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Jan 25, 2018 - 10:55:43 AM
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4 posts since 1/19/2018

Thanks so much.

Here in Cleveland I can't find a real banjo teacher but the awesome folks here at the banjo Hangout linked me to your series. I've played guitar for 40 years so it really threw me for a loop that banjo was so different.

I am taking 1 step at a time, and making sure I have that step down before venturing on.

I like your teacher/student manner, fits into my sense of humor which makes this even more fun.
I'm going to only do one lesson a week so I can really burn in the lessons into my hands, so I'll see ya back here in 10 weeks.

Thanks again. I'm pretty excited about playing the Banjeee!

Edited by - Sleepyc on 01/25/2018 10:56:16

Jan 26, 2018 - 3:03:57 AM
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5 posts since 1/26/2018

Nice videos.. will  be back on this after some quick questions on some other topics

Edited by - joenat75 on 01/26/2018 03:04:22

Feb 11, 2018 - 12:16:12 AM
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New Zealand

11 posts since 2/10/2018

Originally posted by Jim Pankey

Added the final Lesson - Lesson 10 today!  :)

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to get notices.

I've added all the videos to this post to make it easier to find them.  

Big thanks to Eric for making the post "sticky".  yes



After much prodding from friends I finally gave in and began posting beginner banjo videos.  These videos are designed to get you up and running.  They're designed for the absolute beginner so I know most folks here are probably past where these lessons are, or maybe not.  If you're in the "maybe not" category, or know someone that's just getting started, feel free to share the video series with them

The link here takes you to a YouTube playlist.  There are currently 4 lessons that drag the beginner through Cripple Creek.  There are no tabs to learn, no theory, and no stress.  I try to keep things down to earth and fun. 

No, they're not perfect, and they may not be for everyone, but this is the same format I use with my "in person" private lessons.

Learn to Play Bluegrass Banjo


Heya Jim, just thought I'd stop by and say I've been through this playlist from start to finish a couple of times and it's been wonderfully helpful!  I'm nowhere near as good as I hope to be, but I'm definitely better thanks to your help!

Feb 24, 2018 - 4:12:44 AM
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1 posts since 11/25/2017

Hello Jim and all
Due to this video series "Santa" came with a banjo to me 58 year old boy last christmas ;-) Since my childhood i loved the sound of blue grass banjo tunes and my wish to learn playing that great instrument was for a long time here in Germany almost impossible because there are only a very few bluegrass players/teachers avbl and far away from my home. So right now i,m busy with lesson 10 "boil em cabbage".....The other two "Cripple creek" and "banjo in the hollow" i,m able to play slowly but with a mispick of the strings here and there, but it,s getting better. Also the speed performance has to increase but i guess it comes with the time....Thanks Jim for your great help to learn thru this movies.
Regards to you all and special to Jim,
Tom/Selters Germany

Feb 27, 2018 - 5:30:31 PM
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11 posts since 2/18/2018

Hi Jim, I'm on lesson #9 it has only been 2 weeks. I worked out of a book for over a year. Thanks so much for these videos. I try to get one lesson down good like you say (I can come back the video will be there) that has helped me so much. I'm ready to go to #10 but keep putting it off and watching #9 because I like the way you have taught me the 3 songs.

Edited by - Redneckkg43 on 02/27/2018 17:31:33

Mar 6, 2018 - 3:06:51 AM
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135 posts since 2/15/2018

Hi Jim,
I’m a novice and discovered your videos on YouTube by sheer happenstance, they’re great. Like you said, no stress. Thank you.

Mar 8, 2018 - 6:13:04 PM
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6954 posts since 10/3/2003

Thanks again everyone. It's exciting to see so many having success with the videos.

