and banjos. People can be damaged.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:29 PM on December 12, 2009 [19 favorites]


I think I may have "gifted a banjo" when I made some hand drawn postcards for my then-girlfriend. We broke up like a week ago, and now I'm very tempted to send her a banjo. Very.
posted by yaymukund at 9:30 PM on December 12, 2009


Years from now, the woman can think: "I was once thought beautiful, and was given a bango." And you can think: "Once, I anonymously gave a beautiful woman a bango."

Hmm, at first I thought "bango" was just a typo, but in light of the whole porn/banjo concept, I'm reconsidering....
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 9:32 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


So the boy could have his ukulady he offered her his manjo.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 9:38 PM on December 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Freshman year in college this Sad Kid talked my RA into opening the door to my room while I was away over Valentines' Day weekend. He left a dress on my bed. A cherry-print halter-top sundress from Hot Topic.

That sure was awkward! But at least he left an index card with a "Hope you like it!" and his name so I knew who the hell had done such a thing.

It took me like two weeks to work up the courage to return the damn dress. I think he cried a little. It sure was excruciatingly awkward!

If he'd done this anonymously I probably would have set up housekeeping in a shack in the deep woods, never to interact with anyone ever again.

Anonymity + strange gifts = Nothing Good, Ever.

I wanted to get that off my chest but felt like I'd be piling on if I'd left it in the original thread. MetaTalk has made me feel better.
posted by Neofelis at 9:45 PM on December 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


Since the banjo was actually a banjo in this case (and I agree with Jessamyn that the question was sincere) I think this means that taters are actually... taters.

So somewhere out there someone's boss is super into potato porn.
posted by kate blank at 9:46 PM on December 12, 2009


A fellow should hold off on banjo solos, at least until he's a fifty year old man. After that, what're you gonna do about it?
posted by koeselitz at 9:49 PM on December 12, 2009


Hey, cool. Sixcolors is back.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:52 PM on December 12, 2009 [16 favorites]


Neofelis: “Freshman year in college this Sad Kid talked my RA into opening the door to my room while I was away over Valentines' Day weekend. He left a dress on my bed. A cherry-print halter-top sundress from Hot Topic. That sure was awkward! ... I wanted to get that off my chest but felt like I'd be piling on if I'd left it in the original thread.”

You did the right thing; we should keep our banjo-piles and our dress-piles separate so that we can avoid unfortunate clothing or bluegrass accidents. However, in this case, I think you should just avoid the pile problem entirely and send the dress back to Sad Kid.
posted by koeselitz at 9:53 PM on December 12, 2009


We have a young male who is enamored with a woman he thinks is beautiful but is, for the most part, completely clueless about what (if anything) she would want from him. If anything, this is the most realistic AskMe I've ever seen.
posted by dhammond at 10:08 PM on December 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


I once was in a strip bar where a women writhed onstage to "Old Man" by Neil Young. Just that little bit of banjo...

Would it help if I told you that bit was played by James Taylor?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:09 PM on December 12, 2009


Banjos are awesome. Note to future exs: you can get me one, and since you're already reading this and thus probably stalking me you get extra points for delivering it in the creepiest manner possible.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:16 PM on December 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


*extra points redeemable for one restraining order.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:17 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Awwww. Happy ending! This is just like an After-School Special or something.
posted by ottereroticist at 10:19 PM on December 12, 2009


sigh - I think there was banjo music in that pornographic furry-bear movie that grumblebee or someone linked to a while back. Don't ask me why I remember this, because I definitely did not click on that link!!!!
posted by pinky at 10:21 PM on December 12, 2009



stupidsexyFlanders: “I once was in a strip bar where a women writhed onstage to "Old Man" by Neil Young. Just that little bit of banjo...”

