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Janet Davis Reviews

Janet Davis You Can Teach Yourself Banjo
submitted 10/30/2011

Submitter

knownrider (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Amazon

Overall Comments


I bought this book about 2 weeks into owning a banjo. It breaks techniques down into easy snippets. You learn things a little at a time then string them together into songs. The CD is great, and makes it really easy to pick up things by ear. At about 3 months into playing banjo, and about 20 lessons in, I'm amazed at how much I can play. I own several other popular banjo books, and this one is by far the easiest to learn from. I recommend it to anyone thinking of taking up banjo.

Overall Rating

10


Janet Davis You Can Teach Yourself Banjo
submitted 9/2/2011

Submitter

RandyO (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Janet Davis Website

Overall Comments


I highly recommend this book for any beginning student of the Banjo. I purchased the Book, CD and DVD combo package. Janet writes this book with the beginner in mind. She does not jump to Intermediate Level after 2 or 3 lessons like other instruction books do. She gives you bite size morsels to start off and digest and the lessons follow a logical progression with each lesson building on the previous lesson. The basic roll patterns (and their ALTERNATIVES) are clearly demonstrated and explained. The roll patterns are taught in such a way to help the student build dexterity for more advanced techniques later on. I have met teachers who were professional musicians who use this book for their entry level students. I have since progressed from this book and am now studying Janets more advanced books. I highly recommend this book for the entry level student of the Banjo.

Overall Rating

10


Janet Davis You Can Teach Yourself Banjo
submitted 7/25/2011

Submitter

courgettelawn (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Amazon.co.uk

Overall Comments


I am really enjoying learning with this book. I have spent two months with it and my Goodtime Crow and am loving every moment. I find the lessons are arranged with clear goals and it means I can tailor my practice to as long or as short as I want.

The accompanying DVD is very clear although not every aspect of the book is covered (e.g. not all songs, unless I am missing something). The split screen to show what left and right hand should be doing is invaluable.

I did take a brief look at other options and as the reviewer below suggests, these are written by 'great banjo players'. Well great banjo players don't always make great teachers and I think Janet Davis is a great teacher if she can communicate so well through a book.

To be fair on the point on learning roll patterns, she is not unequivocal with them and variations are introduced early on.

I have written a fuller review of my experience so far on my blog:

http://tehmina.org/

Overall Rating

9


Janet Davis The Ultimate Banjo Songbook
submitted 12/24/2010

Submitter

drew-gurbach (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Overall Comments


I bought this book a couple years ago. I’m a “seasoned” banjo picker of about 40 years now. I saw this book and TWO CD’s and songs I never would have thought about playing…so, I bought the book. The book clearly lays out tabs and accompanying CD’s so you can hear exactly what is written. I was also impressed with the “progression” of the same song through different styles and levels. I’m NOT sure it’s a great book for beginners, however. I think it’s great for intermediate players who can “glean” snippets to enhance their personal playing. I fear beginners might get caught up in playing Janet’s style and not develop their own as they progress. I have to give this book multiple ratings: Low for beginners, High for intermediate players, and High for experienced.

Overall Rating

7


Janet Davis You Can Teach Yourself Banjo
submitted 8/18/2010

Submitter

rockyjo (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

gift

Overall Comments


Hello Everyone,

I'll add my experience on the Janet Davis book, "You Can Teach Yourself Banjo" which may create some controversy but so be it... I do NOT recommend this book and would highly suggest something else.

I was/am a beginner and it was the first book that I started working through. The book starts early on with the forward roll as "IMTIMTIM". I put a lot of hours into learning the roll this way, only to find out elsewhere that the "preferred" way for the forward roll is TIMTIMTI or TIMTIMTM.

The latter 2 ways create a different, and I'll say better, tone, because you are using a downstroke instead of an upstroke on the string where the approach differs. The thumb also is stronger and creates more "drive" than an upstroke.

So, having just gotten up to what I felt was good tempo with the JD approach to the forward roll, I am now trying to re-learn it. It is not fun to retrain your fingers to a new primary way to do a roll, automatically, when they already do almost the same thing automatically another way. It is not that I will never use the JD approach, or the fingering ability that I learned with it, just to find the right strings, etc., but it is not insignificant nor an insignificant amount of time or motivation to feel like you need to relearn a roll, or get your thumb to automatically do the forward roll the preferred way. I want my primary way of doing the forward roll the "preferred" way which produces better tone and more drive.

So, it's up to the player and what he/she wants to accomplish with playing the banjo. But for me, and for the amount of time invested, I want to learn the best or better approaches. I wish I would have known at the beginning to learn either of the second or third listed ways to do the forward roll.

Had I known ahead, I would not have chosen this book, or at least not as the only one. I now cross-reference with several books that are put out by professional players who each have made a living playing the banjo, Bill Evans, Pete Wernick, Earl Scruggs, Alan Munde, Tony Trischka. (Yup, none of them show the forward roll pattern the way that the Janet Davis book does.)

