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 Playing Advice: Bluegrass (Scruggs) Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Brainjo


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/394201

WendySue - Posted - 11/28/2023:  04:50:05


I'm contemplating signing up for the 3finger Scruggs style course. Is anyone here familiar with Brainjo? Would you recommend it?

FenderFred - Posted - 11/28/2023:  06:14:54


quote:

Originally posted by WendySue

I'm contemplating signing up for the 3finger Scruggs style course. Is anyone here familiar with Brainjo? Would you recommend it?




 



IMHO I tried this learning method some years back. His neuroscience-based musical instruction is not for me. 



I would however encourage you to check out this guy.



 



 



 

earlstanleycrowe - Posted - 11/28/2023:  06:39:37


I think Dr. Turknett is a brilliant guy and amazing clawhammer player.

Having seen many of his 3-finger videos and tabs, he has a pretty idiosyncratic approach to Scruggs style. It's almost an old-time version of Scruggs, where each measure is self-contained, like a bum-ditty. It requires a lot of thumb movement and square roll (TITMTITMTITM) motion. I don't think a lot of it would be sustainable at higher tempos.

I think a heavier emphasis on the forward roll motion (TIMTIMTIMTIMTIM, etc.) will give you more "drive" and allow you to play at faster tempos. I don't think of the "forward roll" motion as advanced; it's the foundation for the traditional bluegrass banjo sound.

For example, a "Level 3" version with almost no forward roll: brainjo.academy/fingerstyle-circle/

And another staple that would be very hard to play at a barnburner tempo with this arrangement: fingerstylebanjo.com/roll/

I might not be explaining this well, but if you already play Scruggs style and have seen a lot of Scruggs-style tabs, the Brainjo arrangements and transcriptions are out of the ordinary.

For a more traditional sound/approach, online there's Banjo Ben, Bill Evans at Peghead Nation, and others. For books it's hard to beat the Janet Davis and Jack Hatfield books.

FenderFred - Posted - 11/28/2023:  06:51:31


quote:

Originally posted by earlstanleycrowe

I think Dr. Turknett is a brilliant guy and amazing clawhammer player.



Having seen many of his 3-finger videos and tabs, he has a pretty idiosyncratic approach to Scruggs style. It's almost an old-time version of Scruggs, where each measure is self-contained, like a bum-ditty. It requires a lot of thumb movement and square roll (TITMTITMTITM) motion. I don't think a lot of it would be sustainable at higher tempos.



I think a heavier emphasis on the forward roll motion (TIMTIMTIMTIMTIM, etc.) will give you more "drive" and allow you to play at faster tempos. I don't think of the "forward roll" motion as advanced; it's the foundation for the traditional bluegrass banjo sound.



For example, a "Level 3" version with almost no forward roll: brainjo.academy/fingerstyle-circle/



And another staple that would be very hard to play at a barnburner tempo with this arrangement: fingerstylebanjo.com/roll/



I might not be explaining this well, but if you already play Scruggs style and have seen a lot of Scruggs-style tabs, the Brainjo arrangements and transcriptions are out of the ordinary.



For a more traditional sound/approach, online there's Banjo Ben, Bill Evans at Peghead Nation, and others. For books it's hard to beat the Janet Davis and Jack Hatfield books.






Agree. Not quite Scruggs Style. More like Fingerstyle Guitar picking

WendySue - Posted - 11/28/2023:  07:02:21


Thank you! All information is invaluable to me. At times I'm SO overwhelmed with banjo teaching/learning information that it gets rather jumbled in my 70yr old brain!

FenderFred - Posted - 11/28/2023:  07:47:54


quote:

Originally posted by WendySue

Thank you! All information is invaluable to me. At times I'm SO overwhelmed with banjo teaching/learning information that it gets rather jumbled in my 70yr old brain!






I am 76 WendySue



Banjo Ben keeps things fun and simple, that's why I like his teaching approach best of all. That said he is not everyones cup of tea.

stevebsq - Posted - 11/28/2023:  07:49:28


Plethora of instructors out there on line. Artistworks.com seems to be a friendly way to start. Alison Brown is one of their banjo instructors I joined. Advantages are there are tabs and instructional videos starting from the basics. Also you can record yourself and send in for critique. Usually they have a 50% off rate around now. Good luck and enjoy!

WendySue - Posted - 11/28/2023:  07:54:59


I will check out banjo Ben and see.

Owen - Posted - 11/28/2023:  08:08:31


I used Brainjo a little, several years back ... used an instructional clawhammer (?) segment to learn (?) to alt. thumb roll to accompany the first song I sorta learned, "Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms," so I give it a yes for that ... if any of that makes any sense?!?!?  Fwiw, I was turned off by an "assessment" early in the general procedure ostensibly to assess/determine whether or not a person has the capability to learn to play.