Alvy Ampersand “Would it help if I told you that bit was played by James Taylor?”

stupidsexyFlanders: “... combined with the grudging lasciviousness of a pole dancer with [his] arm in a cast... ”

No, no, Alvy. That bit was played by James Taylor. And a very fine bit it was, I'm certain.
posted by koeselitz at 10:23 PM on December 12, 2009


There is a very good reason men do this, and I will tell you now: from a very young age, men are bombarded by the media with messages that women desire banjos. We are only filling the roles that society has created! It is this and nothing more.
posted by yaymukund at 10:28 PM on December 12, 2009 [10 favorites]


Is the woman in question named Susannah?
posted by Cranberry at 10:38 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Did you mean to post this to your blog?
posted by hermitosis at 10:48 PM on December 12, 2009


Shit like this is why dating blows.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:05 PM on December 12, 2009


I mean, seriously, this is some mad Manic Pixie Dream Girl projection. This fantasy is why that fucking stereotype exists.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:07 PM on December 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


Wow, it seems like the consensus is that the post is genuine. My bad.

We have a young male who is enamored with a woman he thinks is beautiful but is, for the most part, completely clueless about what (if anything) she would want from him. If anything, this is the most realistic AskMe I've ever seen.

Yes. Yes! But the banjo part? That's what threw me off. I'm not only talking about banjo porn, there's many other crazy things associated with banjos. And the possiblity that the OP beats off to the thought of this girl playing a banjo under a tree with her titties and hair flapping in the air.

I would say wearing a fedora (hey I read the archives, fun times!) has less weird associations than messing around with banjos.
posted by Eleutherios at 11:16 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Something you'll hear playing in the background of some cheesy porno film.

"Deliverance" is not cheesy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:17 PM on December 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


I actually want to get to know the individual who is trolling by making up elaborate stories about his bizarre fantasies of seeking closure in star cross'd affairs of the heart through the anonymous delivery of banjos. Because that shit is deep.
posted by nanojath at 11:21 PM on December 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


its too weird not to be true. Who could cook that up?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:21 PM on December 12, 2009


is this a real member, troll, or a sock puppet?

Often people here can be all three with no contradiction.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:47 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Eleutherios: Yes. Yes! But the banjo part? That's what threw me off. I'm not only talking about banjo porn, there's many other crazy things associated with banjos. And the possiblity that the OP beats off to the thought of this girl playing a banjo under a tree with her titties and hair flapping in the air.

Sometimes a banjo is just a banjo. Except when it's being played by Ralph Stanley.
posted by Kattullus at 11:52 PM on December 12, 2009


Often people here can be all three with no contradiction.

No. The Holy Trinity is only available to members who have reached Thetan Audit Five.

Which reminds Us, you owe Us $30,000.
posted by the Cabal at 11:55 PM on December 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


If it's not true, I'm going to need to put a halt on my BanjoGrams business plan. Shit.
posted by disillusioned at 12:09 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


But the banjo part? That's what threw me off. I'm not only talking about banjo porn, there's many other crazy things associated with banjos.

Okay, I snarked before, but really: many, many people enjoy the bluegrass and other banjo music. Your confusion appears to be caused by ignorance.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:34 AM on December 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Banjos are fine. If he'd said "accordion" then I'd be sure he was a troll.

Mama's got a squeeze box
She wears on her chest,
And when daddy gets home,
He never gets no rest
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:38 AM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi's "banjo-playing lady" comment nearly got Mr. F to sign up for MeFi under that username-- even though he is neither a banjo player nor a lady-- so this thread was worth it for that.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:40 AM on December 13, 2009


Sorry, my above comment came out snottier than I meant it. Also, I said "the bluegrass."
posted by Bookhouse at 12:41 AM on December 13, 2009


It would start when the portobello delivery man rings the doorbell, and someone lets him in only to find that he doesn't actually have portobellos, he has porcinis and doesn't know any better, and oh yeah he's got no trousers on. Then Mr. Mushroom Delivery Man and Madam Whoever would get full on robot naked, step into a bathtub full of beans, and trade sarcastic quips for several minutes until Madam Whoever announces that babby has been formed, at which point Mr. Mushroom Delivery Man must promptly vacate his parking space.

