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!
6986 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: http://www.mikesbanjomute.com/
As a brand new banjo player, the person who sold me a banjo (Bobb62) highly recommended Mike's Banjo Mute. I have a Deering Calico and have read (heard?) that the only banjo that is louder is a Stelling. I can't believe how much this mute quiets down the Banjo...almost too quiet. What I also love about this product is the ease of installing and un-installing, the quality of materials, and the fact that it does not distort the pitch tone of the strings. It also fits perfectly under the picking hand when you arch your hand the way you are supposed to. There is no way that this item will ever harm your bridge, and it works perfectly on my Arthur Hatfield compensated bridge.
(I have not received any kind of compensation to endorse this product - I just really, really like it!)
Overall Rating: 10
I'm totally new to the banjo and took some good advice to order Janet Davis' "You can teach yourself Banjo". This will take a month to arrive (up here in Canada), and I wanted to start lessons right away.
Rick McKeon's site: http://www.rickmckeon.com/ is an excellent place to learn the Banjo (and the guitar). He provides how-to-play videos, tabs and lyrics for 26+ songs, and has lessons, figures, and technique videos as well - he updates his site regularly with new material. Here, you will learn music theory and abilities such as slides, hammer ons and pull offs. His teaching style is laid back, he carefully explains everything he is doing, and basically is an excellent guy to learn from. He has created simple tabs that a newbie can quickly gain confidence from, and yet still has material that will be challenging.
A new banjoist should print out all of the "Beginner tabs" then follow along with the videos. Songs are in alphabetical order so don't try to learn them in this order or you will be faced with some challenging material (Jesse James after only playing a week is a bit of a shocker). If any song seems too hard then put it away for a week and try another.
A nice feature that I found by accident, is that Windows media player has a right-click function that will slow down the video play without changing the sound of the voice or chords. You normally have to spend good money to buy software to do this. I used this to slow down his Jesse James video, to put the "TIM"s on the tab, but I'm still putting that tab down for another couple of weeks. :)
I didn't mention that everything on his site is free ... FREE. If I lived near him I would definitely pay for lessons!
Keep up the great work, Rick, your site is a wonderful resource for all new players.
Overall Rating: 9
'DIY / emergency capo' 19 min
'Good Sunday Morning' 46 min