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May 23, 2022 - 10:07 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

Hi all... I have been thrilled that I was able to get through Jim Pankey's Beginner Bluegrass lesson's and learn 3 different songs. I'm struggling right now to find something to learn that will keep my interest.

I'm in no way out of the beginner category, but I don't want to practice just rolls, or things like that. I also know that can't play really complex things just yet (like Foggy Mountain Breakdown, although I want to learn it some day).

Does anyone have any suggestions? I am a member of Mike Hedding's lesson site, but I am struggling because it seems more like how to do "things" vs Make music. I get it, I studied music in the past and I hated having to do scales, and all those exercises, but at this stage in my life, I want to just have fun and make music... I'm not looking to make a career out of it, but I really would like to learn a few more easy songs if possible while I also work my way through some program.

May 23, 2022 - 10:09:05 AM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

1479 posts since 8/9/2019

FMB isn't any more complicated than, say, cripple creek.

Pick any song that entices you and hammer it until you have it down.

Rinse, repeat.

Keep it fun.

Edited by - ChunoTheDog on 05/23/2022 10:09:14

May 23, 2022 - 10:13:41 AM
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beegee

USA

22961 posts since 7/6/2005

Nothing worthwhile happens without grunt work. Perhaps you should find a jam session to hang out at?

May 23, 2022 - 10:14:43 AM
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thor363

USA

27 posts since 12/12/2021

Down the Road. Lots of open notes, and some good stuff.

May 23, 2022 - 10:29:49 AM
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13303 posts since 6/2/2008

Visit Banjo Ben Clark's online school. Browse all the lessons to see if anything there appeals to you. Keep in mind that he has detailed lessons for every song or technique taught. After you've browsed, sign up for a trial and get your pick of three free lessons. Based on that, you can decide whether to subscribe.

On YouTube, check out Eli Gilbert's free lessons. Some might be geared to a higher level. If Eli's material and approach appeal to you, go to Patreon and support him at some nominal amount per month and you'll get access to the tab plus extra videos on backup ideas, practice technique and other occasional members-only content. 

In the "Public" view on his Patreon page, Eli provides links to several dozen of his free "pre-Patreon" tabs.

Also take a look at Artistworks.com where Tony Trischka and Noam Pikelny both have online schools. You can do a 3-month trial subscription to either one. I recommend Tony's school for beginners. I think his content is more wide-ranging. His approach to teaching banjo is introduce players to techniques, touches and tunes from many different artists. Noam's content is certainly excellent. I think his approach is geared toward teaching you the way he plays -- certainly in the intermediate and advanced sections. Tony's been on Artistworks for 10 years or more, so there's way more content in his school.

If you join Artistworks even for three months, you should set aside time to download all the tablature (and organize it by beginner, intermediate, and advanced). The tab is yours to keep forever. The video lessons are only accessible while you're a paying subscriber.

There's always a coupon available for Artistworks. Never any reason to pay full price. In fact, if you just visit their home page then move your mouse to the browser's menu bar as if to leave, a discount offer will pop up. Right now Artistworks is offering 3-month subscriptions for $79 (usually $105) with the coupon code GOALS at checkout.

Another tip: If you enroll in Artistworks, immediately go to your account settings and turn off auto-renew.

Lots more learning opportunities for you. No one can list them all.

Good luck.

May 23, 2022 - 10:35:51 AM
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7661 posts since 8/30/2004

Seems to me that you should be asking jim pamkey and mike hedding this question...
 
Originally posted by kd8tzc

Hi all... I have been thrilled that I was able to get through Jim Pankey's Beginner Bluegrass lesson's and learn 3 different songs. I'm struggling right now to find something to learn that will keep my interest.

I'm in no way out of the beginner category, but I don't want to practice just rolls, or things like that. I also know that can't play really complex things just yet (like Foggy Mountain Breakdown, although I want to learn it some day).