But first they have to declaw some cats. Yeah, baby.
posted by amyms at 1:05 AM on December 13, 2009


Banjos are a joke? Really?

Here's some SERIOUS FUCKING BANJO for you.
posted by tehloki at 1:09 AM on December 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


Also, I said "the bluegrass."

You said that as if it should be "teh bluegrass."
posted by amyms at 1:16 AM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


robot naked?

There's this bit in Bill and Ted 2 where Evil Robot Bill or Evil Robot Ted mentions that he's got a full-on robot chubby, because he is a robot. And is sporting a chubby. Somewhere in the past 18 years the expression "full-on robot" turned into generic amplifying language in my head.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:26 AM on December 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


There is something very pleasing about the 67 (so far) mentions of banjo in this thread

I think it's fake, not trolling fake but "hmm let's see what metafilter will do" fake. Banjo is a really weird thing to be offering as a gift (awesome? sure! romantic? what) and the user's account name is ARCHIBALD. There are only three genuine Archibalds left in the world and they are pissed at the number of snot nosed internet users who insist on stealing their name for 'highjinks'.

I can't have been the only one reading his post in a snagglepuss voice?
posted by litleozy at 1:42 AM on December 13, 2009


I think it's time we demand some innovation in porn soundtracks. Yes, banjos. But not just that. I'm talking theremin. Melodicas. Motherfuckin' glockenspiels. Make it happen, purveyors of fine pornography.
posted by naju at 1:56 AM on December 13, 2009


"Deliverance" is not cheesy.

I read the question and thought of Deliverance right away as well . . . even though I like banjos. Ergo it all came off as a little disturbing to me.
posted by bearwife at 1:58 AM on December 13, 2009


There is a very good reason men do this, and I will tell you now: from a very young age, men are bombarded by the media with messages that women desire banjos. We are only filling the roles that society has created! It is this and nothing more.

Funny, but if you were to take an alien (or a socially clueless young male human) and have them get all their ideas on human relationships from rom-coms, he would constantly be doing creepy restraining order-worthy things.
posted by atrazine at 2:37 AM on December 13, 2009


"Deliverance" is not cheesy.

Unless you're talking about the song by The Mission.

Here's some SERIOUS FUCKING BANJO for you.

I'll see that, and I'll raise you one Patti Smith.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:20 AM on December 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm a woman and I bought my own banjo. I love good bluegrass and Bela Fleck. And it's a really fun instrument to play.

If an ex had bought one for me, because he knew I wanted a banjo, I might have even kept it, because I really wanted a banjo. Although if it were delivered anonymously to my parents' house I probably would have freaked out. Also, I doubt that any of them would have been any good at picking out a good banjo and I probably would have ended up with a shitty "starter" banjo that sounded like rubber bands on a cereal box.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:12 AM on December 13, 2009


It's creepy as all get out if the planned gift was a resonator/closed-back bluegrass banjo. But if it were a Tubaphone or a Dobson openback, that would show true devotion.
posted by scruss at 5:13 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Were the strings of the banjo.

II
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
Under which there are three women playing banjos.

III
The banjo whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

IV
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a banjo
Are one.

V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The banjo playing
Or just after.

...etc., etc.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:24 AM on December 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


By the way, I lived in Chicago for most of the past decade, and met people who'd grown up in a bunch of different suburbs, and I have no idea where in Chicagoland people find banjos particularly hilarious, or where "I wouldn't date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship" is an acceptable, much less common, opinion. I am totally curious about this, because either I didn't get out enough or there is some secret underground village underneath Winnetka where all this is going on.

Eleutherios, I'd understand if you weren't willing to reveal your exact location, but if you are, care to enlighten me?
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:44 AM on December 13, 2009


"Deliverance" is not cheesy.