Dunno, but when I reminisce [i.e. living as I do in a more-or-less BG wasteland] I wonder whether  I'd be further along had I chosen OT/clawhammer back then.  Ya win some, ya lose some and some get rained out, I suppose.



Enough of my drivel ... back to regular programming ... 

Texasbanjo - Posted - 11/28/2023:  08:23:29


I find you learn more with less bad habits if you can find/afford a live teacher. Have you checked our teacher's list to see if there are any in your area? If not, go here: banjohangout.org/teachers/. Or you could start a new thread and ask if anyone knows of a teacher in your area.

I'm not familiar with Brainjo, so I have no recommendation to give there.

NotABanjoYoda - Posted - 11/28/2023:  08:28:10


This can of worms always leads to lots of suggestions and more confusion. So Ill endorse what others have said.

The Jack Hatfield books are a treat. Janet Davis books I have are useful but not as refined. More extras to embellish your journey than beginner instruction. Both instructors books very very useful.

Banjo Ben frustrates me. He has lots of youtube videos that pique your interest but stops short of teaching anything. More like teaser trailer ads. Based on what I see there it seems more like a monkey see monkey do approach, and theres tons of that on youtube. I recommend watching those youtube vids before purchasing his full videos. They turned me off but turn others on.

Insightful teachers that open up improvising on your own two feet are harder to come by.

All imho.

earlstanleycrowe - Posted - 11/28/2023:  08:36:44


A lot of your progress will come down to your prior experience. For example,




  • if you've ever played another string instrument before, and if that was a chordal instrument

  • whether you can hear chord changes

  • if you can pick out melodies on your instrument (a lot of trial and error involved)

  • if you're familiar with the musical idioms (avoiding using the word theory) of folk, old country, simple music.



 

BrooksMT - Posted - 11/28/2023:  08:46:39


Read Josh Turknett's "Laws of Brainjo." They apply to learning all music/instruments, far as I am concerned :-). Each Law is info-dense, don't try to assimilate them all at once.

I'm self-taught clawhammer; tried to learn bluegrass at college-age, did not achieve the finger speed necessary, so dropped banjo. Then, 7 years ago (I'm 72 now) I took up clawhammer, and have had tons of fun :-). Josh's laws were very helpful to me.

clawhammerbanjo.net/the-immuta...practice/

Hope this helps.

Mike Thompson - Posted - 11/28/2023:  10:00:22


If you want to learn the basics of 3finger, Brainjo would be a good place to start. Several years ago I started trying to learn 3F from various books and videos. I practiced endless rolls but could never get my 70yo fingers to cooperate. On a whim, I started the Brainjo 2F course and made quick progress. I’m now probably an intermediate 2F (both thumb and index lead). I don’t use Brainjo much anymore, there are more interesting resources out there. But, it was a good tool to learn the basics. As was mentioned, Josh’s music tends to use the same smaller set of banjo techniques for almost everything.

monstertone - Posted - 11/28/2023:  10:16:02


Different strokes for different folks, applies equally to both ends of the student/teacher relationship. Some folks are just "wired" differently. What works well for one, may be marginal for another. Compatibility, or lack thereof, goes a long way. Not that I, or anyone else, is incapable of comprehending written instruction. All said & done though, I have found absorbing that same amount of information easier, quicker, & much more satisfying, real time, face to face.



 


Edited by - monstertone on 11/28/2023 10:41:50

WendySue - Posted - 11/28/2023:  10:37:40


Wow! Thank ALL of you for your input and ideas. I just got in touch with a local banjo teacher and will start lessons this Saturday. He asked me to send him a video of my level of playing, that way he'd know where to start. Since I know a few easy and recognizable songs, I sent him Cripple Creek, When the Roll is Called up Yonder and Foggy Mountain Breakdown. I haven't heard back yet, so I'm not sure he'll even take me. I live WAY out in the sticks. Not many teachers around. Thank you all for taking the time to write!

monstertone - Posted - 11/28/2023:  10:47:50


Congratulations. Suck in as much as possible from each trip out there in the sticks. laugh

cevant - Posted - 11/28/2023:  21:28:35


I play clawhammer, and have used and like everything from Josh’s Brainjo website. Now I’m working on Scruggs style and am getting a jump on things by first going through 30 days of banjo with Eli Gilbert (It’s free!). I like the way each day builds on the next without getting too difficult. Here’s a link: youtu.be/Tm4ZJWTQXng?si=b2rr6iw51vKDdM3f


Edited by - cevant on 11/28/2023 21:29:38

FenderFred - Posted - 11/29/2023:  05:07:46


quote:

Originally posted by NotABanjoYoda

This can of worms always leads to lots of suggestions and more confusion. So Ill endorse what others have said.



