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Aug 4, 2021 - 10:21:42 PM
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74 posts since 5/20/2020

Banjo lessons are a complete joke, they are simply not worth money, from ANYONE.

1) Learn the rolls, the Youtubes is replete with free roll lessons.
2) Learn basic G-C-D songs
3) Learn the Circle of fifths, to play 1-4-5 in any key

then simply practice. There is NO shortcut, not really, except to get your RIGHT hand working before you touch the neck at all.

Do not get an expensive banjo at first. Old banjos are mostly junk. If you want to get something for life, get a nechville.com/ classic

If you want perfection for pennies, Get a Recording King "dirty 30's" banjo for about $250

practice to Bluegrass backing tracks, and slow them down until you can roll with a 1-4-5 pattern. such as these in

Here is a bunch of them - youtube.com/channel/UC15lVvYBl...LF6wDm0Ig

If you see a TEASER video, where the lesson is good, but ends early, and they want you to pay, leave that B.S alone

Aug 4, 2021 - 10:46:16 PM
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754 posts since 10/4/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

Banjo lessons are a complete joke, they are simply not worth money, from ANYONE...etc...


There's no need to read any further. This is horrible advice.

Aug 4, 2021 - 10:48:39 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

25156 posts since 6/25/2005

I beg to differ. While you can indeed learn from the internet, etc., lessons from an in-person live teacher can make a huge difference because you can get instant and accurate feedback and correction. I taught my sister the basic clawhammer stroke.  She learned it in 90 seconds.  I guarantee you that, for all her talent, she could not have done that without a live teacher and instant feedback/correction. Lessons where you deal with a live teacher (and let's include Skype here) are not a ripoff or some kind of hype. They are legit and beneficial.

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 08/04/2021 22:53:56

Aug 4, 2021 - 11:00:15 PM

banjoy

USA

9795 posts since 7/1/2006

I guess you don't need lessons to carve people up and thrown their remains on the streets of Albuquerque either. You just gotta see it on tv once or twice, then it's easy to murder people via extrajudicial slayings. Who needs no stinkin' lessons to murder people? It's easy. Anyone can do it.

Right?

Edited by - banjoy on 08/04/2021 23:01:07

Aug 5, 2021 - 12:02:25 AM

74 posts since 5/20/2020

it's a dirt road used for off-road vehicles, dirt bikes, etc, and it ends in a "breaking bad" sort of desert

Aug 5, 2021 - 12:13:53 AM
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268 posts since 8/4/2006

You must be a hell of a player by now.

Aug 5, 2021 - 12:39:31 AM
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102 posts since 11/18/2014

There are two comments here that have merit I think.

Firstly practice is necessary for progress. Without many hours of disciplined practice you will not improve. I have also learned that it takes years of practicing the simple stuff to get good enough to be able to do it without thinking which enables me to start incorporating more complicated stuff. Lessons without lots of practice are worthless.

Secondly, there is lots of great content and inspiration available for free online. It's exciting to live at a time when access to instructional information in all sorts of areas is so accessible. Make the most of it.

However:

Practice only works if you are practicing the right things in the right way. The tiny nuances of technique that we build into our playing give us a unique personal style. Without some kind of external reference and guide it is really easy to miss how we are developing these aspects of our playing. If we are lucky we are developing techniques that make us sound the way we want, more likely though we build habits that will restrict our progress and at some point down the line come to frustrate us when we realise that we have to unlearn years of developed technique to replace it with something else. There is no right or wrong ways to play any instrument, but there are ways that will enable you to more effectively translate the sound you hear in your head into a sound from the instrument. A teacher can help give feedback to help you on this journey. BUT they need to be a really good teacher to have this skill and personally I think less than 25% of music teachers I have met have this. To do it well a teacher needs both mastery of the instrument and an ability to diagnose and communicate. This is a very unusual combination.

In the UK I have not been able to find a coach and mentor to help me with this, banjo is a really minority instrument here. I am therefore self taught based on books and internet. I can therefore see that the OP has a point to an extent, but I for one really miss the fact that I don't have a great teacher and I know my ability to create music is less as a result.