Heh. The other day, I saw a dude wearing a t-shirt that read 'Paddle faster, I hear banjos.'
posted by jonmc at 6:56 AM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Banjos are fine. If he'd said "accordion" then I'd be sure he was a troll.

Man, anyone can buy me an accordion any time. I am listening to accordion music right now. Accordions are a fine and lofty instrument, and at some point when I have enough money and leisure I plan to buy one and learn to play.
posted by winna at 6:58 AM on December 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


FWIW, Eleutherios, I thought your question about your racist girlfriend and whether you should break up with her was trolling.
posted by runningwithscissors at 7:03 AM on December 13, 2009


Laura Jane's Ban Shop for all your Stalking and Trolling Needs
We feature:

Banjos
Band-aids
Ban Hammers
Bantam Chicken Eggs
Band Saws
Ban Deodorant
Banquette Chairs
Banyan Tree Seeds
Banana Balloons
Ban de Soleil
Banoffee Pies
Banshee Recordings
Bandwagons
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:07 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a whole banjo porn section at my video store.

Bare Moon of Kentucky
Cripple Crack
Nine Inch Hammer
Wabash Cannon Balls
Will the Circle Jerk Be Unbroken
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:15 AM on December 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


Banwagons
posted by Pronoiac at 7:32 AM on December 13, 2009


Why is a banjo a difficult instrument to learn? Why is it more difficult than a guitar?
posted by jgirl at 7:35 AM on December 13, 2009


Okay, I snarked before, but really: many, many people enjoy the bluegrass and other banjo music. Your confusion appears to be caused by ignorance.

The only people I know enjoy bluegrass are over 40 or have really really eclectic tastes in music. I guess sometimes I forget that metafilter leans towards both populations. I'm sorry, but I still can't take a twentysomething male sending his love a banjo seriously at all.

Eleutherios, I'd understand if you weren't willing to reveal your exact location, but if you are, care to enlighten me?

I am from far northside, around the edgewater area. That's all I'm going to say. I get out and around quite often and never been any where I heard banjo music playing nor do I know anyone who listens to it.

Re: the bigotry I come across sometimes. Chicago is known for its segregation, I love the city but this is one thing I hate about it. I think Chicago's segregation is a result of underlying racial tension in the city.

Perhaps, this is a more "crowd" thing than a "location" thing. I think it is possible for different people to have different experiences in the same city.
posted by Eleutherios at 7:45 AM on December 13, 2009


Why is a banjo a difficult instrument to learn? Why is it more difficult than a guitar?

Because it's so freaking loud that you'll be banished from the house whenever you try to practice.

In my experience.
posted by ook at 7:55 AM on December 13, 2009


Why is a banjo a difficult instrument to learn? Why is it more difficult than a guitar?

The steel strings are basically knife-sharp and they'll cut through your fret hand like butter until you develop calluses. Also, there are a bajillion different types of strumming, picking, clawing, and other techniques on your picking hand to learn. Fuck the banjo. This comes from several years of trying to learn it.
posted by Think_Long at 7:56 AM on December 13, 2009


If you are strumming a banjo you are doing it wrong and you probably have one of those broken things with only four strings which are NOT BANJOS I INSIST
posted by ook at 7:58 AM on December 13, 2009


Why is a banjo a difficult instrument to learn? Why is it more difficult than a guitar?

I can play both, and the banjo is easier than the guitar in one sense. It's four strings (with a fifth acting as a drone), tuned to play a G chord when strummed open. If all you want to do on a banjo is sit on your riverboat and strum, it's easier than a guitar. If you want to do some bad-ass picking, that's going to be pretty hard. The distance between the strings lends itself to be picked with a speed you'd have a hard time replicating on guitar, although it's not impossible.

So the basics of banjo are easier than guitar, but beyond that, it can be as difficult or as easy to play as your ability or motivation allows.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:01 AM on December 13, 2009


Yes, yes, yes, but you still haven't explained the banjo-o[porn connection.

