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Learn to Play Bluegrass Banjo - Video Lessons

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Jul 3, 2019 - 7:32:27 PM
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11 posts since 4/15/2019

Jim, I'm so glad I came across your videos! Just over 3 months in, and I already know the banjo is going to be a life-long commitment for me. Can't thank you enough - you gave me the foundation and without your patient and light-hearted instructive style I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have. Thanks again!

Jul 11, 2019 - 5:00:54 AM
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3 posts since 7/11/2019

I appreciate your help. It was necessary for me to read more about this

Jul 27, 2019 - 6:42:13 PM
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296 posts since 10/3/2011

Thx so much for these lessons! I am just restarting my banjo journey. Am on lesson 1. Trying to get time to do them. As i am a truck driver. Have my jo with me. Tjx so much for the easiness of lesson so far

Aug 5, 2019 - 4:42:37 PM
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6949 posts since 10/3/2003

Thanks again y'all! Please keep me posted on your progress.

Aug 29, 2019 - 11:14:28 AM
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72 posts since 8/15/2019

I PLAYED CRIPPLE CREEK and it didn't sound like a dog fight in a hen house!! LOL

It was slow, and I'm just on lesson 4, but it's coming together!

THANK YOU JIM!! You lay things out perfectly. It takes a few pauses and rewinds and watching reruns of you, but I'm getting there!

Aug 30, 2019 - 6:23:58 AM
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474 posts since 9/21/2018

Originally posted by Jim Pankey

Thanks again y'all! Please keep me posted on your progress.

I'm not one for posting videos of my playing, but I'll offer up an update. 

Got started with your videos in late-ish November of last year. I probably don't practice as much as I should, but I am progressing non the less. I have about 5 songs that I'm comfortable saying I can play, and my speed is starting to clock upward. 

A few weeks back I had a moment where I really felt like my playing/ learning has turned a positive corner. I think I opened up your walkthrough for Salt Creek, and the picking and fingering patterns flowed so much more easily than they had in the past. The single string sections will take some drilling, but all in all, a very different experience than previous "new songs". 

I do have a formal instructor that I sit down with on occasion (formal is used loosely at best here, in a given 30 minute lesson, we spend an hour and a half BS-ing about banjos and bluegrass, then we pick for 20 minutes...). I think the combination of the two has been really key for my learning. 

Thanks again, I'm really enjoying the back-up lessons as well. 

Sep 4, 2019 - 9:49:11 PM
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6949 posts since 10/3/2003


My local lessons work a lot like that. We spend a lot of time talking and picking. It's a good way to learn.

Glad the lessons are helpful!

Have you looked at my Backup Lessons?

Sep 4, 2019 - 9:52:03 PM
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6949 posts since 10/3/2003

Sep 5, 2019 - 5:10:31 AM
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474 posts since 9/21/2018

Jim Pankey I have, and those came out right on time. I was invited to go caroling with a group of local musicians. It would be a lofty goal to find learn an entire set list by Christmas time. Chord charts and backup rolls and chops are quite a bit more to speed. I'm a couple of lessons in and it's extremely helpful already.


Sep 19, 2019 - 4:34:41 AM
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5 posts since 9/16/2019

Having read through this thread, there really is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. So, let me just add to the list of those saying "Thank You!" At 59 years of age I felt it was time to learn the banjo, but I was becoming frustrated with the on-line lessons I found. I stumbled upon your series and cannot tell you enough how enjoyable they are. I am only on lesson one, which I have been working on for four days. As a normally impatient person, I have made a commitment to take this adventure serious, step-by-step, and to get the most out of it. Each day I'm better than the last, and I feel an actual excitement about the next steps. Thanks again!

Oct 9, 2019 - 10:20:40 AM
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17 posts since 10/8/2019

Oh wow, I'm new to banjo and new to the board but not new to stringed instruments. Your videos have been a goldmine for me. Thank you so much!

Oct 16, 2019 - 11:18:37 AM



345 posts since 2/25/2011

Been subscribed to Jim's channel for several years now even though I put the banjo down for a while, but recently picked it back up. Even when I wasn't playing I would still watch his videos. Jim's videos are wonderful, entertaining and very helpful and he just seems like a great person.

Edited by - SBPARK on 10/16/2019 11:20:07

Oct 30, 2019 - 11:56:06 AM

72 posts since 8/15/2019

Hey Jim - I came across an older version (clean shaven Jim) video of some "Clinch Mountain Backstep" notes, but it seems like it was a follow up to a lesson. I'm wondering if you have one out there that I'm not finding or if you would mind putting something together. I'm working from another video lesson, but would really like to get some insight from your perspective.

I know Dr Stanley played it in A (capo on 2nd fret) but would be nice to have the G version for the noobs like me.