Mar 18, 2018 - 5:02:49 PM
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23 posts since 3/17/2018

Just wanted to pop in and say thanks Jim. First song I started with is your tutorial for on a Cripple Creek. You made it easy to understand and your personality is perfect for a complete noob like me to keep paying attention.
I am no where near as fast as anyone here at any song but at least now I can play cripple creek(the parts you teach) really really slow lol. Thanks for doing these videos


Edit: just to make it clear I am only terribly slow because I have only been playing 2-3 weeks, not because the videos are in any way lacking content or expertise. Just had to clarify this so readers later don’t assume I mean Jim’s teaching is why I am slow picking this.

Edited by - 400lb Gorilla on 03/18/2018 17:05:50

Mar 25, 2018 - 5:08:44 AM
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3 posts since 2/11/2018

I just wanted to add another 'thanks Jim's to the thread. I have been playing for around a month using a book and these videos and I found your teaching style really worked for me and had me playing cripple Creek to my own surprise. Thanks a lot!

Apr 5, 2018 - 10:36:42 AM
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27 posts since 10/9/2016

Jim, I am not a beginner musician but I am definitely a beginner five string, 3 finger style banjo player. I’ve been interested in the banjo for a long time but never really attempted to play it. I found your videos on YouTube and started from scratch with your beginner lessons. You’re teaching technique is very helpful. I am enjoying the banjo and have learned a lot from your teaching. Thanks again for all of the time and effort that you have put into these lessons. You have a great teaching teaching technique!

Apr 6, 2018 - 7:22:10 PM
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1 posts since 4/6/2018

Jim, thank you so much for your hard work in making these videos. I am totally new to musical instruments. None of my family play anything so I really never gave it a thought that I could learn. I’m only on lesson one, so I can’t say that I will be able to learn the banjo, however I can type very well so I’m hoping this is along the same line and through repetition I will learn. It is your easy going personality and your sense of humor that make me want to learn from you. Thanks again.

Apr 7, 2018 - 11:41:38 AM
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2 posts since 1/7/2015

hi jim, i am from the uk, silly question,haha am i to old the learn the banjo at 69 years young,

Apr 7, 2018 - 12:19:31 PM

4598 posts since 6/3/2011

Originally posted by chuck123

hi jim, i am from the uk, silly question,haha am i to old the learn the banjo at 69 years young,

The short answer is NO.  If you want to learn then you are never to old. 

Apr 7, 2018 - 7:38:44 PM
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6954 posts since 10/3/2003

Thanks again for all the great comments. I'm overwhelmed at the response for these videos.

chuck123 - you can do it! Take your time, be patient, and practice a lot. Don't give up! You've got this!

Apr 8, 2018 - 7:18:50 AM

2 posts since 1/7/2015

hi and thanks jim and dave, im hoping to start my half hour a day from tomorrow if everything goes to plan, thanks charlie

Edited by - chuck123 on 04/08/2018 07:19:22

Apr 16, 2018 - 3:14:29 AM
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1 posts since 4/16/2018

Hello there,
I just created an account, just to say, that I'm really looking forward to your videos. I got my banjo on saturday from my mum as a birthday present, and since then, I've been searching on YouTube and your videos seem to be really good for absolute beginners ^^
Totally happy right now

Greetings from a 33 year old newbie from Austria

Apr 16, 2018 - 11:29:19 AM

380 posts since 3/31/2013


Welcome to the BHO, Corrina. Jim's videos are a great way to get started.

Remember to practice, but have fun.

Apr 19, 2018 - 2:35:07 PM
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49 posts since 12/24/2015

Jim, I just wanted to jump on the bandwagon and thank you for these videos -- I'm another musician (guitarist) that is new to banjo -- I giggled all the way through the first video, you have a great talent for comedy -- then settled down with my banjo and am really coming along, slowly but surely. Into lesson two and trying to slow down and get it into muscle memory, rather than thinking.
What a great resource these lessons are, thanks for taking the time to make them -- I'm looking forward to working with the rest of them!