The Jack Hatfield books are a treat. Janet Davis books I have are useful but not as refined. More extras to embellish your journey than beginner instruction. Both instructors books very very useful.



Banjo Ben frustrates me. He has lots of youtube videos that pique your interest but stops short of teaching anything. More like teaser trailer ads. Based on what I see there it seems more like a monkey see monkey do approach, and theres tons of that on youtube. I recommend watching those youtube vids before purchasing his full videos. They turned me off but turn others on.



Insightful teachers that open up improvising on your own two feet are harder to come by.



All imho.






Your WRONG Buddy. What you see on YouTube is just simply a preview of a lesson. You have to sign up for the FULL  LESSON.



Rather than posting misinformation why don't give him a try. You can sign up for a FREE Silver Pick membership have access to THREE full lessons.  He is the best at what he does, don't take my word for it, ask any of his real students.



You do work to feed your family don't you? BanjoBen has three kids and a wife to support.  Just saying.



 

cobra1 - Posted - 11/29/2023:  05:22:48


I have good luck with Janet Davis and Ned Luberecki. Of the two I like Ned the best. It's a book with full video to back book up. I have 9-year-old student that just finished his beginner book and will move on to intermediate book next lesson. Jim Pankey is pretty good also. Banjo Ben and Mike Heading cost money on some full lessons. Heading beginner stuff is good and was free, haven't been on site for a while.

Personally, I think it takes more than one instructor to learn the banjo.

Rich

NotABanjoYoda - Posted - 11/29/2023:  08:10:07


"Your WRONG Buddy. What you see on YouTube is just simply a preview of a lesson. You have to sign up for the FULL LESSON."

Pretty much in agreement other than the word "Wrong". I dont mind being wrong, but in this case the same was said by you and me.

Learning moment. I paid two instructors I met off youtube that had full samples of their teaching styles that worked for me. I also hired a local teacher. I hear good things bout Clark but based on his youtube samples, I went other directions. Again IMHO

FenderFred - Posted - 11/29/2023:  09:21:02


quote:

Originally posted by NotABanjoYoda

"Your WRONG Buddy. What you see on YouTube is just simply a preview of a lesson. You have to sign up for the FULL LESSON."



Pretty much in agreement other than the word "Wrong". I dont mind being wrong, but in this case the same was said by you and me.



Learning moment. I paid two instructors I met off youtube that had full samples of their teaching styles that worked for me. I also hired a local teacher. I hear good things bout Clark but based on his youtube samples, I went other directions. Again IMHO






You are entitled to your opinion. We all are. But saying Ben Clark stops short of teaching anything is wrong. Lots of teachers post ads here, some give FREE lessons on YouTube and will post links here to Patreon. Ben rarely does. The intro videos Ben posts on YouTube are just that an invitation for interested folks to go check out his website to try out his teaching method for FREE without obligation. Full Lessons are on his website not on YouTube. So your post is misleading.



I get it, BanjoBens teaching style may not please everyone. So I am really glad you have found a local teacher that works well for you. Your so lucky, not every banjo student has that kind of personal access. What you may not realize is, the BHO is an International Forum and BanjoBen Clark has thousands of international students all around the world. I just happen to be one of those international students and I am so thankful my teacher has a website with over 800 lessons for me to study any time I want day or night.  



 


Edited by - FenderFred on 11/29/2023 09:22:13

NotABanjoYoda - Posted - 11/29/2023:  14:36:49


"stops short of teaching anything"



taken out of context. Please prepend the original "He has lots of youtube videos that pique your interest but " and we are good.  Never said anything bout his paid site.  It was all in my original post correctly.  Too much reading into what I said must've drove you nuts.



  So in my final response I will spell it out.  I hate searching for anything instructional on youtube only to have lots of suggestions that are really hidden advertisement for a web site, product placement etc.  We all have that frustration of searching until we find the right videos for learning how to .....   Im sure many of those products and web sites are fine and dandy, but sure clutters up Youtube searches. 



Take me out of context, infer stuff I dont, give me permission to have an opinion, nothing wrong with that...its all good...just sayin feed the smileys  laugh



IMHO



 



 



 

SirenSong - Posted - 11/29/2023:  15:27:30


I did the trial with Brainjo but it just didn't hook me as a learning style. I signed up with Banjo Mountain and love how they mount the cameras so you get a super close view at the correct angle to see everything.
Now if the banjo will just arrive and I can start using some of this information I'm filling my head with.

