A new look for The Daily Frail (or) Are you ready for prime time?

Patrick and I are just about ready to launch a whole new look for The Daily Frail. There will be a section dedicated to new (or existing) products and services. This is a unique opportunity to share your message with our folks. We are looking for diverse and interesting subject matter covering a wide musical spectrum.

Contact me about your instrument, gadget, accessory, CD or book.
Remember, opportunity comes at you like a snail and goes away like a rocket.

For details and technical requirements contact me (Dear Old Dad)

phone: 410-968-3873
email ask.patrick@gmail.com

Peace to all,
Pat Costello (Dear Old Dad)





Down, Down, Down

Danno writes:

Hi Patrick.

Thanks for doing these Daily Frail videos. I enjoy watching and using them. I have a question. It looks like, when you are playing, that you are sometimes hitting a note when your strumming finger (the finger you’re not supposed to point with) is moving up instead of down. Am I mis-seeing this? Are you really only striking your notes on the down stroke or are you hitting some notes on the upstroke as well?

Thanks so much!

(I hope Dear Old Dad is doing well.)

I know it sounds like there is more going on, but everything you are hearing is either from a downward strike of my middle fingernail on the first four strings or my thumb plucking the fifth string.

I do a lot of alternate string effects so that can make it look like I am playing something in addition to down-strokes. To get an idea of how this works check out this tab example

banjo tab

I have done something a bit unconventional here and laid out the tab so that there are specific instructions for the fretting hand and the picking hand.

In the first measure we are playing the basic frailing strum on the third and fourth strings.

In the second measure we have replaces the quarter note strike with a rest. as your picking hand is playing that rest the fretting hand plays a phantom hammer-on/pull-off on the third and then the fourth string.

In order for this to work your hammer-on’s and pull-off’s need to be almost as loud as a struck note.

Once you get the feel of this you can gt some pretty wild rhythmic effects.

We will go through some exercises on this in next week’s Daily Fail exercises.

Cult music heroes: artists on their unsung idols

From theguardian.com on 7/3/14:

Cult music heroes: artists on their unsung idols

Who inspires Faris Badwan, New Order and Jake Bugg? From a north London rapper to a Turkish protest singer, these are the musicians who influence the stars


It’s a good article with artists talking about their favorite musicians. The list of unsung idols include folks as diverse as Todd Rundgren, Robert Johnson, Sun Ra, Jessie Mae Hemphill and . . . me.

For once I’m speechless.


Authors’ note: I tried to get this post up yesterday, but fell asleep while I was typing!

I tried to go off of my pain medication for a few days. I wanted to break out of the fog and feel. for a change. It was hard, but it was wonderful. The taste of good port. Sunshine on my face. The feel of Amy touching my hand.

Alas, all good things come at a price. I woke up screaming in pain on Easter Sunday.
We ran to the hospital at O dark thirty, got shot up with enough pain dilaudid to almost work and we were sent on our way.

The sun was coming up as we were heading home and Amy stopped by a creek where the Virginia Bluebells were blooming.

I do not own a good camera at the moment. As I predicted, he image sensor got trashed at Holi DC – but my first camera was still lying around – a Canon Powershot A580. As is custom for me, I made the most of what I the good Lord gave me.

I dove headlong into the sea of green and blue . Happy as an old hound dog.

Then we went to mass at the chapel at the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia. The good sisters were very kind. Making every every effort to make sure we were comfortable and able to take part in communion. The chapel is a small wonder of Arts & Crafts architecture.  Amy loves the garden, but I would love to to a workshop. I hate making phone calls for that kind of thing,so it you wan it it happen I will leave it up to you.

For Easter supper I made jumbo bacon cheeseburgers (Just a burger for me, I can’t do dairy anymore) with portobello mushrooms. 

Then we curled up on the couch with Qiona and Invicuts and watched some of Ben Hur and I took the pain meds the hospital prescribed for me. The fog settled in and I thought about the pain of the last few days and realized to feel the kiss of my Amy’s lips, to feel the Virginia bluebells along the creek – and that creeks cold water . . . I would do it again in a second.

Christ is risen.
Life is beautiful.

Since I don’t have a camera, and I can’t really play much banjo until my shoulder is stronger (especially with the new katana) I will be focusing on a little project with the working title of Crisfield Guitar. I have new tools to help me interface my BAHA implant with the mixing board, but it still not quite as objective as natural hearing. I need help.

Since my car is still stuck in Crisfield, I also will need a ride. I will play harmonica, jaw harp, ukulele and tell stories all the way.

Volunteers to help with sound engineering would be greatly appreciated. We will be using a Zoom R16 and a pair of MXL 900 mics. Volunteers will be fed with home cooking by Patrick and Miss Trudy.

Another project already in the works is a rather, um, unusual songbook. More on that later.

At  some point over the weekend Any kissed me and said, “Welcome back.”

Happy Easter, everybody!