Does anyone have any suggestions? I am a member of Mike Hedding's lesson site, but I am struggling because it seems more like how to do "things" vs Make music. I get it, I studied music in the past and I hated having to do scales, and all those exercises, but at this stage in my life, I want to just have fun and make music... I'm not looking to make a career out of it, but I really would like to learn a few more easy songs if possible while I also work my way through some program.


May 23, 2022 - 10:36:34 AM
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Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5790 posts since 10/12/2009

There are Bluegrass shows down in Shalersville, Portage County,  45 min to an hour south of you, at least once a month. Google it.

Also, there is this festival, towards the end of Summer....  https://www.mansfieldjamfest.com/   which is always a good festival and a good time. Lots of campsite jamming, you can just walk thru the campgrounds in the evenings, listening to people jam, or take your banjo, and jam with them.

Get out and see, listen and join in, to live music...in many ways that is just as important as practicing.

Ohio, and Northeast OH, in particular, has a fairly vibrant & active Bluegrass scene, get involved....find some guitar-picker to jam with.

May 23, 2022 - 10:45:24 AM
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1600 posts since 9/6/2019

Bill Nesbitt has some pretty good songs on the Little Rock Banjo site. I learned The Ballad of Jed Clampett, and a few others on there. Bill also does a different version of Boil Them Cabbage down that has you doing more pull-offs and slides than the basic version that Jim has in his lessons.

I used both Jim and Bill to learn. Jim's style gets you playing the tune and Bill sometimes refines the song a little beyond Jim's lesson. One isn't better than the other, just a couple of different perspectives.

May 23, 2022 - 10:52:29 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

Thanks... lots of great ideas all. Old Hickory Ken, than you for the extensive different options. I tried Eli right off the bat and I couldn't click with his style, but I should give it a try again.

Banjonewguy Bill, I will also look at Bill's site. Looking at it now, I like the fact that he has the TABs as well. I like that Jim Pankey makes you memorize them so you don't become dependent on the TAB, but some of us are more of visual learners, and seeing the tab answers a ton of questions, so you can see it, and then put the tab aside and memorize it.

May 23, 2022 - 11:11:54 AM
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7661 posts since 8/30/2004

FMB is a lot harder than Cripple Creek if you count the high break, that thing is a killer...Jack

Originally posted by ChunoTheDog

FMB isn't any more complicated than, say, cripple creek.

Pick any song that entices you and hammer it until you have it down.

Rinse, repeat.

Keep it fun.


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May 23, 2022 - 11:20:11 AM
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13303 posts since 6/2/2008

For a teach-yourself approach, here are the results of searching the Hangout Tab Library for Genre:Bluegrass and Difficulty:Beginner.  Of course, this only brings up tabs for which the people posting them checked off genre and difficulty level. But it's captured a lot of them.

Most of the beginner level self-instruction books are going to have more pages of basics and exercises than songs. But, of course, they'll also have songs.

Alan Munde's "Getting into Bluegrass Banjo,"  Ned Luberecki's "Beginning Banjo" book, Janet Davis's "You Can Teach Yourself Banjo,"  and Jack Hatfield's "Bluegrass Banjo Method - Book One" are all well-reviewed. Jack's book includes 26 "essential Bluegrass songs." My link is to the book/CD/DVD package. Book/CD is a few dollars less.

May 23, 2022 - 11:21:11 AM

1600 posts since 9/6/2019

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc

Thanks... lots of great ideas all. Old Hickory Ken, than you for the extensive different options. I tried Eli right off the bat and I couldn't click with his style, but I should give it a try again.

Banjonewguy Bill, I will also look at Bill's site. Looking at it now, I like the fact that he has the TABs as well. I like that Jim Pankey makes you memorize them so you don't become dependent on the TAB, but some of us are more of visual learners, and seeing the tab answers a ton of questions, so you can see it, and then put the tab aside and memorize it.


Bill has the tab but in his videos he also split screens and shows you both his picking hand and his fingering hand. He also runs through really slow and gradually speeds up so if you're a visual learner that helps you just by watching him just like it does with Jim. Usually the first couple times he runs through the full song he'll show the tab on the screen as well then he'll bring in an accompanying guitar. I learned a lot from both of those guys.