FenderFred - Posted - 11/30/2023:  03:41:14


quote:

Originally posted by NotABanjoYoda

"stops short of teaching anything"



taken out of context. Please prepend the original "He has lots of youtube videos that pique your interest but " and we are good.  Never said anything bout his paid site.  It was all in my original post correctly.  Too much reading into what I said must've drove you nuts.



  So in my final response I will spell it out.  I hate searching for anything instructional on youtube only to have lots of suggestions that are really hidden advertisement for a web site, product placement etc.  We all have that frustration of searching until we find the right videos for learning how to .....   Im sure many of those products and web sites are fine and dandy, but sure clutters up Youtube searches. 



Take me out of context, infer stuff I dont, give me permission to have an opinion, nothing wrong with that...its all good...just sayin feed the smileys  laugh



IMHO



 



 



 






No it didn't drive me nuts. I was just calling you out on your misinformation. Just setting the record straight since BanjoBen is not here to defend himself, he is way too busy creating excellent new lessons for his students. 



Folks come here seeking advice and guidance. You got caught out and your now you back peddling. 



Awe now we are getting to the truth of the matter. You poor thing. It's a tough life having to wade through all those ads on YouTube looking for a FREEBIE. Since you hate it so much then why do it?



 


Edited by - FenderFred on 11/30/2023 03:44:27

NotABanjoYoda - Posted - 11/30/2023:  07:54:41


Interesting use of trendy "misinformation" nomenclature to label opinion.   



Jack Hatfield books and cds are really good BTW.  I dont like ad campaign videos on youtube.  



IMHO (IN MY HUMBLE OPINION ) ... ends all my posts.



God Bless.  Stay grounded my friends.



 


Edited by - NotABanjoYoda on 11/30/2023 08:06:02

NotABanjoYoda - Posted - 11/30/2023:  08:21:56


quote:

Originally posted by NotABanjoYoda

Interesting use of trendy "misinformation" nomenclature to label opinion.   



Jack Hatfield books and cds are really good BTW.  Banjo Ben is a fine business, my GT Twanger came from Banjo Ben, best Twanger deal on the planet.  Not a fan of their youtube teasers.  FW.



IMHO (IN MY HUMBLE OPINION ) ... ends all my posts.



God Bless.  Stay grounded my friends.



 






 


Edited by - NotABanjoYoda on 11/30/2023 08:24:26

Texasbanjo - Posted - 11/30/2023:  11:07:41


Okay, you two, if you want to argue, please take your argument OFF the Hangout.

I think you are both over-reacting to what was said or implied or misunderstood.

monstertone - Posted - 11/30/2023:  11:43:20


quote:

Originally posted by WendySue

Wow! Thank ALL of you for your input and ideas. I just got in touch with a local banjo teacher and will start lessons this Saturday. He asked me to send him a video of my level of playing, that way he'd know where to start. Since I know a few easy and recognizable songs, I sent him Cripple Creek, When the Roll is Called up Yonder and Foggy Mountain Breakdown. I haven't heard back yet, so I'm not sure he'll even take me. I live WAY out in the sticks. Not many teachers around. Thank you all for taking the time to write!






Sorry, I misread the part about living out in the sticks as the banjo teacher was the one living out in the sticks. My bad.

Mark Douglas - Posted - 11/30/2023:  15:01:06


quote:

Originally posted by FenderFred

quote:

Originally posted by NotABanjoYoda

"stops short of teaching anything"



taken out of context. Please prepend the original "He has lots of youtube videos that pique your interest but " and we are good.  Never said anything bout his paid site.  It was all in my original post correctly.  Too much reading into what I said must've drove you nuts.



  So in my final response I will spell it out.  I hate searching for anything instructional on youtube only to have lots of suggestions that are really hidden advertisement for a web site, product placement etc.  We all have that frustration of searching until we find the right videos for learning how to .....   Im sure many of those products and web sites are fine and dandy, but sure clutters up Youtube searches. 



Take me out of context, infer stuff I dont, give me permission to have an opinion, nothing wrong with that...its all good...just sayin feed the smileys  laugh



IMHO



 



 



 






No it didn't drive me nuts. I was just calling you out on your misinformation. 



 






 



I don't think BanjoYoda was trying to spread misinformation. He was merely stating his impressions of the videos. Nothing wrong with that. 



I seriously doubt that Banjo Ben will lose students/customers based on anything expressed here.