MetaTalk awaits with bated breath.
posted by timeistight at 8:08 AM on December 13, 2009


Too creepy to be real. And banjos are a joke to most people.
posted by Zambrano at 8:11 AM on December 13, 2009


Banjo music with porn makes no sense. Bango music, however, sounds pretty appropriate.
posted by molecicco at 8:11 AM on December 13, 2009


s/b "banjo-porn"

Whatever happened to the edit window, any way?
posted by timeistight at 8:11 AM on December 13, 2009


FWIW, Eleutherios, I thought your question about your racist girlfriend and whether you should break up with her was trolling.

The circumstances in that short relationship were somewhat strange, but the girl was hot AND SHE LET ME BE A PILLOW PRINCESS! What was I supposed to do? Dump her immediately?
posted by Eleutherios at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2009


Why is a banjo a difficult instrument to learn? Why is it more difficult than a guitar?

It's different, not really "more difficult" than a guitar. But:

- dynamics don't come as easily, since banjos (particularly resonator banjos) tend to be loud until proven otherwise
- they don't lend themselves to campfire-style strumming, since the banjo has a very sharp attack and quick decay
- fingerstyle picking is a little more work to pick up from scratch than full-arm strumming, see previous
- there are far fewer pop-culture models for beginner-friendly banjo playing, which, regardless of the relative difficulty of the mechanics of the instrument, means the neophyte has few opportunities to see/hear some future musical hero do something and say "hey, I bet I can kind of pull that off", making it a relatively lonely instrument to go after
- people who don't know better will give a banjo player shit for playing the banjo, including but not limited to making hillbilly rape jokes without really thinking about it

The banjo's a great instrument, and getting something musical out of it may actually be a good bit easier than getting something musical out of a guitar for a new player. Four strings, five if you're fancy, compared to guitar's six, which makes for easier chording (and cleanly chording on a guitar is one of the hardest things for a newbie to do); finger-picking means you can focus a bit more on individual strings instead of full chords (again with the chording); the action on a banjo is often much much slacker than that on a steel-string guitar, contra to Think_Long's concern above (which may be perfectly valid for some banjos and some guitars, mind); the classic open tuning of the banjo simplifies some simple chording challenges as well and makes it easier to play melody-against-chord stuff using open-chord drones.

It's also a really nice instrument in a group/band setting, because it doesn't have to do all that much to fill in a nice sonic niche in the mix. I liked my banjo from the first day I got it, but I don't think I really truly loved it until I played it in a band.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:16 AM on December 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


The circumstances in that short relationship were somewhat strange, but the girl was hot AND SHE LET ME BE A PILLOW PRINCESS! What was I supposed to do? Dump her immediately?

Er, it was more your faux-liberal set-up that triggered the alarm for me.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:24 AM on December 13, 2009


Too creepy to be real...
posted by Zambrano


Huh.
posted by grouse at 8:50 AM on December 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


Too creepy to be real. And banjos are a joke to most people.
posted by Zambrano


Too easy.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:51 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Curse you, grouse!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:52 AM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: "I'm familiar with this type of person and I'm pretty sure this question is sincere"

Unfortunately, so am I.
posted by radioamy at 9:21 AM on December 13, 2009


True story. Before we got married, the soon-to-be-Mrs. Bartfast, with whom I was incredibly smitten already, was sent to Boise, Idaho for a year of her medical residency. Against all probabilities, my little East Indian princess found she loved the country life and readily made friends with the crusty old rednecks she met at the hospital there, including one old WWII vet who, when he drove his camper to the hospital after an attack of acute angina, insisted on bringing his banjo with him. In his recovery, the residents would often find him out in front of his camper in the parking lot of the hospital, cigarette dangling out of his mouth and playing the shit out of his banjo. The future Mrs. B was quite impressed by this and when he offered to show her a few strumming patterns, she immediately announced to me that she was going to learn to play the banjo.