Feb 4, 2020 - 6:20:38 PM
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3 posts since 2/4/2020

I sampled at least a dozen youtube instructors and Jim, you are the best.
I'm 48, got my banjo 3 days ago, and I'm off and pickin'. I cheated ahead and watched lesson 3 and I was so happy to discover that I'm learning the basics to the very song that inspired me to buy a banjo.

Just signed up for this forum today, and this is the first thread I'm reading. It must have been fate.

Here to say thank you. I'm learning how to play banjo in my basement from my phone in the wee hours of the night.
Who would have thought that's a thing? Last time I tried to learn banjo in 1993, I didn't have such an opportunity and gave up.

-Kevin in Portland, OR

Feb 21, 2020 - 5:02:31 PM



1 posts since 1/9/2020

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


Feb 29, 2020 - 7:52:55 PM
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6949 posts since 10/3/2003

Hey y'all! Thanks so much for watching and following along! Glad y'all are learning the banjo, and I'm so glad to be part of it.

Mar 13, 2020 - 11:34:24 AM



1 posts since 2/24/2020

Thanks for posting these videos. And from public school music teacher, you sir are doing a fine job! I've gone through the beginning series, bluegrass beginning backup, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, and some others. I'm having a blast!

Thanks again for what you do!

Apr 4, 2020 - 9:51:43 PM



28 posts since 4/2/2020

G'Day Jim from another reborn newb downunder. I've only just found this forum and it's wonderful you have these great instructional videos.

My teacher in the late 70's was Laurie Grundy here in rural Victoria (Australia), I used to live pretty close and went to his house weekly for about a year.
Absolutely loved it and Laurie introduced me to the world of Flatt and Scruggs which was my inspiration for a few years until I had to give up due to family issues.
40 years have passed and I'm just getting back on my feet after a long and laboured divorce. I'll hopefully have another banjo in the next couple of weeks (I have absolutely no idea where my old banjo went, it was obviously given away or sold off at some point) but I'm looking forward to picking it up again. I reckon I've forgotten 99% of what I learned but hopefully my finger actions are still good.

Thanks again for putting these videos up and keeping them available free for us. I absolutely love your sense of humour :)

Apr 19, 2020 - 8:29:54 AM
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29 posts since 4/16/2020

Always wanted to learn to play the banjo, so for my 63rd birthday bought me a new Deering banjo and diving in! Played around with guitars 35 years ago, but never got too serious other than learning a few basic chords. Came across your videos and wanted to say I appreciate the time and effort you put into your videos and sharing your knowledge. I plan on giving this banjo learning some real time and continued effort and your videos help simplify things a bunch. Thank you.

Apr 20, 2020 - 11:56:06 AM
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8 posts since 4/20/2020

Actually happy I stumbled across this site. Playing mandolin and some other instruments for awhile, I'm still new to banjo and the picking style is like learning to walk all over again. These videos look useful!

Apr 30, 2020 - 3:46:07 AM
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4 posts since 4/29/2020

Hi Jim,

I have subscribed to your channel so I can attempt to learn all I can for you.

Thanks for sharing!

Jun 6, 2020 - 3:59:34 AM
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69 posts since 4/19/2013

I'd just like to add my quick "thanks", Jim.

I've had my banjo since about 2013, but due to life and all that, have only played it on and off over all those years. We are a very musical family, and are all trying to give each other more opportunities than we used to to get into our instruments and singing.

And, lo! The banjo is back out of the case and in my hands, and your YouTube lessons are the best I've ever had.

So, again, thank you. Take care!

Jun 6, 2020 - 7:21:10 AM
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3 posts since 4/28/2005


Thank you so much. I have been wanting to play banjo for a few years but work and travel been preventing my practice (pilot). Well finally retired and found your lessons, great job, can't thank you enough.

Aug 9, 2020 - 6:10:47 PM

35 posts since 7/20/2020

quote: Hey Jim,
I just wanted to make sure this thread stays alive! Also, I want to thank you for putting these lessons together here. I am already a subscriber to your YouTube channel and think what you have done here is fantastic!
I recently started over with my banjo and your lessons really helped me get back into the swing of things. Perhaps one day, my playing might even sound more like playing and less like hacking on the strings.
Thanks again,

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


Sep 21, 2020 - 8:28:17 PM
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5 posts since 8/4/2020
Online Now

Jim, I’ve made it through your 10 beginner videos and Foggy Mountain breakdown. Just started blackberry blossom. I recently purchased the RK35 Madison and had Arthur Hatfield set it up, sounds great. Thank you for all you do.

Here's Arthur doing a little picking after set up.

Edited by - Kentucky Bluegrass on 09/21/2020 20:51:18

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