 



 



 



 



 


Edited by - Mark Douglas on 11/30/2023 15:02:19

Owen - Posted - 11/30/2023:  16:38:03


My NSHumbleO is as insignificant as they come,  but for me, incessant promotion raises a red flag, and probably contributes to my mindset w.r.t Banjo Ben's lessons as much as, or more than,  a hokey facade (?) and more than NABY's  [valid?] assessment.   I too want to see a bit of teaching in the promo videos.... not to get something for free, but so I can get an inkling of his teaching style.



Fwiw, I did try Banjo Ben briefly, and as was mentioned previously: "... not everybodys [i.e. my] cup of tea."   In my experience in-person trumps video/on-line six ways from Sunday, and I'm not inclined to go back* and check for details, but as I recall I asked a KISS question and got back a non-KISS "reply" much more suited to somebody who knows a l-o-t more music/banjo than I do.  



* = but who knows?? ... I've not written BBC off completely/permanently.... strange things sometimes happen.



I also mentioned that I'd used Brainjo.  It was before the "two week free trial" was instituted.  In that two weeks for me is probably equivalent to 2 minutes for normal/average people w.r.t music/banjo .... I haven't checked back for some time now.



To each his/her own.

FenderFred - Posted - 12/01/2023:  04:04:18


quote:

Originally posted by Owen

My NSHumbleO is as insignificant as they come,  but for me, incessant promotion raises a red flag, and probably contributes to my mindset w.r.t Banjo Ben's lessons as much as, or more than,  a hokey facade (?) and more than NABY's  [valid?] assessment.   I too want to see a bit of teaching in the promo videos.... not to get something for free, but so I can get an inkling of his teaching style.



Fwiw, I did try Banjo Ben briefly, and as was mentioned previously: "... not everybodys [i.e. my] cup of tea."   In my experience in-person trumps video/on-line six ways from Sunday, and I'm not inclined to go back* and check for details, but as I recall I asked a KISS question and got back a non-KISS "reply" much more suited to somebody who knows a l-o-t more music/banjo than I do.  



* = but who knows?? ... I've not written BBC off completely/permanently.... strange things sometimes happen.



I also mentioned that I'd used Brainjo.  It was before the "two week free trial" was instituted.  In that two weeks for me is probably equivalent to 2 minutes for normal/average people w.r.t music/banjo .... I haven't checked back for some time now.



To each his/her own.






I couldn't agree more  Owen. I believe it is important for students to see what a teacher's skills are and find out if they are compatible to my learning process. 



I splashed out a lot of cash in my early day's of learning banjo following advice promoted here on the BHO. I was duped by so called teachers who took my cash and taught me nothing. Which is why I encourage new students to at least check out Banjo Ben's website. There is an opportunity to sign up for a FREE Silverpick Membership with no obligation to make a purchase which allows students to unlock 3 full lessons including TAB and MP3 backup tracks. No other teacher I have come across on the Internet is that generous. 



The video's that BanjoBen post's on YouTube are mostly the an introduction to his latest lesson. If you follow his advice and head over to his website sign up for a FREE membership you can access that lesson then & there.



Not to disappoint you. Here is a FULL FREE Advanced Lesson that BanjoBen recently uploaded to his YouTube Channel "I too want to see a bit of teaching in the promo videos"ENJOY



 




Edited by - FenderFred on 12/01/2023 04:04:57

WendySue - Posted - 12/01/2023:  10:25:49


Again thanks to all of you for your time and Information! It is greatly appreciated! I have an "in person" lesson every Saturday now and am pretty excited about it. While all these online teachers and classes look great, I'm thinking there's nothing like hands on with a real person. Merry Christmas to you all and a healthy and happy New Year! Keep picking!!!

Texasbanjo - Posted - 12/01/2023:  11:06:06


quote:

Originally posted by WendySue

Again thanks to all of you for your time and Information! It is greatly appreciated! I have an "in person" lesson every Saturday now and am pretty excited about it. While all these online teachers and classes look great, I'm thinking there's nothing like hands on with a real person. Merry Christmas to you all and a healthy and happy New Year! Keep picking!!!






So glad you found a live teacher.   Hopefully,  he/she will be able to get you started on the right path and lead you away from any bad habits.  Enjoy your new experience (although it may be frustrating, let it also be fun!)



 

FenderFred - Posted - 12/01/2023:  15:42:30


quote:

Originally posted by WendySue

Again thanks to all of you for your time and Information! It is greatly appreciated! I have an "in person" lesson every Saturday now and am pretty excited about it. While all these online teachers and classes look great, I'm thinking there's nothing like hands on with a real person. Merry Christmas to you all and a healthy and happy New Year! Keep picking!!!






Glad to hear our settled with a "in person" teacher WendySue.  I hope it works well for you. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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