I'm not saying I decided to marry her then and there, but I grew up loving bluegrass music, and, as an amateur guitar picker myself, I right away understood the implications. In fact I think I shared the same mental image Archibald Edmund Binns described, except it was the two of us playing in the sun under a tree on the pastoral grounds of the Boise VA Hospital. I went all over town looking for the right instrument for her and finally settled on the perfect one, not too fancy, but a good solid student's instrument, the beautiful object that would bring us together. We'd sing corny songs to each other in front of campfires with our children gathered round and people would marvel at our quirky, unlikely love. That weekend I jumped on a plane to Boise, banjo safely stowed in the overhead compartment. It was the most romantic thing I'd ever done.

She played it exactly once. Her chain smoking WWII vet with a heart condition instructor died, as chain smoking WWII vets with heart conditions often do, and despite all my hopes and projections, the banjo thing was just a passing interest. I picked it up myself a few times but after a lifetime of strumming six strings, I found it very awkward to play. Today it literally sits in our basement collecting dust.

But Mrs. B and I had many other things upon which to build a relationship and in less than a year we were married, not in a field with acoustic folk music, but in a church with organ music. Despite the fact that she looks at me weird when I put on my Earl Scruggs records, it's been an incredible 10 years since I gave her that banjo. The moral of the story? Grand romantic gestures never go according to plan, but if you're lucky, they go better.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:31 AM on December 13, 2009 [26 favorites]


Here are some videos that will perhaps change anyone's perception of the banjo:

Punch Brothers - Allegro from Bach's 3rd Brandenburg Concerto (banjo on the far right)

Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Zakir Hussein - Triple Concerto for Banjo, Bass, and Tabla

Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall - Sliding Down

And my own small contribution to the classical banjo revolution: Hail Poetry.
posted by The White Hat at 9:42 AM on December 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thanks for pointing out that AskMe thread, by the way, because otherwise I would have missed it. And that shit is hilarious!
posted by ErikaB at 11:53 AM on December 13, 2009


Oh, and another vote for "I think you may be mistaking the bow-chicka-wow-wow guitar for a banjo." Banjo porn soundtracks, also fucking hilarious, thus doubling the hilarity of the whole thing and TOTALLY MAKING MY DAY.
posted by ErikaB at 11:55 AM on December 13, 2009


I am a banjo player and I was actually asked to do a porn soundtrack once. Never went anywhere, but maybe I should call that director back...
posted by smartyboots at 1:13 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait. What?
posted by HFSH at 1:24 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought the AskMe thread started of as oblivious-to-creepy, but I was encouraged and charmed to see that the OP finally listened to all the feedback and reconsidered his plan.

Here's some SERIOUS FUCKING BANJO for you.

I had no idea a well-used banjo could get so dirty. Whoa.
posted by maudlin at 1:37 PM on December 13, 2009


banjos can be awfully cheesy, ("what do you call a fire in a banjo factory... etc") but, not exclusively so, and as others have mentioned there is some kick ass banjo music.

At least where I'm from, banjos are autotune is taken as a joke in just about any context. I'd rather listen to 12 hours of banjo music than one more fucking song that abuses autotune.
posted by edgeways at 1:43 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've only been to a couple of meetups, but at both of them there was a banjo present. Without a doubt, banjo-ing made those evenings more special. I'd previously been a doubter, but those meetups changed my mind.
Banjos are no joke, Eleutherios.
posted by 8dot3 at 2:09 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is just a New York thing, but ukuleles are the go-to instrument for hot little pierced chicks, so could banjos be far behind? It doesn't seem unreasonable.

Anyway, I know at least one hot chick who plays the banjo.
posted by Evangeline at 2:22 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you really want your life to look like some played-out Steve Martin bit, why not get her a nice thermos instead?
posted by dgaicun at 2:31 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I get out and around quite often and never been any where I heard banjo music playing nor do I know anyone who listens to it.