Aug 5, 2021 - 3:11:07 AM
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Mivo

Germany

86 posts since 9/13/2017

I feel that an experienced in-person teacher can save you a lot of time and frustration, provide direction and a consistent curriculum with personalized feedback, and catch bad habits before they become deeply ingrained. Face-to-face, a person can show and demonstrate things better in a few minutes than you can pick up from watching videos where you're frequently still left with doubts and questions.

Can you learn many skills on your own with free resources? Absolutely, at least in theory. It's never been easier than now. But not everyone does well at being teacher and student at the same time, and for the vast majority of people it is unlikely to be an efficient approach. A lot of learners (of any skill) get stuck and give up after first making good progress for a bit and then aimlessly bouncing around between disconnected, inconsistent, and incomplete resources.

I say this as someone who by necessity learned various skills as an autodidact, but there is no doubt in my mind that it was an inefficient and inferior approach compared to learning from an experienced, skillful teacher (the quality of the teacher is crucial). It took more effort and time, and left me with weaknesses in some areas that structured teaching from a professional would most likely have prevented.

Aug 5, 2021 - 3:38:12 AM

1214 posts since 1/25/2017

Did Earl take lessons?

Aug 5, 2021 - 3:58:30 AM

banjoy

USA

9795 posts since 7/1/2006

Everyone is not Earl. Besides, I don't recall Earl ever bragging about killing people then dumping their bodies at the end of a dirt road, either (a post from this poster in another thread). But what do I know? maybe Earl did off people and dump their bodies, who can ever really know for sure?

Aug 5, 2021 - 4:15 AM
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193 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

Banjo lessons are a complete joke, they are simply not worth money, from ANYONE.

If you see a TEASER video, where the lesson is good, but ends early, and they want you to pay, leave that B.S alone


For some small part I'd be inclined to agree with you, many of these teachers have no structured curriculum . But as an online distance learner who's only way of learning to play banjo is thru books, DVDs and online instruction luckily I discovered https://www.banjobenclark.com  early on and joined as a life member.  Best decision I ever made.

Learning banjo however is a two way street, a teacher can only lead you to the water trough it's up to you the student to learn to drink the water.  In each new lesson I work thru there is always something new to learn. and over time I have learned a lot more than I believed was possible.

If you can pick up a banjo and play any tune right off the bat I take my hat off to you. You have a gift, however for most folk myself included that is not an option we need some measure of guidance and instruction.     

As students we all learn differently and it follows that all teachers teach differently. Some teachers will bore you to tears talking about triads, thirds & sixes or a bunch of scales which don't seem to have any relevance when it comes to physically playing banjo, others like talk endlessly about famous banjo players like Sonny Osborne, JD Crowe and Earl right in the middle of a lesson having no bearing on what is actually being taught. others like to brag about how many banjo players they have taught but don't actually teach anything.  

Having said that there are a lot of great teachers out there who are passionate about helping others learn to play banjo. So on the your point about "they are simply not worth money, from ANYONE." I strongly disagree. Like you these guys & gals need to earn a living to provide for their families and pay taxes like any normal family member, Most of them work really hard at passing on what skills they have. Some are just better at it than others. My guess is you're looking for FREE lessons and once you discovered these free lessons are simply samplers  demonstrating the teachers teaching skills with an invitation to pay for more in-depth instruction. You  have it in you mind that lessons are not required. I wish you luck. I hope however any other banjo students reading this thread are mindful of the fact that you are expressing you own personal views on this topic. Not everyone shares those views. And having such views doesn't mean you are an authority on this subject.  Just saying.

Aug 5, 2021 - 4:18:30 AM
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62 posts since 5/8/2021

On a forum full of bad advice and armchair experts, this really does take the cake. Buck, I don't know who you are, but I don't appreciate the (terrible) opinions being presented as straight up facts.

