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Learn to Play Bluegrass Banjo Backup - Free Lessons

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Aug 5, 2019 - 4:40:27 PM
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6944 posts since 10/3/2003

Aug 5, 2019 - 6:20:24 PM
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5 posts since 12/20/2018

Hello Jim,

Thanks so much for posting this. Your video lessons have been a wonderful help to me as a self-taught (definitely still learning!) banjo player.

It's really amazing that you're willing to offer this additional instructional material for all of us.


Aug 6, 2019 - 2:07:28 AM
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Bill H


1265 posts since 11/7/2010

Thanks Jim. Finally backup begins to make some kind of sense to me.

Aug 6, 2019 - 8:14:05 AM
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111 posts since 7/28/2019

Good stuff Jim - thanks.

Aug 6, 2019 - 3:23:06 PM
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99 posts since 6/14/2017

Thank you, Jim!

Aug 6, 2019 - 11:33:06 PM

6944 posts since 10/3/2003

Stay tuned for more. I have several more ideas I feel like I need to cover. :)

Aug 7, 2019 - 8:55:12 AM
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346 posts since 3/31/2013

Thanks, Jim!

Aug 8, 2019 - 6:03:17 AM
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102 posts since 7/5/2011

Hi Jim!

THIS IS GREAT! I am looking forward to taking these lessons as soon as I have perfected the first 10 of the beginner series (I am on lesson 3). I am REALLY having a LOT of fun with this - THANK YOU so much for doing this!


Aug 8, 2019 - 9:20:01 AM
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11457 posts since 2/7/2008

I just watched Lesson 1.

As an occasional teacher, jammer and sometimes performing player, I am going to say this probably the best beginner lesson I have seen.

This is what bluegrass banjo players need to start with. It is similar to many beginner guitar lessons but banjo oriented. Too many banjo methods start by teaching a tabbed solo when players really need to understand how the banjo supports the song.
It took me years of largely self taught learning to understand the importance of all the points you made in this one lesson and I even learned something new.

There are a lot of beginner, intermediate and maybe pros that could benefit from watching this and reviewing something so basic.

Aug 9, 2019 - 4:46:37 PM
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5251 posts since 10/13/2007

Very nice of you Mr Pankey to do this AND very well done. Will be staying tuned for more and wonder how far up the ladder you plan on taking this.
Have a good weekend.

Aug 9, 2019 - 10:52:13 PM
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6944 posts since 10/3/2003


The main thing I'm trying to keep in mind is that it's a beginner series. I've got several more things to cover, but it'll all be geared to beginner players.

I figure that once folks are ready for advanced backup, they should be able to figure it out on their own. :)

Aug 10, 2019 - 3:38:04 PM

6944 posts since 10/3/2003

Aug 10, 2019 - 6:40:21 PM
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5251 posts since 10/13/2007

You are laying a great foundation in this series.yes .

Aug 15, 2019 - 3:24:26 PM

6944 posts since 10/3/2003

Aug 16, 2019 - 5:44:21 AM
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258 posts since 9/21/2018

Jim Pankey this is fantastic, and just what the doctor ordered. I was invited to go caroling with instruments for Christmas this year, and this is exactly what I was needing. Keep up the good work.

Aug 16, 2019 - 5:45:14 AM
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1 posts since 8/15/2019

Wanted to say thanks, came for tabs, found this and joined. I dont even have an instrument yet, but ive been watching and trying to get used to moving my fingers. I have no musical background and can follow clearly.

Aug 21, 2019 - 1:19:22 PM

6944 posts since 10/3/2003

Here's the final installment of the beginning backup series.

Aug 21, 2019 - 1:29:26 PM
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69 posts since 8/15/2019

This is so great!  I've tried off and on for years to learn the banjo, but never quite got the hang of things.  Now, mind you, I still am working on lesson 1, but already after just a couple of days practice, I can start to feel the "muscle memory" kicking in.  You explain the rolls and pinches down to my level!  Thanks so much for this and maybe this old 61 year old Ozarks hillbilly can finally play something on the banjo that sounds like something other than a cat with his tail caught under the rockin' chair!!

Sep 9, 2019 - 3:26:34 PM

6944 posts since 10/3/2003

tbeeson58 thanks for the kind words. I'm glad I can help! :)

Sep 17, 2019 - 3:22:19 AM

1 posts since 9/17/2019

Hey Jim,

thank you so much, you are the best.

Your beginner series is truly outstanding, the definitive starting point from what I've seen. Bravo sir.

I'd always considered myself non-musical but I love music and always wanted to be able to play an instrument. I thought it'd never happen.

Then I stumbled across your YouTube series at the start of the year and the logical progression of the lessons, careful explanations of playing elements and your infectious personality inspired me. Being able to SEE and HEAR how it's played makes all the difference for me.

Thanks to you I can now play a few tunes and it feels great to be able to say that.

I'm currently working on FMB up the neck and Cumberland Gap. Getting the pinky to follow orders is tricky but it's getting better.

Dunno if this is the right place to put in a request, but is there any chance you could do a lesson on Big Rock Candy Mountain?

Wishing you all the very best.

Sep 17, 2019 - 9:52:58 AM
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Players Union Member



1340 posts since 8/8/2012

Jim, great backup series, thank you.

Sep 25, 2019 - 9:05:35 AM

13 posts since 8/7/2017

Hi Jim,

Thank you so much for these videos - I started attempting to learn back up nearly 10 months ago and got absolutely nowhere; I've learnt so much more from your videos already!!! Thank you so much for posting them - they're great!!!


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