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Jan 30, 2024 - 11:10:42 AM
20 posts since 11/30/2023

Well after trying to learn Banjo myself from books. I failed 2 times and went to guitar where I can play open Chords and do a little picking. So I have a lot more dexterity and a bit of musical knowledge now. Presnt day: I bought myself an RK-20 about 2 months ago and hit the Jim Pankey Vids. (YouTube) I am now playing (Parroting) Cripple Creek and Banjo In The Hollar, J.Pankey versions. Have the bug for the 5 string bad and want to progress. Wondering: What would be a good level and learning program to take from here? I definately have done well with J. Pankey so sort of leaning towards Video and Books. My biggest issue is going from "parroting" of a video lesson to understanding the Tabliture vs what rolls they are showing..it all sort of looks like one finger at a time to me :) Hope that makes sense. TY

Jan 30, 2024 - 11:17:21 AM
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Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

29973 posts since 8/3/2003

My advice: find a live teacher that can explain things to you. It will make it easier for you to advance with less bad habits and fewer questions as to basics on the 5 string, chords, licks, techniques, timing, etc.

If you can't find/afford a live teacher, look for one on line that you can talk to via Skype or one of those face-to-face software. It will be almost as good as a live teacher.

A good beginner instruction book will help answer some of your questions, but can only help you so far and then you're back to where you are now.

Edited by - Texasbanjo on 01/30/2024 11:18:01

Jan 30, 2024 - 11:35:12 AM
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3328 posts since 5/2/2012

Jim Pankey provides a well done intro to Scruggs style picking. I look at his lesson presentations as sort of a "see and do" approach. The Murphy Method seems to use the same approach. There's a auditory/listening element to that instruction as well.

If you're thinking video and tab (books), I have a couple of Goeff Hohwald's books. DVD (with video instruction as well as backing tracks to play along with) and a book of tab. A bit pricey, but if it fits your learning style (it does mine), then it's probably worth the investment.

I'm a visual learner, and find learning with tab works for me. I found out pretty early on I could look at a measure and very quickly recognize the picking pattern (not just note by note), then pick it. Sometime after that I could look ahead (of the measure I was currently playing) and recognize the pattern. This was, of course, on pretty simple tunes in the beginning. Learning songs played Scruggs style has been compared to learning a language and the building blocks that are part of that.

I play by myself, but if you're thinking of playing with others in the future, I don't think it's ever too early to start learning backup. Pankey videos are available for that as well.

Edited by - thisoldman on 01/30/2024 11:37:25

Jan 31, 2024 - 4:53 AM
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335 posts since 2/22/2019

Eli Gilbert has some very good videos on YT.

Jan 31, 2024 - 6:11:46 AM
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4804 posts since 3/28/2008

You need to play with other people. Get good at playing backup; when you're playing with others, that's what you'll be doing 80%-90% of the time.

Go to jams. If you don't have the skills for that right now--and those skills are different from the ones you need to play licks, tunes, and breaks--find some way to learn them. There's a lot of jamming instruction nowadays. I'd recommend the Wernick Method, wernickmethod.org/what-is-the-...k-method, which I've been using as a teacher for years.

Even if you don't have your jamming skills in place yet, go to jams to see what happens there--what kind of songs get played, how the players communicate, what sense you can make out of the process on your own, etc.

Good luck!

Jan 31, 2024 - 10:48:06 AM
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698 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by TikiJeff

Well after trying to learn Banjo myself from books. I failed 2 times and went to guitar where I can play open Chords and do a little picking. So I have a lot more dexterity and a bit of musical knowledge now. Presnt day: I bought myself an RK-20 about 2 months ago and hit the Jim Pankey Vids. (YouTube) I am now playing (Parroting) Cripple Creek and Banjo In The Hollar, J.Pankey versions. Have the bug for the 5 string bad and want to progress. Wondering: What would be a good level and learning program to take from here? I definately have done well with J. Pankey so sort of leaning towards Video and Books. My biggest issue is going from "parroting" of a video lesson to understanding the Tabliture vs what rolls they are showing..it all sort of looks like one finger at a time to me :) Hope that makes sense. TY


Sounds as though your ready to check out this guy. 

Edited by - FenderFred on 01/31/2024 10:50:14

Jan 31, 2024 - 11:14:32 AM
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3730 posts since 4/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Ira Gitlin

You need to play with other people. Get good at playing backup; when you're playing with others, that's what you'll be doing 80%-90% of the time.

Go to jams. If you don't have the skills for that right now--and those skills are different from the ones you need to play licks, tunes, and breaks--find some way to learn them. There's a lot of jamming instruction nowadays. I'd recommend the Wernick Method, wernickmethod.org/what-is-the-...k-method, which I've been using as a teacher for years.

Even if you don't have your jamming skills in place yet, go to jams to see what happens there--what kind of songs get played, how the players communicate, what sense you can make out of the process on your own, etc.

Good luck!