May 23, 2022 - 11:23:41 AM
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Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27358 posts since 8/3/2003

If you want to learn songs vs. rolls, look up hatfieldmusic.com and check out Jack Hatfield's Beginning Bluegrass Book 1, 2 and 3. Jack starts you out with a simple song/tune/melody, one that incorporates a basic concept into the song. He highlights the melody notes so you know where they are, and then plays it slowly so you can pick along and then at tempo so you know how it is supposed to sound. Book 2 continues where #1 left off and Book 3 continues as backup lessons to what you've already learned. (Jack is a member here.)

Janet Davis' You Can Teach Yourself Banjo is another good beginner book and is followed by Up the Neck, Backup Banjo and Splittin' the Licks. I am not sure of the URL to her website but others will probably know.

Eddie Collins also has a good beginner book and advanced books out. (Eddie is a member here).

Alan Munde has several beginner books and advanced books. (He's also a member here).

Gee, there are so many excellent teachers, I just think I'd better quit.

May 23, 2022 - 11:26:07 AM
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2775 posts since 5/2/2012

Did an advanced search in the "Learn" section of the BHO site.  Came up with this list using search terms such as bluegrass, Style, key of G and beginner.  Lots of free tabs if you want to learn some new tunes.

Teachers have different teaching styles.  Some that click with the learner, sometimes not.  That's OK. Find what works for you.  

I like Goeff Hohwald's materials.  You get a DVD with him teaching the tune(s), tab and backing tracks to play along with when you're ready.  At the beginner level he has books with  "easy banjo breaks" and at a more challenging level "classic banjo songs".  I'm more of a visual learner, so watching Goeff and having the tabs works for me.  

 

 

 

 

 


 

May 23, 2022 - 11:37:22 AM
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kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

quote:
Originally posted by thisoldman

Did an advanced search in the "Learn" section of the BHO site.  Came up with this list using search terms such as bluegrass, Style, key of G and beginner. 


Thanks.. I have NEVER been able to get that advanced search to work for me.  Regardless of what I check, the entire library comes back.  Your's though worked so I'm bookmarking it.

May 23, 2022 - 12:05:23 PM

13303 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc

Thanks.. I have NEVER been able to get that advanced search to work for me.  Regardless of what I check, the entire library comes back.  Your's though worked so I'm bookmarking it.


Happy to help.

This search is better.  The previous one has G tuning and Key of G checked, which I don't remember doing. This new search is strictly Bluegrass and Beginner.

I can't offer any guess as to why your searches with selections checked would return the entire library. 

May 23, 2022 - 1:12:42 PM
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KCJones

USA

1718 posts since 8/30/2012

I'm going to be totally honest and maybe a bit blunt.

If you don't want to practice fundamental right-hand techniques in isolation, you will never be a good banjo player. Have fun, do what you want to do, but understand that clean right hand technique is a requirement regardless of style.

May 23, 2022 - 1:31:45 PM
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1168 posts since 1/26/2011

You might want to look at this book by Geoff Hohwald. It has up and down the neck breaks for a number of classic bluegrass songs and includes audio files and video lessons. It's only $20, and there is a lot of learning material.

https://www.amazon.com/Classic-Banjo-Songbook-Online-Access/dp/1940301459/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?crid=CA0H3IX8CO22&keywords=classic+banjo+songbook&qid=1653337933&sprefix=classic+banjo+%2Caps%2C124&sr=8-1

Edited by - jdeluke137 on 05/23/2022 13:33:07

May 23, 2022 - 2:20:17 PM

2775 posts since 5/2/2012

Ken's search is better than mine. I forgot to check a box in the tuning section.

May 23, 2022 - 3:04:10 PM
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banjoy

USA

10269 posts since 7/1/2006

You are receiving some excellent ideas from very loving and caring people here.

All I can tell you, is from my own personal experience, attending jam sessions is what opened up a new world for me.

