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Aug 11, 2020 - 11:15:51 AM
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12 posts since 8/11/2020

Hi all

Newbie here. I am in the very early stages of learning Scruggs style banjo having come from a rock guitar and Irish tenor banjo background. This bluegrass really puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it, even more so when I watch youtube vids and get to see it actually being played.
Anyway, I am working my way through random tunes and free lessons and thought it would be a good idea to acquire some matetial to listen to as I know very little. I am particularly interested in recordings of what I guess you might call "session standards" rather than virtuoso performances. It seems like a logical starting point.
Can yiu recommend any albums please?

Aug 11, 2020 - 12:06:42 PM
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33 posts since 3/8/2010

Welcome to the team! You're a gentleman and a scholar.
The #1 albums to get you going are Flatt & Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Banjo", "Foggy Mountain Jamboree" and "Live at Carnegie Hall".

Aug 11, 2020 - 12:23:12 PM
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94 posts since 3/21/2005

All the Scruggs you can fine- and don't forget to get the "How to play Banjo" book by Earl. Most people who want to be a Scruggs style player get the book and learn the [12 I think] songs. Each comes with tab.
Most players learn all EXACTLY as Earl did them. IF you play them that way, no matter where you are playing [ show, jam, front porch] you will always be 100% correct. No one will ever fault you or correct you if you are playing exactly like Earl did it.

Aug 11, 2020 - 12:28:07 PM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)


24851 posts since 8/3/2003

If you like traditional bluegrass, look for albums by Ralph Stanley, Sonny Osborne, J.D. Crowe just to name a few. Gee, there are so many other excellent banjo players out there, I just don't know where to start or quit, so I'll just mention those 3 (plus Earl, of course) to begin with.

Aug 11, 2020 - 1:09:56 PM

12 posts since 8/11/2020

Thanks guys. I wasn't aware of the book you mentioned, I will google that along with the albums you mentioned.
I don't specifically want traditional bluegrass, its more a question of learning tunes that I could join in with at a session. I'm guessing its a similar situation to that in a traditional Irish session where there are a bunch of must know tunes that you can alost gaurantee will get played at some point during the evening. Those are the tunes I'm after and having a recording to reference against is really useful

Aug 11, 2020 - 1:39:25 PM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)


24851 posts since 8/3/2003

If you want some note by note tab to check some of the songs you're listening to on Flat & Scruggs recordings, you might want to check with Jack Baker, he has many of Earl's tabs. Another person who does Earl's tabs is Jack Hatfield. Both have excellent tabs and Jack Baker does his tabs on tabledit so you can listen as you watch/play along. I don't know whether Jack Hatfield has that software or not.

Aug 11, 2020 - 5:30:19 PM

650 posts since 2/14/2007

Get the original Will the Circle Be Unbroken album. It's a timeless classic with many great first-generation players including, Earl, Mother Maybelle Carter and Roy Acuff. Also some great chatter from Doc Watson, Merle Travis and Jimmy Martin.

Edited by - Barretone on 08/11/2020 17:31:36

Aug 12, 2020 - 7:10:59 AM

2087 posts since 2/10/2013

Forget tunes. Go for listening to people playing different styles of bluegrass banjo. Listen to Scruggs, but also listen to the original "Seldom Scene" and hear Ben Eldridge play banjo, Newgrass Revival, Alan Sheldon, and Allen Shelton. Eddie Adcock played a distinctive style. Sonny Osborne is enjoyable and plays outstanding backup. Keep your mind open. Go to Youtube and you can hear a lot of outstanding bluegrass banjo styles.

Before you buy any banjo instructional information, provide detailed information about your musical experience and specify exactly what you want in instructional material. If I did not have any banjo playing experience, I would get "Banjo Primer". It teaches the user how to play the essential basic rolls, and without them you are not going to get anywhere on the banjo. After that you can start learning to play the music you enjoy.

Aug 12, 2020 - 8:24:09 AM

18 posts since 10/12/2018

I started putting a playlist together recently:

Aug 12, 2020 - 8:36:43 AM



764 posts since 4/12/2004

Get all of the Bluegrass Album Band albums.

Aug 12, 2020 - 8:40 AM

496 posts since 2/6/2018

....and round out your listening enjoyment with a little Tony Ellis.

Aug 16, 2020 - 7:15:18 AM
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12 posts since 8/11/2020

Thanks everyone. A Flatt and Scruggs cd arrived yesterday and I have just ordered the Scruggs book. Guess I'm up and running.

Aug 16, 2020 - 12:29:06 PM

184 posts since 4/28/2019

While not expressed in the same way, I had a similar question about what songs should I focus on learning as a beginner. And while I'm not an expert on anything banjo, I did find this thread (and bookmarked it) in answer to my question:

Edited by - xmark on 08/16/2020 12:31:17

Aug 17, 2020 - 9:26:35 AM

12 posts since 8/11/2020

Thanks for the two links Mark, both very informative.

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