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Sep 22, 2009 - 6:55:49 PM



3895 posts since 2/22/2009

Still working on ther PCC version the d version is still too fast for me to play smoothly 'but i'm working on it.

Sep 23, 2009 - 6:51:16 AM

32 posts since 8/10/2008

Well its certainly helping me .I cant thank you enough. cheers

Sep 23, 2009 - 9:49:09 AM



272 posts since 9/5/2005

It's helped me also Rob, very nice of you to go through the trouble. I've played the song for a long time, but relearning it your way has made it sound a lot better! Thanks!!!

Don't forget to practice those rolls!

Sep 23, 2009 - 1:16:43 PM

360 posts since 11/7/2008

Thanks again, and I'm glad to know it's working.

I had a guy named Jim Morgan who played with Roy McGuiness and the Sunnysiders teach me when I was 11 or 12.

He never used tab, but kicked my butt every week, pushing me to memorize and repeat the lines over and over till I got them. I started playing jobs out before I was 13, and began winning contests a year or two later.

I have always taught the same way, and have found a lot of success with my students like this.

I do things a bit differently than Earl's tabs, but I have heard him play it this way once in awhile.

I wish I had time to practice banjo. Some day, when my guitar teaching slows down, I intend to get a more expensive banjo and practice up a bit, and maybe record a little bluegrass as well.

I love J.D. and Earl, but there are a lot of other players I admire. I will try to get to a few different techniques in the winter time.

Sep 27, 2009 - 5:04:40 PM

167 posts since 1/31/2008

I want to thank you I have learned more in one hour then I have in a year of trying to pick this song by tab. It's the timing and I new that but you sure have helped. Yes it's not the exact as Earl had in in his book. I do having timing issues. Do you find it easier with the metronome you have as apposed to the electronic. I just dont know what it is the beep compared to the click of yours. Thanks for sharing and maybe I will have the song down by the end of this year.


If you walk through the doors of life you won't get stuck looking at the same four walls.

Sep 27, 2009 - 6:08:22 PM

360 posts since 11/7/2008


I know it is hard to learn by tab for a lot of folks. What I try to focus on is making sure that small parts are learned, digested, and then isolated so that the information is memorized musically instead of visually.

After one part is down cold, we move to the next, and then it isn't hard to piece everything together. I've been doing this for my students with video tapes for years, and recently, DVDs.

Sometimes it's just learning how to learn that's the hardest.

As for the metronome, this is all I use, and it is kind of lopsided at times and gets a bit hard to follow. I have to make sure it's level. I do like the sound better than those electronic clicks.

I had a great little travel metronome called "The Mini Tacktell" and it was great. I used to teach guitar on the road with that. I lost it somewhere, so now, I just snap my fingers really loud for my travel students.

The old Seth Thomas doesn't travel well.

Sep 27, 2009 - 7:34:26 PM

167 posts since 1/31/2008

Originally posted by Rob Bourassa

I can't stand it when people ask for banjo lessons in a store, and they get a guitar player who dabbles with 5 string, and he starts taking someone through a book.

Rob this is what happened to me when I was 15. I look back and wish I would have found a different instructor. Instead I lost my interest, That was a long time ago and I am glad I have found that interest in the banjo again. What you have done with these videos helps so many people.

As far as the metronome goes I have a Boss DB 60 I need to spend much more time with that to get my timing down. On your videos what speed do you practice with or should I not really have to worry about that just set the metronome at a speed that is comfortable then work faster as time goes by?


If you walk through the doors of life you won't get stuck looking at the same four walls.

Sep 28, 2009 - 9:56:43 AM

360 posts since 11/7/2008


There are different metronome speeds on those videos. I would suggest practicing along with the video, and not even worry about the metronome till you have the higher speeds down with the video.

Then, as you have guessed, whatever speed you find helpful. A good trick to learn is this. Once you have it down at a faster pace, slow down the metronome, and make sure you can keep in time at a slow pace as well.

Better yet, find a good guitar player.

Oct 4, 2009 - 4:34:18 PM



6 posts since 10/4/2009

Dido...dido....and dido Rob. Thanks for your efforts and time. UMmmmmmmmmmmm, how's about up the neck. That would put the icing on the cake!

Oct 5, 2009 - 8:03:08 PM



856 posts since 7/8/2003

Hi Rob ... been away from banjo (AGAIN!) for a while, but I'm back at it :)

Thank you for your generosity.

Not only are these lessons great, but as a side benefit ... I stumbled across you and Cori DeVries doing "Smile". Sends shills up my spine!


* Hondo
* Saga RK-2 kit
* Disclaimer - I'm not an expert (in anything banjo)

Oct 6, 2009 - 7:46:43 PM

360 posts since 11/7/2008


I will try to get to the high part next month.