May 5, 2018 - 1:27:48 PM
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1833 posts since 1/16/2007

After recently watching all ten lessons of your Beginning Bluegrass Banjo program, I have three comments to share with you, which are likely echoed earlier by others: 1) you present a novel teaching style and delivery, that can easily gain the attention, interest and desire-to-learn of both students and prospective students; 2) they are encourage to go at their own pace learning lessons, without feeling obligated to hurry through them; 3) and building lessons up to where students can apply them to a song(s) is a big motivator for them to stay committed to practicing and learning more.
I think you have a winning teaching approach that students would enjoy while learning to play the banjo.
(A novice+, banjo player.)

May 7, 2018 - 8:13:04 AM
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8 posts since 5/7/2018

Love this guy, i'm in between lesson 2 and 3 right now. Just need to get those licks unconscious like walking or tying my shoes.

May 14, 2018 - 7:21:16 AM
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102 posts since 7/5/2011

I am a mediocre self taught guitar player but have ALWAYS loved banjo. i stumbled upon this and WHAM! These videos literally spoke to me. i am making my way through lessons and I hear improvment - THIS IS AWESOME! I can't wait to get home from work now and play! I have never been this enthused about my progress, I was begining to think I may be too old to learn this but no longer! I know these videos took a lot of effort and I wanted you to know I APPRECIATE IT!


May 24, 2018 - 12:51:24 PM
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6954 posts since 10/3/2003

Thanks again everyone! Still blown away by the response these videos have had. Never imagined they'd be so well liked. :)

May 25, 2018 - 5:56:55 AM
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10 posts since 3/27/2006

Originally posted by Jim Pankey

Thanks again everyone! Still blown away by the response these videos have had. Never imagined they'd be so well liked. :)

I know in my case you've effectively given me the "gift" of the banjo. I think the reason your videos are so popular is the fact that you start of with "this is a banjo" level of teaching. You call out all the individual notes and strings for most of the stuff that you teach. I'm not sure about everyone else but I don't have an "ear" for music. I can't just hear the sound and go "yeah, third fret, third string". Apparently I'm not alone in this.  Almost all other videos assume some level of knowledge already exists and for a massive percentage of the new players they don't have the natural ability to follow along like myself. 

You also have a large enough variety of videos to cater to multiple skill levels. A "student" can listen to the videos and see if the song matches their skill level and learn it accordingly. I started at the first lesson and I'm currently learning "Fire on the Mountain" by the Marshall Tucker Band from your video. I can only learn 10-20 notes at most at a time. In all honesty it took me hours to get the first rolls down. The one thing that has amazed me is the speed at which I am improving though. Things that were extremely difficult or next to impossible only a few short days ago, I can now play almost unconsciously and flawlessly.

I know at some point there will be a "inflection point" for me similar to typing. I think I may be getting close to it now. It's that point where you do things without actively thinking about them. Where you've done something enough that you don't have to work it out in your head because your "brain / muscle memory" says "no, I got this".  That happened for me on the guitar and I never realized it until someone pointed out something I had done while playing. Once I get to that place I think everything will change and I think that place is pretty close. It takes hours to get there though and you provide that material. 

I think another reason your videos are so popular is that the banjo is largely a regional instrument. When I purchased my banjo 11 years ago, I wanted to purchase it locally. I live in the south and lived in a town of about 600K people and there wasn't a single banjo for sale in a retail setting in the entire city as opposed to a music shop in Tennessee which had two dozen. Also there wasn't a single person that could teach me to play the banjo as no instructors existed in my city (So I had to learn the guitar instead). I have to believe that this is the case for a large portion of folks that want to learn the banjo.  

So for many, your videos are the best and only mechanism for them to learn how to play. So just know now and going well into the future you will probably have "created" more banjo players than anyone in the last decade. 

Now for the question... Any chance you'll ever put up a video for "Aime" by Pure Prairie League. That's probably one of my favorite songs and I think it would be amazing on the banjo. 

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