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Sep 16, 2021 - 4:28:32 PM
3 posts since 9/16/2021

So I Have just finished the wonderful “You Can Teach Yourself Banjo” book by Janet Davis. I’m looking to get my second beginner banjo book and was wondering if any of you had suggestions? I’m all ears!

Sep 16, 2021 - 5:27:44 PM

12274 posts since 6/2/2008

Look at Ned Luberecki's three-level "Complete Banjo Method." Maybe you're ready for his second level. Available directly from him at Nedski.com. Click the link for Store.

Jack Hatfield's banjo method is also frequently recommended.

I don't know how far Janet Davis's introductory book goes, but I can't imagine someone else's beginner book takes you much further. So you probably need the intermediate level in a method series.

Good luck.

Sep 16, 2021 - 5:35:27 PM

344 posts since 4/14/2014

Janet's book is a great starting point. All of her books are great but I'd say the most often over looked skill is backup banjo. Ned's is a good one too, but I'd say go to Janet's "Backup Banjo" or "Up the Neck" book, depending on what you're feeling.

Sep 16, 2021 - 5:45:12 PM

2580 posts since 5/2/2012

Ken has given you some good ideas.
Depends on what your long term goal is. The Davis book has given you a good foundation to build on. If you want to play with others, you might think of starting some work on backup. If you just want to learn tunes, then there are a number of those kinds of books. If you want to learn a certain genre of music (gospel tunes, fiddle tunes), there are books for that. Learning melodic style, single string technique....lots of choices.

I've been having a blast the past few months playing Eddie Collins' ASAP fiddle tunes for bluegrass banjo. The "basic" level tunes should be in your wheelhouse. You will need a capo and spikes or a 5th string capo since a number of the tunes are in A tuning. What I like best about his basic arrangements is that you can really hear the melody while you are playing, as long as your timing is good, even when you're not up to speed. When you're ready, you can move up to the intermediate arrangements.  

I just saw Nic's post.  Personally, Janet's books  on backup and up the neck where a big jump for me after I had gone through a beginner book. Both good books, just above my head at the time.  Not to discourage you, that was my experience and I don't have a ton of  innate talent.  Just sayin...your mileage may vary. 

Edited by - thisoldman on 09/16/2021 17:53:59

Sep 16, 2021 - 5:49:24 PM

74 posts since 5/8/2021

That was the only book I worked out of for almost the first year of my playing. It's great to have all these resources, but it's easy to get bogged down and burnt out, especially when you're starting out and just learning the basics.

After a year of working on the basics, I was ready to start learning more advanced bluegrass breaks and started picking and choosing what I wanted to work on. Since finishing her first book, I've been working on back up mostly from Eli Gilbert's YouTube channel and Bill Evans. Jim Pankey is also a great resource. He doesn't use tab, but is very good at explaining how to play whatever he is teaching, and he covers everything from basics all the way to advanced stuff.

But honestly, Janet Davis has other books (Splitting the Licks, Up the Neck, Back-up Banjo) and there's nothing wrong with sticking with her stuff. And you might not need another "beginner" book. You gotta learn the basics and get control with your picking hand (I personally have issues with people trying to play FMB after a month of playing) but you also need to challenge yourself.

Sep 16, 2021 - 6:43:50 PM
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1089 posts since 1/26/2011
Online Now

Geoff Hohwald’s backup series is very good. If you’re going to play with others you’ll be playing backup most of the time. He has three backup books, starting out very basic. They include complete video lessons and practice tracks. And if you have a question you can always contact Geoff via email and he’ll answer your questions. I’m including a link to the first book, but if you want all three contact sales and you can probably get a price break.

https://banjocompass.com/product/bpb2/

Sep 16, 2021 - 6:44:08 PM
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YellowSkyBlueSun

Virgin Islands (U.S.)

416 posts since 5/11/2021

Splitting The Licks is probably the one book I've used more than any other, and without question was the only book that elevated my playing significantly. It doesn't just teach you what to play, it teaches you the how and why.

TBH, I would pause on the books and look at youtube. Specifically, I would go through the John Boulding Lick-of-the-Week series. jsutergraphix.com/LOTW/

Sep 16, 2021 - 7:00:41 PM
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3 posts since 9/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Nic Pennsylvania

Janet's book is a great starting point. All of her books are great but I'd say the most often over looked skill is backup banjo. Ned's is a good one too, but I'd say go to Janet's "Backup Banjo" or "Up the Neck" book, depending on what you're feeling.