This comment reflects a pre-Sufjan worldview.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:40 PM on December 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm eagerly awaiting the porno banjo in Music, by the way.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 4:45 PM on December 13, 2009


Why are there so many posts about banjos...and what's on the other side?
posted by inturnaround at 4:49 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Real member, troll or sockpuppet? The original post let to this MetaTalk thread to the point that tehloki brought up Frank Fairfield which led UbuRoivas to raise the stakes with Patti Smith and that led to my finally hearing a decent version of that damn song Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Ergo, sockpuppet.

Ce Qu'il Fallait Démontrer
posted by fuckwit at 5:21 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Epileptic pool scene from Showgirls + banjo = ???

Consider yourselves fortunate that I don't have the DVD.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:25 PM on December 13, 2009


Why are there so many posts about banjos...and what's on the other side?


The seventh color is the answer to both of those questions, my child.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:27 PM on December 13, 2009


The account is disabled, whoever it was.
posted by winna at 5:46 PM on December 13, 2009


Eleutherios's account is disabled, not that of Archibald Edmund Binns.
posted by grouse at 5:48 PM on December 13, 2009


Also: "SHE LET ME BE A PILLOW PRINCESS!" is a poor excuse for a flameout. It makes me long for the days of "I've been used to being SILENCED ALL MY LIFE" of "I was quoting SCIENCE."
posted by grouse at 5:50 PM on December 13, 2009


A banjo-porn-related flounce-and-quit! Marvelous! It's like this entire thing was constructed specifically for the purpose of cheering me up on an otherwise-lousy day.
posted by ErikaB at 6:17 PM on December 13, 2009


Anyway, I know at least one hot chick who plays the banjo.

So that's what they're calling it nowadays.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:50 PM on December 13, 2009


"I'm familiar with this type of person and I'm pretty sure this question is sincere"

What type of person is this?
posted by telstar at 8:32 PM on December 13, 2009


telstar: What type of person is this?

They're the people who inhabit the space between "hopeless romantic" and "stalker."
posted by Kattullus at 9:04 PM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's a space between the two?

I've always thought that stalkers & hopeless romantics are more-or-less identical, only the stalker doesn't have their feelings reciprocated.

I'd go so far as to bet that most stalkers would describe themselves as hopeless romantics, even as they sift through their love's garbage, in hopes of finding an itemised phone bill. Or maybe some discarded underwear; I don't know. When you have a big stalker's heart, it's all good. You can fit all the love in.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:32 PM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle, I've been giggling about your accordion comment all day. Priceless image.
posted by ohyouknow at 9:40 PM on December 13, 2009


UbuRoivas: There's a space between the two?

Yah... it's the space between someone who pines in silence to the person who sends you a dead marmoset in the mail to prove their love.
posted by Kattullus at 10:08 PM on December 13, 2009


That marmoset isn't dead! It's pining in silence!
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:17 PM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


... the person who sends you a dead marmoset in the mail...

If you're going to cop that kind of attitude, don't expect a Secret Santa next year.

Note to self: The air holes go in the top of the box.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:42 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


A true man does not need to compensate for shortcomings by giving his woman a full-sized banjo; rather, he will present her with a banjolele.
posted by davejay at 11:12 PM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


You come from a bad place where people are bad.

Chicago's not a bad place and the people here are all right, although we do have a bluegrass band called "Sexfist."
posted by hydrophonic at 11:37 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


OMG. Sexfist. How have I never heard of them before?!??
posted by smartyboots at 12:25 AM on December 14, 2009


*Googles "pillow princess"*

Okay, pretty much what I expected.

Do I need to get out more?
posted by slogger at 7:27 AM on December 14, 2009


You think banjos are a joke? Don't get me started. Some motherfucker once sent me a viola.
posted by stet at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Regular, or da gamba?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:19 AM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know a girl who would LOVE a banjo. Conveniently, her name is Susannah. Can we make this happen?
posted by Madamina at 9:57 AM on December 14, 2009


Huh. No www.banjoporn.com. Color me suprised. Fix?
posted by cavalier at 10:10 AM on December 14, 2009


I wish I wouldn't be creeped out by someone giving me a banjo, because goddamn, I have wanted a banjo forever. When I read that question I tried to imagine how I would feel if I were the girl, and on top of feeling creeped out and maybe a bit frightened, I would be devastated when I had to get rid of the banjo.

