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Dec 27, 2022 - 11:12:55 AM
2 posts since 12/27/2022

I've been working on Ken Perlman's Clawhammer Banjo book for several months.

I loved Steve James' finger-style blues guitar books.

In general, I like a book dedicated to a style that arranges material in order of difficulty, teaching you the canon of the style and some history along the way.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Dec 27, 2022 - 1:16:19 PM
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3176 posts since 2/10/2013

It depends on what type of music. I prefer flatpicking fiddle tunes. Steve Kaufman's "Parking Lot Tunes" are the best instructionals I have ever used. And that includes banjo and fiddle. They have -

1. 3 Versions for each tune.
2. Tab AND standard music notation.
3. Recordings for every version of every tune.
4. Vocal recordings explaining how to play probably problem areas. Loads of information on flatpicking techniques.

There are 4 books in the series, and I have them all. Series 1,2, and 4 contain more commonly used flatpicking techniques. At first I was disappointed with Series 3. Eventually "the light came on" and I realized that series teaches how to play tunes "Carter Style". This style is especially useful when person is playing without accompaniment. Like clawhammer banjo, it contains melody and rhythm.

I am so disappointed with new musical instrument instructionals, I will not buy one unless I can check it out first. Text is so small it is almost unreadable. Publications are not spiral bound. Text is so close to the sides of pages publications cannot be spiral bound or have 3 hole punches used on the pages. Finally, some books that discuss music theory only contain tab. Players who have experience reading standard notation prefer using it when learning to apply music theory.

Dec 28, 2022 - 7:49:52 AM

77393 posts since 5/9/2007

I've always enjoyed playing a guitar as an aside to my banjo,but long for a more focused approach.I've known of Steve Kaufman's books for a long time and Dick's description of his 4 books has made up my mind to get those.
I do my best learning when I can compare the tab to the audible and this seems to fit the bill.
Also considering going to the Ossipee guitar camp next summer and a bit of Kaufman study should help that endeavor.

Dec 29, 2022 - 12:11:13 PM

3073 posts since 4/5/2006
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Oak Publications has instruction books on various Guitar styles & genres. The one I have is Bluegrass Guitar by Happy Traum, featuring the styles of Clarence White, Dan Crary, Doc Watson, Maybelle Carter, & others. Music notation as well as tablature.

Jan 27, 2023 - 2:09:48 PM

3176 posts since 2/10/2013

Youtube has a trendous amount of very good musical instruction information - especially theory. I keep searching for good instructionals, and have acquired a large stack of useless guitar instructionals. Check Youtube before you buy. For some unexplainable reason, I read more good banjo and fiddle instructional material than guitar instructional material. You have to "wade through" lots of commercial "plugs" for guitar instruction material/services on Youbube though.

Jan 27, 2023 - 3:21:54 PM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)


28517 posts since 8/3/2003

I bought Steve Kaufman's beginner guitar book several years ago and it got me started on playing guitar. The only thing I didn't like about it was it had about 6 or 7 songs and they started out basic and went more and more advanced from there. Not enough songs, too much stuff that was above my experience level.

What I needed was something that showed me how to flat pick and gave me songs that were easy. I could have then taken those songs and added my own frills later.

Jan 28, 2023 - 4:14:47 AM

2 posts since 12/27/2022

Yeah, that's more less the problem I'm having with all the flat-picking books. I ended up getting Nygaards book it has all of 1 beginner song. Looks like I'll be playing a lot of greenback dollar! Frankly, even that song is a bit advanced for me and I'll probably be working on it for some time just getting the basics down. Different bluegrass chords, hitting single strings or specific groups of strings with the pick, etc.

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