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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

7107 reviews in the archive.

Jay Buckey: Bluegrass Banjo Volumes 1-8

Submitted by stevejay on 7/9/2008

Where Purchased: Online

Overall Comments

Although a bit pricey (bought the book), there are 96 songs played at various tempos (100bpm) being the slowest up to 200bpm. Often there are a few versions of a song to hear a melodic arrangement as well as a Scruggs style arrangement.

There is also simple backup ideas included and lyrics, and the book is chock full of pointers and tips for players of all levels, but it is really aimed towards novices who want to start sounding more polished and professional. The backups are basic, but at least you'll learn to nail down the chord progressions, and you can pick up some ideas on the few backups that are a bit more ornate.

Because I am playing alone now, I am happy with my purchase, and feel I am geeting a Bluegrass education from a few angles- styles, repertoir, backup, lyrics, jam etiquette, history...

Caveats? You will want to burn your own CDs, Jay Buckey gives you instructions and the codes to do so. It is quite simple, but if you just burn the volumes as they are, the songs are not quite the same order as banjo 1, banjo 2 etc, but really no big deal at all. I opted to just burn each volume onto its own CD rather than make custom CDs by key, by speed etc... you do have that option if you like that kind of thing and have a little computer knowledge. edit: I did burn a CD of all the 100 BPM songs together for bad days, when I need to rebuild my confidence and play at a crawl.

I'll answer any questions if you have them, or I guess it's better to ask Jay Buckey himself. I can give you the students perspective.

This was not a source which was thrown together for a quick buck, I sensed a real labor of love and respect for the musical tradition.
I like this source, and have no regrets at all. A good mix of traditional breakdowns, fiddle tunes, gospel, a version of dueling banjos, el cumbanchero... :)

1 odd thing, the books don't necessarily get harder as you go through. Some of the easy or challenging pieces are not chronological if you get my drift.

Overall Rating: 9

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