So, my sweetie got me a give certificate at Elderly for Christmas. I've spent a little bit of it, but am trying to think of instructional materials I could use.
First, some history. I started playing banjo almost 6 years ago. First clawhammer, a long stint of two finger thumb lead (playing old time music), and then Scruggs style. I wasn't really familiar with the BG scene before I took up Scruggs style, but I've listened to a lot of the music and gone to a couple of festivals. I've learned a bunch of tunes/breaks, learned some things about backup, and some about improvisation. Truth is, while I admire the skill and musicianship of BG groups, BG music just doesn't reach deeply into my soul (there, I said it). I enjoyed playing 2ftl because I could hear the melody in the tunes I played. Once I got my Scruggs style skills to a certain point, I started learning about melodic style, and like that 'cause I can hear the melody even as I learn the tunes. The tunes I have really enjoyed learning, which I have been working on and off again for the last year and a half, are the tunes of Tony Ellis, which are played with Scruggs style, 2 finger or 3 finger picking. At my age I know that I will never be a blazing fast picker, and many of Tony's tunes are played at a slow to moderate pace. I learn best by watching DVD/videos and using tab. I don't have a good ear for picking out the melody in other than really simple tunes.
What are my goals? I enjoy playing the banjo, making music and it keeps me learning and my mind active. I'd like to keep improving my skills. I want to hear the melody strongly in my playing, even when I am just learning a tune. What music do I enjoy? In my car I listen to contemporary jazz and I enjoy contemporary Christian music. I do like "some" country music, again mostly the newer stuff.
In my "library" now are a book on playing banjo by ear, Davis' book on melodic style, a couple of books on BG backup, Davis' books Splitting the Licks and Up the Neck Banjo, and Geoff Hohwald's DVD/book on Up the Neck Improvisation. You can see it is heavily BG oriented. But I am open to other ideas, which is why I am posting here. My "wish list" at Elderly is BG oriented, with the exception of Pat Cloud's Key to the 5 String Banjo (and maybe his Jazz book) and Sokolow's Blues Banjo. I am posting in this forum because if I don't venture out of the BG world I pretty much know what I could get.
So, what ideas might you have, fellow HO members? Ready, set, GO!
There's dozens of books i could recommend, my local shop Dusty Strings seems to have that many. I think my favorite authors are Jack Hatfield, Janet Davis, Ned Luberecki, Tony Trischka, John Dowling and for clawhammer Ken Perlman and Dan Levenson.
Cloud's "Jazz Banjo" just for learning different scales in single string and melodic fingerings and learning chords beyond the triads: 7ths, 6ths, "sus" etc. Luberecki's Advanced book on Alfred Press also covers some of that as does Weissman/Fox "Non-jazz Improvisation"
For RH and LH technique: Hatfield's "Exercises for 3 Finger Banjo"
I use Great Picking Tunes for Banjo by Alan Munde a lot, it may not be in stock at Elderly at the moment. I was there over Christmas and passed up(for now) some pretty cool books like Walter Carters' one on the history of the mandolin and that other one on the History of Gibson (OK, I'm blanking on the author). I did get the new Vintage guitar price guide, it's banjo section keeps getting better, and the year before, I picked up Michael Clevelands' Fiddlers' Dream CD. So there are lots of things to buy at Elderly if you run of of banjo book ideas!