Oh, banjo. One day I will have you.
posted by Nattie at 10:44 AM on December 14, 2009


A non-exhaustive list of things banjo-related that could sound rude:

Strumming
Frailing
Clawhammer (ow?)
Pull-off
Hammer-on
Open-back
posted by ob at 11:47 AM on December 14, 2009


I'm not a big fan of the banjo (too many residual memories of my mother and her country music fixation) but I think this song is just excellent (Irish, young Stephen Fry lookalike on vocals, siiigh).
posted by h00py at 1:18 PM on December 14, 2009


Eleutherios's account is disabled,

I have this theory that Metatalk posts are the Metafilter version of suicide by cop, that people often post them when they're right on the edge of closing their accounts and want to be pushed over the edge.

I don't understand this one, though.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:50 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey all,
So, the post was sincere, I spent this summer working at Philmont Scout Ranch as a historical interpreter (Loggers, in the year 1914), so I saw my fair share of the banjo and am getting one for christmas. Actually, if anyone is interested, we made some pretty terrible recordings of some pretty awesome songs. (wayfaring stranger's probably the best)
I was always a romantic, through most of high school I thought the ideal first date was a picnic, and really didn't think about why this made me pretty lonely until that awesome post about schrodinger's rapist a few months back.
It would have been creepy, thanks for letting me know, but I still think it was one of the best ideas I've had, and am glad some good came out of this idea.
posted by Archibald Edmund Binns at 2:00 PM on December 14, 2009 [10 favorites]


Thanks for being a good sport about this. I love banjo music. You should consider putting some of those songs on MeFi Music.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:04 PM on December 14, 2009


Well, this is just great. Some day, Google's database will be leaked, and then the world will know that I googled for "banjo porn".
posted by Flunkie at 6:43 PM on December 14, 2009


jessamyn: You should consider putting some of those songs on MeFi Music.

And if you wrote and performed a song called I Gave My True Love a Banjo (She Called the Cops on Me) it would get at least a 100 favorites.
posted by Kattullus at 7:18 PM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


And if you wrote and performed a song called I Gave My True Love a Banjo (She Called the Cops on Me) it would get at least a 100 favorites.

See how I crook my index finger in the air and say "Click"? That is me, favoriting it pre-emptively.
posted by ErikaB at 8:27 PM on December 14, 2009


I just dislocated my finger, doing the same thing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:42 PM on December 14, 2009


I wish someone would buy me a banjo anonymously.
posted by Bageena at 8:47 PM on December 14, 2009


I wish someone would buy me a banjo pre-emptively.
posted by davejay at 9:50 PM on December 14, 2009


Her all young and starry-eyed
Me down on my luck
She tossed a dollar by my side
So I commenced to pluck

After I had played a while
her eyes began to glaze
I sung to her of Irish isles
Her fires began to blaze

I showed to her my open back
to make her resonate
She slyly took the dollar back
and said she'd be my mate

Well I showed her how to pull-off
and I laid my hammer-on
And she took the very best of me
then one day she was gone

Well I tracked her down and begged her
when she said to leave her be
and I gave my love my banjo
so she called the cops on me

It's killing me that I don't have a banjo to work a melody for this out on, so I'm going to stop there.
posted by davejay at 10:11 PM on December 14, 2009 [12 favorites]


Anyway, I know at least one hot chick who plays the banjo.

I saw one performing this weekend at a Fantagraphics event.
posted by Tube at 7:03 AM on December 15, 2009


But, but, what if it were an awesome, homemade (maybe) gourd banjo with bonus points for the hairdo?
posted by Lynsey at 10:40 AM on December 15, 2009


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