This is a common conundrum every novice player comes up against sooner or later. And the longer it is avoided, the more difficult it becomes to take that first step. Books, internet, even private lessons, fall short of the personal interaction of actually playing music with other people. Perhaps a bit stressful in the beginning, however, much less so than being critiqued by your teacher! When playing with others, everyone is assumed equal.

Playing alone is akin to playing in a vacuum, being oblivious to the outside world. Not knowing better, one tends to believe they are the only banjo player in town.  Rather than rely on the web, try taking your banjo to the local park. Choose your own hours. Just sit on a park bench or under a tree & play your heart out. Sooner or later, someone will take notice, maybe even stop to talk. If you're lucky, that someone may also be a musician.

Watch kids coming home from school. Every now & then, one of them will be totin a guitar or fiddle, aka: violin. Talk to them! Look up Old Time Fiddlers Association. Find out when & where they meet, & pay them a visit. What do have to lose? BTW: OTFA teaches fiddle without tab or sheet music, yet everyone learns. Yeah, they are primarily all about fiddle, although they do need a rhythm section for backup, & they know every fiddle tune in the book!

Jams involve backup as well as lead. Bone up on closed chords & vamping, playing in keys other than G, the capo, including the 5th string.  Learn to recognize basic guitar chords. Again, easier accomplished face to face than any other method known to man. smiley

Edited by - monstertone on 01/31/2024 11:40:57

Feb 1, 2024 - 12:47:22 PM
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6025 posts since 3/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by TikiJeff
My biggest issue is going from "parroting" of a video lesson to understanding the Tabliture vs what rolls they are showing..it all sort of looks like one finger at a time to me :) Hope that makes sense. TY

I think you're having trouble understanding how Scruggs style works. We all do starting out. There are melody notes, then there's all this other stuff and the timing of them can feel pretty weird. This is the kind of thing that a teacher can focus on (in person or remotely). You might only need a few lessons to grasp the concept. 

Feb 1, 2024 - 1:10:48 PM
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20 posts since 11/30/2023

quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl
quote:
Originally posted by TikiJeff
My biggest issue is going from "parroting" of a video lesson to understanding the Tabliture vs what rolls they are showing..it all sort of looks like one finger at a time to me :) Hope that makes sense. TY

I think you're having trouble understanding how Scruggs style works. We all do starting out. There are melody notes, then there's all this other stuff and the timing of them can feel pretty weird. This is the kind of thing that a teacher can focus on (in person or remotely). You might only need a few lessons to grasp the concept. 


Thanks,

Yea I was searching locally for a teacher so far not great.  Video may have to work..Any suggestions?

Feb 1, 2024 - 1:38:18 PM
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6025 posts since 3/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by TikiJeff
quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl
quote:
Originally posted by TikiJeff
My biggest issue is going from "parroting" of a video lesson to understanding the Tabliture vs what rolls they are showing..it all sort of looks like one finger at a time to me :) Hope that makes sense. TY

I think you're having trouble understanding how Scruggs style works. We all do starting out. There are melody notes, then there's all this other stuff and the timing of them can feel pretty weird. This is the kind of thing that a teacher can focus on (in person or remotely). You might only need a few lessons to grasp the concept. 


Thanks,

Yea I was searching locally for a teacher so far not great.  Video may have to work..Any suggestions?


Have you looked in the teacher directory here? John Boulding is the only one I'm able to vouch for personally. 

Feb 1, 2024 - 1:42:11 PM

20 posts since 11/30/2023

quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl
quote:
Originally posted by TikiJeff
quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl
quote:
Originally posted by TikiJeff
My biggest issue is going from "parroting" of a video lesson to understanding the Tabliture vs what rolls they are showing..it all sort of looks like one finger at a time to me :) Hope that makes sense. TY

I think you're having trouble understanding how Scruggs style works. We all do starting out. There are melody notes, then there's all this other stuff and the timing of them can feel pretty weird. This is the kind of thing that a teacher can focus on (in person or remotely). You might only need a few lessons to grasp the concept. 


Thanks,

Yea I was searching locally for a teacher so far not great.  Video may have to work..Any suggestions?


Have you looked in the teacher directory here? John Boulding is the only one I'm able to vouch for personally. 


Ty no did not see there was one....much appreciated.

Feb 1, 2024 - 2:09:35 PM
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4305 posts since 10/18/2007

I would recommend you keep “parroting” the songs along with all the advice above. It’s great practice.

Feb 2, 2024 - 7:04:11 AM
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4804 posts since 3/28/2008

I'd also suggest that when you learn a song or tune--whether from tablature or without it--figure out what function each lick or phrase is performing. Is it a banjo way of filling up one measure with the melody note B? Is it a 1-5-1-1 turnaround? Is it a way to get from a G chord to a C chord?

Whatever the situation, it will come up in other tunes! If you recognize that, you can use the licks and phrases from one tune in any other tune where the same musical situation arises. That's a big part of how we improvise and how we create our own breaks.

But in order to do that, YOU have to be able to analyze what's going on musically in the tune you're learning. Maybe you're already looking at the music with that in mind, but if not, a good teacher should be able to help.