I played a lot of music for many years and hit the same wall as you have. When I first went to an open, caring and accommodating jam (in the mid 1980s in Memphis, TN) I was scared s***less. Once you get past that, it's a real eye opener, and a salve for the heart and soul.

Enjoy the journey. It only gets better.

May 23, 2022 - 5:28:13 PM
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AGACNP

USA

274 posts since 10/12/2011
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by KCJones

I'm going to be totally honest and maybe a bit blunt.

If you don't want to practice fundamental right-hand techniques in isolation, you will never be a good banjo player. Have fun, do what you want to do, but understand that clean right hand technique is a requirement regardless of style.


I agree with the sentiment here. I'm not trying to be harsh, but need to be honest. 
 

By all means, gather information...whatever it takes to keep your interest in practicing technique. Without the grunt work...SLOW it down, get it RIGHT, PRACTICE the fundamentals ad nauseum...before proceeding, the magic will not happen.

May 23, 2022 - 5:35:36 PM
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kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

It’s not that I don’t want to do the grunt work. I know I have to but I also need to do things that keep me interested so learning easy doable songs help with that. I’m just trying to get through the frustration of not learning anything new that I can play and make music with.

Yes, all the right hand and left hand drills will one day pay off and allow me hopefully to play some amazing things, but I know me, and I know when I get frustrated, I give up and I don’t want that to happen.

Thanks for all the help, I do appreciate it.

May 23, 2022 - 6:23:23 PM
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14 posts since 6/19/2021

Un less I missed it no one mentioned the Murphy Method. Some good beginning DVD's are available and up to advanced level. Murphy and Casey do a good job of explaining the lessons.

May 24, 2022 - 1:48:33 AM
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406 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc

Hi all... I have been thrilled that I was able to get through Jim Pankey's Beginner Bluegrass lesson's and learn 3 different songs. I'm struggling right now to find something to learn that will keep my interest.

I'm in no way out of the beginner category, but I don't want to practice just rolls, or things like that. I also know that can't play really complex things just yet (like Foggy Mountain Breakdown, although I want to learn it some day).

Does anyone have any suggestions? I am a member of Mike Hedding's lesson site, but I am struggling because it seems more like how to do "things" vs Make music. I get it, I studied music in the past and I hated having to do scales, and all those exercises, but at this stage in my life, I want to just have fun and make music... I'm not looking to make a career out of it, but I really would like to learn a few more easy songs if possible while I also work my way through some program.


Hi kd8tzc

So learning to play banjo is for life. If you hope to make any real progress you have to learn some scales and practice a lot of exercises along the way to develop the skills you need later on. Some teachers and teaching methods can get boring after a while. There is now a ton of great info out there that's free but if you really want to move forward and have fun doing it I would encourage you to check out Banjo Ben Clark's Website 

 

Seriously though Banjo Ben has some great lessons to help you improve your skills and will never bore you

 

  Learning the Neck

 

  Fun lesson on Scales

 

  Guest Teachers

 

  Hundreds of FUN tunes to practice as you develop your playing skills

 

 

  More Advance Skills - Learn how to play Boogie Woogie Backup

 

May 24, 2022 - 6:44:43 AM
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4227 posts since 3/28/2008

You should look into some kind of jamming instruction. The big name in this field is Pete Wernick. There's an international network of instructors teaching classes according to his method.Check out his website: wernickmethod.org/faqs

The focus in these classes is not how to play stuff on your instrument, but rather, how to take whatever you know how to play and use it to make music with others. It may be boring to practice rolls and chords by yourself, but those same basic rolls and chords can be a lot of fun when they're part of a bigger musical picture. That social setting will keep you engaged, and as you learn more banjo licks and techniques you can put them to work when you play with friends.

May 24, 2022 - 8:22:32 AM

Wobba

USA

9 posts since 4/15/2020

kd8tzc Take a look at Josh Turknett's fingerstyle banjo course. Tons of songs starting with really simple ones. It teaches you solid rhythm first with Old Time two finger, then moves you to 3 finger and into Bluegrass. The course is fun, and you have a huge number of songs to choose from in the tune vault. fingerstylebanjo.com

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