 Thank you for your most gracious reply! Based on what you said and  others have said I definitely think I need to get more of her books, especially like the way that she breaks it down in her books and just her teaching overall seems very compassionate and easy to understand. Thank you for your most gracious reply! Based on what you said and have others have said I definitely think I need to get more of her books, especially like the way that she breaks it down in her books and just her teaching overall seems very compassionate and easy to understand.

Sep 16, 2021 - 7:02:39 PM
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3 posts since 9/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory

Look at Ned Luberecki's three-level "Complete Banjo Method." Maybe you're ready for his second level. Available directly from him at Nedski.com. Click the link for Store.

Jack Hatfield's banjo method is also frequently recommended.

I don't know how far Janet Davis's introductory book goes, but I can't imagine someone else's beginner book takes you much further. So you probably need the intermediate level in a method series.

Good luck.

 


 I really like learning from one teacher because I feel like each person has their own way of breaking these concepts down. And I don't personally have a live teacher at the moment because I want to teach myself as much as I can before I get live instruction. I'm sure I'll have some bad habits to break by then but the same thing happened  With my nursing career. I will go check out Ned's books because that might actually give me a good idea of where I am AM if I truly am a beginner or intermediate. Thank you!

Sep 16, 2021 - 8:15:56 PM

6264 posts since 10/13/2007

This week on the hangout it was mentioned that Jack Hatfield has gone digital. https://hatfieldmusic.com/digital-editions/

You can get book 1,2,3 for only $75 and that includes almost 300 audio tracks (https://hatfieldmusic.com/product/digital-bundle-bbm/)

these 3 books will get you playing at a high level. they not only teach fundamentals but how to think and play without tab. The third book is back up and I think it is the best banjo book written. His progressions are brilliantly organized and you playing will likewise progress.

ken

Sep 17, 2021 - 5:29:20 AM

Greg Denton

Canada

68 posts since 10/5/2014

halleonard.com/product/695736/...jo-method

I like Fred Sokolow's book and think it would be a nice complement to the Janet Davis book.

Fred's book starts off with some basic back-up skills - using rolls, walks between chords, tag-licks, fill-ins, using "chop" chords, basic chord shapes and their distribution across the fretboard, how to group chords into I, IV, V families - and presents examples in multiple keys, so you start to develop the ability to play along in a jam situation and understand the fundamentals of chord progressions. The latter part of the book deals with melody and the skills you need to build your own solo.

I think it would be a useful companion to the Janet Davis book and would help expedite progression from "playing the banjo" to "playing the banjo along with other musicians". And I think it would deepen your understanding of how the banjo neck is organized.

Best of luck whatever you decide. And congrats on making it all the way through the Janet Davis book!

Sep 17, 2021 - 1:41:12 PM

12274 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by JDeCandia
I really like learning from one teacher because I feel like each person has their own way of breaking these concepts down. And I don't personally have a live teacher at the moment because I want to teach myself as much as I can before I get live instruction. I'm sure I'll have some bad habits to break by then but the same thing happened  With my nursing career. I will go check out Ned's books because that might actually give me a good idea of where I am AM if I truly am a beginner or intermediate. Thank you!

Everything you say makes perfect sense. If a teacher or writer's style works for you, then stay with them.

As I said, I'm not familiar enough with Janet's Teach Yourself book, so I don't know how far it takes you. BUT, I'm a little more aware of what's in her Splitting the Licks and Backup books and it seems to me that if the first book has got you to an intermediate level, then these two, simultaneously, are what you want next.

You may well be at the point where you can use any source -- especially the Hangout Tab Library -- to get beginner and intermediate versions of tunes to play. You can use the Advanced Search feature to specifically search for tabs by ability level. As long as the person posting the tab assigned a level, it will turn up that way.

What you really need at the intermediate level is not more tunes to memorize, but instruction focused on helping you become more than a person who can play some tunes on banjo, but an actual banjo player. I think the most important part of that is helping you recognize that much of three-finger bluegrass banjo is modular and interchangeable musical "vocabulary" that you can use to play interpreted versions of any tune or song.

That's what Splitting the Licks is all about: teaching you that the musical vocabulary of phrases ("licks") that work against certain chords in one song will almost always work against the same chord in other songs. You might sometimes want to change the last note of a phrase to help it flow better into a different chord -- changing the ending of a G lick, for example, depending on whether the next chord is C, D or something else. And solos to vocal songs assembled strictly out of licks may not literally render melody. But that's ok. The chord progression is sometimes enough to identify the song. This type of playing is like scat singing on the banjo. Learning how to render melody is its own path to pursue, perhaps now or at the later intermediate level.

Backup is important to begin learning now because if you eventually play with others, you'll be playing backup -- accompaniment --  probably 90 percent of the time.  You can also use backup technique to accompany yourself as you sing.

Have at it. And enjoy.

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