Rockyjo

Overall Rating

3


Janet Davis Back-Up Banjo.
submitted 12/12/2009

Submitter

terry.mcbride (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Amazon

Overall Comments


I feel much better about myself as a banjo player now having learned from this book. I combined this book with listening to J.D. Crowe (as suggested by Mike Munford). The book gave me the basics and J.D. Crowe (The New South and Bluegrass Album Band (vol1)) demonstrated how you should use them. The book does an OK job of showing you how to use the techniques in a song, but not like J.D. Crowe.

I feel like a have a good base for backup now and I think it will help me play better all around. I highly recommend it.

Overall Rating

9


Janet Davis Back-Up Banjo.
submitted 2/26/2009

Submitter

Chris Cooper (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

First Quality Music.

Overall Comments


I bought this book with a veiw to learning to play Scruggs style Back-Up, I could already vamp and had good knowledge of chords. This Book and DVD combo completely confused me even as to what I was trying to achieve, additionally it frustrated me so much I actually gave up playing Banjo for about six months.

It is poorly presented, badly organised i.e the book is muddled with just collections of licks splattered all the way through it. The DVD has terrible picture quality and has an even more rushed feeling to it than the book.

I learned the sum total of nothing from this book and DVD. I found it completely impossible to learn from, and I have also seen a thread here on the hangout where someone else had asked "how do I learn from this?" The answer in my experience is, "you don't."

The whole product feels rushed, slapped together as quickly as possible, put on the market to make money, rather than put on the market to help aspiring musicians.

Overall Rating

1


Janet Davis Splitting The Licks
submitted 2/7/2009

Submitter

stumpkicker (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Elderly

Overall Comments


So you've memorized a dozen beginners songs and want to start developing you own breaks?This is the book for you. Actually it's 3 books in one. First Scruggs style, you learn to pick out the melody,incorporate it into rolls, and add licks. Janet takes you through several songs step by step. The 2nd part follows a similar procedure for melodic banjo and the third is advanced. Mixing the two styles as well as using more difficult licks & arrangements. All in all an excellent resource. Truth be told I bought the early editionn from Janet in 1980; smaller self published, xeroxed, stapled. And If you find one of those, even that would be an excellent resources. This book, along with Janet's Up The Neck and Backup Banjo books make an excellent guide to becoming a complete banjo player.

Overall Rating

9


Janet Davis You Can Teach Yourself Banjo
submitted 1/15/2009

Submitter

Joe Larson (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

on-line

Overall Comments


This is the best book I've seen for the beginner. It's laid out clearly and paced nicely with the each lesson building on the previous one. There are many good books out there but a lot of them either go too quickly - adding 2 or 3 new techniques with every tune - or spending way too much time covering the basics of timing, waiting until the last few pages to even cover the 3 finger roll. This book proceeds slowly which seems to suit almost all of my students, yet with each tune you learn a new technique. Very well thought out.

The only gripe I have about it is that after she introduces the 3-2 pull-off, she ignores it and goes back to the simpler pull-offs for several tunes. Personally I think that pull-off may be the most difficult technique for any beginner to master, so to not concentrate on it any more than she does is a mistake.

Overall Rating

9


Janet Davis The Ultimate Banjo Songbook
submitted 12/28/2008

Submitter

terry.mcbride (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Gift

Overall Comments


This is a fantastic book for a novice or intermediate who wants to learn about different playing styles. The book gives you multiple ways to play each song. In that sense its full of lot's of licks as well. In fact alternate licks are provided as well.

My only suggestion would be to repeat the songs on the CD for practicing over. Right now the tracks only demondtrate thr tabs.

Overall Rating

9


Janet Davis The Ultimate Banjo Songbook
submitted 12/26/2008

Submitter

10gauge (see all reviews from this person)

Where Purchased

Musical Arts: Mesa, AZ

Overall Comments


My wife got me this book for Christmas. So far this book seems to be perfect for my level of playing (9 months) and also offers lots of growing room. I'm rating it 9 out of 10 even though I feel it's a ten because it is really only one of two books that I've used for banjo. There are 8 of the 26 songs that are must learns for me and a 7 others I'm very interested in and of the rest there are 3 or 4 that hold some interest for me. Currently I am learning Fireball Mail, Foggy Mountain Breakdown and Dueling Banjos. I really like they way the first versions are easy and the following versions get more and more challenging. This books will be dog eared by the time I'm though with it and then I'm sure it will continue to be a great reference. My one critisism is a couple of the songs are not very banjo-y, but Janet kept these few and far between and it seems like a ligitimate attempt to stretch out the banjo genre and so I'm not really complaining. If your not already playing the standards that are in this book, it is sure to be a great learning tool. If you are an advanced player, I would guess you would enjoy all the alternate licks and more challenging versions of the songs you already play. Thanks Janet.

Overall Rating

9


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