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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!

6991 reviews in the archive.

Rims: Zachary Holt

Submitted by David Moore on 7/27/2015

Where Purchased: From Zachary Holt

Overall Comments

Excellent cherry block rim with woody tone ring.  Good price, communications and shipping.  Have ordered my second rim from him.  Highly recommended.

Overall Rating: 10

Adam Hurt

Submitted by David Moore on 5/3/2015

Overall Comments

I have taken two classes at workshops from Adam at Suwannee banjo camp.  The first time I knew the class would be way over my head but I do ascribe to the philosophy that sometimes you have to stretch beyond your grasp in order to grow.  Well, I was correct, the primary tune Adam taught was beyond me but now 2 years later I have it.  Yes I worked on learning but Adam with his precision and focused awareness of the student's playing made learning a pleasure. 

Adam breaks phrasing and fingering into small enough chunks and adds a bit of history of the origins of a particular movement or fingering to make class interesting.  But he doesn't get distracted with too much background and keeps the music and instruction moving so students can progress. He also is aware that sometimes learning from watching fingers one can't see what the instructor's fingers are actually doing. Adam takes great pains to show students what his fingering is.

If someone hears Adam perform, and you should any chance you can, don't be intimidated by his abilities.  Don't think " I can never learn to play that way".  You probably won't.  Few can play to his level but he will help anyone progress and improve if one is willing to work and practice of course.  The end result of taking a class from Adam is net improvement and satisfaction

Overall Rating: 10

Mark 'Clawgrass' Johnson

Submitted by David Moore on 5/3/2015

Overall Comments

I have not taken Skype lessons from Mark but I have sat with him in person and taken two classes from him at workshops.  If a banjo player either, Scruggs style or Clawhammer thinks that Mark's style can't help you improve he/she would be sadly mistaken.  The last class I took from Mark had all Clawhammer students and Mark made the point that he could help any CH player improve and he proved it.   He taught me to change my right hand picking just a little and I feel it took me to the next level.  I am cleaner picking and more efficient hence faster.

If you have the chance to work with Mark.  Do it.

 

Overall Rating: 10

Paul Brown

Submitted by David Moore on 5/3/2015

Overall Comments

Even though I could say a lot about Paul I will keep this brief.  As a performer he is world class and oh so varied in what he can present.

However this review is about instructors and when I go to workshops and camps the first name I look for is Paul Brown.  If he is teaching and I have choices or conflicts in scheduling it is simple.  I take classes from Paul.  

He is extremely approachable and is always willing to take the time to help one with playing and make appropriate suggestions.

I don't really want to suggest everyone take his classes because if they fill up I may not get in!   Nahh, look for Paul and sit in his class whenever you can no matter what style playing he is teaching.

 

I noticed there is a Paul Brown from UK.  I am referring to the one from Winston, NC and formerly with NPR.

 

Overall Rating: 10

Chuck Levy

Submitted by David Moore on 5/6/2013

Overall Comments

I met Chuck at the 2012 SWBC when at that time I could identify a banjo most of the time. There could not have been a more rank novice than I so my nervousness about instruction and guidance was high. How would I fit in with all the experienced players there? would I even want to continue learning and working on a new instrument? Chuck immediately put me at ease. Since that first meeting I have taken classes with Chuck and even slow jammed with him on banjo and fiddle and while I am a bit more advanced now I hope to take more classes from him. Chuck's relaxed method of teaching is rather subtle because at the end of the session I was comfortable but realized he had pushed me to stretch myself and continue to learn new techniques and not rest but grow. I hope to meet him again soon and I hope he doesn't get too busy !!!

 

Two years later I am updating this review.  I went to the Suwannee Banjo Camp 6 weeks ago and made certain I took a class from Chuck.  All I can say is don't miss an opportunity to learn from him. He is most generous with his time and skills and knows how to teach. 

Overall Rating: 10

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