And are we really going to copy Scruggs to the point that we're avoiding lessons because he never took them. That's one of the most ridiculous, stupid things I've ever heard. I had heard that Junie Scruggs had shown Scruggs how to play banjo. That sounds a hell of a lot like lessons to me.

Well, I'm probably going to have my account locked for these comments, so it was nice wasting my time with everybody.

Aug 5, 2021 - 4:20:55 AM

193 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by SimonSlick

Did Earl take lessons?


I believe he did, but we'll never know for sure. Did someone mention Snuffy Smith?

Aug 5, 2021 - 4:22:39 AM
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58106 posts since 12/14/2005

Would it be considered Bad Manners to ask for a link to a video of you demonstrating how good you got without a live teacher?

Aug 5, 2021 - 4:27:36 AM
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6243 posts since 10/13/2007

Maybe for Buck this is true. But I would like to hear him play in support of this hypothesis. From the way he wears his picks as shown by a picture on his homepage media, I doubt he has the chops to back up this statement.
For my experience I can only say that the lessons I took with John Boulding helped immensely with things I did not understand that had held me back for years, and some conversations I was able to have with Jack Hatfield really really opened some doors for me.  And from the many articles I have read, there are many Professional banjo players that have given great credit to people that have taught them.
As for Earl never taking lessons, I was at a college tennis practice. My coach came to me and said that my grip was bad on the forehand. I said; Rod laver does it this way. My coach looked at me with disgust and said: "Do you think you are Rod Laver?". Oh boy did he make his point and I found thru some bad times followed by more good advice that my coach was totally right. There are few few Earl Scruggs or Rod Lavers in this world.
My take on this thread and the OP: Banjo striver beware.
ken

Edited by - From Greylock to Bean Blossom on 08/05/2021 04:30:34

Aug 5, 2021 - 4:48:04 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

26333 posts since 8/3/2003

You are welcome to your opinion, but that's all it is: an opinion. It is not fact. Many people need a teacher to show them how to hold the banjo, how to fret, how to pick, how to do rolls, slides, hammers, chokes, etc.

Many beginners have no music theory and don't understand keys, chords, rhythm. To pick up a strange instrument and think you can learn on your own can be impossible for some people.

Some people maybe able to pick up the banjo and learn on their own and my hat is off to them.

Most beginners would not understand what you mean by 1-4-5 songs or the Circle of Fifths.

I do agree that you should purchase as good a banjo as you can afford. However, I learned on an inexpensive import that had no tone ring and sounded tinny. So you can learn on a piece of junk but you can learn much quicker and easier on a more expensive banjo.

Aug 5, 2021 - 4:53:26 AM

193 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

Would it be considered Bad Manners to ask for a link to a video of you demonstrating how good you got without a live teacher?


Are you asking me Mike or the OP?

Aug 5, 2021 - 5:06:01 AM
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Jim Yates

Canada

6768 posts since 2/21/2007

Different students have different learning styles, just as different teachers have different teaching styles. Some folks are visual learners, who need to see something written out in order to learn it. Others are aural learners and do their learning from recordings or hearing others play. Some are disciplined enough to use Buck's method of learning while others need a teacher to make progress.
Different strokes for different folks.

There are bad habits that can be ingrained by repetition. A good teacher can point out these bad habits before they become hard to break.

I have never taken any formal banjo lessons, but have been shown many things by more experienced players, licks and techniques that I'd never have thought of by myself.

Any skill could be self taught, but good teachers could make learning the skill a lot easier and faster.

For some, we could say, "School is a complete waste of money. Get it free or forget it." Some can teach themselves the Pythagorean theorem or how to decline French verbs or how to improvise over the changes to Sweet Georgia Brown, but others need (or would prefer to have) teachers or professors to learn.

Edited by - Jim Yates on 08/05/2021 05:09:42

Aug 5, 2021 - 5:36:37 AM

slammer

USA

3284 posts since 12/30/2008

Hey Buck, are ya just yankin our chain??? I read your profile. Do you charge for lessons or are they free? Just curious!!!
Slammer!!!