Oct 6, 2009 - 10:57:20 PM



6 posts since 10/4/2009

Yee Haw!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll be watching fer it.

Oct 7, 2009 - 10:11:14 AM



1 posts since 10/1/2009

A truly amazing set of videos. After picking up the banjo a year ago, I quickly realized that reading tab is not intuitive for me. I've seen a number of different lessons on how to play this tune, but this is by far the closest to the original cut and is broken down into easily memorized parts. My sincere thanks for spending your valuable time on this to help out us bluegrass banjo "wannabees". Keep on pickin'....

Oct 7, 2009 - 2:09:08 PM

360 posts since 11/7/2008


Cori has worked with me since she was 17. At 24, her voice is really mature, and she doesn't over do it like a lot of kids her age. She just got a studio contract in L.A. and moved there, and she has been working in New York a lot, as well as traveling around the world, singing on cruise ships.

She and a few other girls have worked in a trio that I arranged for the last 7 or 8 years, and the soprano, Kira just recorded a CD with me. I would like to get all 3 girls together again, but not many folks want to hear the Tin Pan Alley stuff.

Thanks for the kind words.

Oct 8, 2009 - 5:04:49 AM



5624 posts since 4/25/2008

Hi Rob..

Just wanted to add my voice to the choir by saying thankyou for the banjo lessons very much appreciated.

Regards Tam

Picking a Fender FB 58 and PROUD to describe myself as a Student of the Murphy Method

Oct 8, 2009 - 8:24:51 AM

360 posts since 11/7/2008

You are welcome Tam.

Oct 8, 2009 - 7:56:14 PM

237 posts since 2/10/2008

Just a shout out to my good friend Rob! He is a great teacher and super musician. I remember meeting Rob when he was playing banjo with Roy at 13. He had drive and tone then. I don't think he had the beard.....

Edited by - Tonecaster on 12/09/2009 19:34:17

Oct 9, 2009 - 10:03:12 AM



160 posts since 7/11/2008

Thanks Rob. Great.

Oct 11, 2009 - 11:52:52 AM

49 posts since 5/4/2008

Thanks, Rob, these are by far the easiest to follow I have tried ... and dare I say 'the most rewarding'. For the first time, I feel truly encouraged to give FMB an all-out try.


(... so, if curiosity got me into all this, what'll get me out?)

Oct 11, 2009 - 2:22:08 PM



278 posts since 2/9/2005

Rob, you are doing an awesome job. It would be hard not to learn if your style of teaching is followed. I can play fmb, but probably will never reach anywhere near your level of proficiency. What you do is very helpful. Looking forward to up the neck to see how it compares to the way I try to play it. Obviously many people play it different ways.

All the best,

Every workplace should have a Banjo Break

Oct 14, 2009 - 8:13:44 PM

360 posts since 11/7/2008

Thank you all. (and Russ, one of my best friends, so you can't trust him.)

I will try to get to the high part soon. I have been swamped, but things should slow down soon.


Oct 19, 2009 - 11:57:04 PM



136 posts since 11/13/2008

I will also say a big thank you to Rob...I have been using your video to learn Old Joe Clark. I dont know much but your teaching methods seem to work for me. If you are taking suggestions on different songs,then here are a few ......Wreck of the old '97,Shamrock,Darling Nellie Gray and Holiday Pickin'
Thanks again for all your time and efforts to pass down your knowledge and skill to those of us lacking in both


Oct 22, 2009 - 12:40:13 PM

360 posts since 11/7/2008

Glad to hear it Bart.

I will try to get to the Wreck Of The Old 97 someday.

I have had so little time, I don't foresee anything happening right away. These videos take a long time.

Thanks again.

Oct 25, 2009 - 12:21:02 PM

78 posts since 1/10/2009

Can we make this a sticky??

Oct 25, 2009 - 9:16:53 PM



31 posts since 8/6/2008

I "Second" the suggestion for making this a sticky!

Rob's style is great, and a big help to me. I find it a great supplement to the other teaching materials I use, i.e. books and dvd lessons, as well as the BHO video lessons and learning materials others--such as "Banjophobic" (John Boulding), great stuff-- on this forum are so gracious to share.

I am another newer banjo student that isn't able to study with a teacher. My work schedule and travel makes that impossible right now. When that changes (hopefully in the next few months) I'll hunt one down, but in the meantime . . .

Add yet another "Many Thanks" to you Rob, from a geezer trying to learn to play banjo! Your style is very comfortable for me.

Oh, and I want to echo the comment "G" made about the side benefit of finding your guitar/ensemble music.

Groovy . . .

Edited by - JCat on 10/25/2009 21:34:18

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