Aug 5, 2021 - 5:46:25 AM
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Players Union Member

DC5

USA

20025 posts since 6/30/2015

It is easier to learn good technique, then to unlearn bad technique. Online videos are good, but nothing beats a good instructor with one on one attention. There are bad teachers, and good teachers. I've spent money on both, but I've gotten more than my money's worth from the good ones.

Aug 5, 2021 - 6:15:44 AM
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YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

375 posts since 5/11/2021

Obvious bait is obvious.

Aug 5, 2021 - 6:16:02 AM
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15316 posts since 12/2/2005

quote:
Originally posted by DC5

It is easier to learn good technique, then to unlearn bad technique. Online videos are good, but nothing beats a good instructor with one on one attention. There are bad teachers, and good teachers. I've spent money on both, but I've gotten more than my money's worth from the good ones.


This, exactly. About half of my students have been rank beginners. The other half have been people who tried Buck's approach and realized that it didn't work.

PS: the rank beginners tend to advance more quickly than the latter group, because they're learning a new skill instead of trying to unlearn mistakes and replace them with good technique.

Aug 5, 2021 - 6:20:03 AM

74 posts since 5/20/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Texasbanjo

You are welcome to your opinion, but that's all it is: an opinion. It is not fact. Many people need a teacher to show them how to hold the banjo, how to fret, how to pick, how to do rolls, slides, hammers, chokes, etc.

Many beginners have no music theory and don't understand keys, chords, rhythm. To pick up a strange instrument and think you can learn on your own can be impossible for some people.

Some people maybe able to pick up the banjo and learn on their own and my hat is off to them.

Most beginners would not understand what you mean by 1-4-5 songs or the Circle of Fifths.

I do agree that you should purchase as good a banjo as you can afford. However, I learned on an inexpensive import that had no tone ring and sounded tinny. So you can learn on a piece of junk but you can learn much quicker and easier on a more expensive banjo.


Aug 5, 2021 - 6:24:40 AM

74 posts since 5/20/2020

expensive banjos are a waste and it can seem important early on. Recording King banjos without a metal tone ring is a far better choice for a beginner due to weight alone. You can easily google "1-4-5 banjo songs". I had about 20 banjos at one time while learning and it was a mistake to seek out expensive resonator banjos. I am rich, so it didn't matter for me, but I don't want others to fall for the B.S. on this website.

Aug 5, 2021 - 6:33:54 AM
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74 posts since 1/17/2019

So this thread got me thinking. I have taken lessons for a couple of years from a couple different instructors. The collective approach has been: here is a new song tab this week, here are the new techniques introduced in the tab and here is how to play it, come back in a week, receive critique and we start all over with a new tab.

While I have advanced and learned different techniques it seems like there should be more to learning...don’t know what.

Aug 5, 2021 - 6:44:47 AM
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Players Union Member

DC5

USA

20025 posts since 6/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

expensive banjos are a waste and it can seem important early on. Recording King banjos without a metal tone ring is a far better choice for a beginner due to weight alone. You can easily google "1-4-5 banjo songs". I had about 20 banjos at one time while learning and it was a mistake to seek out expensive resonator banjos. I am rich, so it didn't matter for me, but I don't want others to fall for the B.S. on this website.


OK, you are new here, and pretty obviously a troll, but where have you seen anyone give B.S. on banjo purchases.  RK's have been repeatedly recommended as beginner banjos, and people are led to sources for used ones.  Also the Deering Goodtime line as well as some others are highly recommended.  Also the recommendation to get a better quality used banjo, rather than a cheap new banjo is highly recommended.  You have absolutely no basis in reality with your claim that people here recommend high end banjos for beginners.  I learned on an inexpensive Sekova bottlecap banjo, and I never regretted it, but as soon as I started playing a better quality instrument, the differences were clear and the ease of playing was unbelievable.  If you peruse the forum, rather than making wild claims, you will see the advice given here by most members is quite good. 

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