Feb 2, 2024 - 7:25:40 AM
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57 posts since 2/2/2024

Although I've played music all my life, I'm a brand new banjo newbie and fwiw, I signed up with Tune Fox. Which is a strict computer aided learning system.  It is helping me learn to read banjo tab as I'm learning to pick out a song, in the "follow the lit up notes on the tab" style.  You can slow down the playback and complexity of the arrangement to a comfortable speed. And they offer different styles of a tune from Scruggs to melodic.  Maybe not the greatest arrangements, but for basic "what the heck do I do here?" sort of learning, I find it helpful.  I am fortunate that I also have an extremely kind and generous real player who has started giving me lessons, and it is hoot to have someone to play with.  So now, between the two, I'm making leaps and bounds.  Having a live teacher in some form, whether in person, on line, or jamming, is essential to learning I think.  It's the only way you'll know if you are making mistakes.  The computer/book sure won't tell you, chuckle.  

Feb 2, 2024 - 9:34:13 AM
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3730 posts since 4/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Ira Gitlin

You need to play with other people. Get good at playing backup; when you're playing with others, that's what you'll be doing 80%-90% of the time.

Go to jams. If you don't have the skills for that right now--and those skills are different from the ones you need to play licks, tunes, and breaks--find some way to learn them. There's a lot of jamming instruction nowadays. I'd recommend the Wernick Method, wernickmethod.org/what-is-the-...k-method, which I've been using as a teacher for years.

Even if you don't have your jamming skills in place yet, go to jams to see what happens there--what kind of songs get played, how the players communicate, what sense you can make out of the process on your own, etc.

Good luck!


Eye contract, that's your cue.

FWIW: For whatever reason, my little ole pea brain seems to accept (prefer/understand/make sense of) tab better when the flags are connected/tied in groups relating to one beat, similar to the way music notation is written.

Edited by - monstertone on 02/02/2024 09:45:02

Feb 2, 2024 - 2:52:58 PM
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6918 posts since 10/13/2007

Here would be my idea of a good progression. Get the Jack Hatfield books 1&2. they show you the rolls and how to work the melody into them. Concurrently you could get his book on back up and learn to vamp and play with songs in the back up mode. Then later get Dr Banjo Pete Wernick's dvd on making your own solos. The onto doing more with back up which could come from Hatfield's backup book or Wernick's basic backup DVD or both. Enjoy the journey.
Ken

Feb 2, 2024 - 6:04:36 PM
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DickieM

USA

36 posts since 10/30/2019

TikiJeff.... A weekend Wernick Jam Camp will for sure 'get ya going'.... I will be attending my third one in a couple of weeks..... HERE is one in your area in a few weeks

wernickmethod.org/event/lk-202...pensacola


Then, I began my journey the same way.... I'm about 3-4 years into my playing, and I take weekly lessons via ZOOM.... been doing that for 2.5 years.. It does add up- $ 175 per month, but there sure are more expensive hobby's out there!

Good Luck! keep at it!

Feb 3, 2024 - 1:48:29 PM
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20 posts since 11/30/2023

Made a list of all the recommendations. Found a teacher nearby and set up a lesson. So looking forward to this. Will also get some of the materials you all suggested or at least use what freebies they have set up on line so I can decide later.
TY SO much for all great advice.

Apr 17, 2024 - 11:09:53 AM

20 posts since 11/30/2023

quote:
Originally posted by DickieM

TikiJeff.... A weekend Wernick Jam Camp will for sure 'get ya going'.... I will be attending my third one in a couple of weeks..... HERE is one in your area in a few weeks

wernickmethod.org/event/lk-202...pensacola


Then, I began my journey the same way.... I'm about 3-4 years into my playing, and I take weekly lessons via ZOOM.... been doing that for 2.5 years.. It does add up- $ 175 per month, but there sure are more expensive hobby's out there!

Good Luck! keep at it!

Thanks so much.  Wish I could have hit that Camp in Blue Angels Town.  This year is just a little too off for me.  BUT I am still ejoying having a teacher.  He is resonable even if I have to drive a bit.  :)


Apr 19, 2024 - 8:03:14 AM
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79589 posts since 5/9/2007

A good teacher will save you a lot of time getting on the right track.
As said earlier find someone to pick with.

Apr 20, 2024 - 10:01:03 AM
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79589 posts since 5/9/2007

Right around the same time as feeling bored or disillusioned with your playing,big changes can occur.

Apr 20, 2024 - 3:37:45 PM
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3730 posts since 4/5/2006

There are so many facets to playing bluegrass banjo, it'll blow you away trying to sort it all out by yourself. For instance, you can play something note for note, exactly as shown in tablature or music notation, yet it comes out sounding robotic, bland, soul-less. Why is that? The simple answer is accent, or rather, lack thereof. Where to place the accent is, more or less, a self learned skill, much like oration. And then there are musical terms (jargon), such as triad, major, minor, dominate 7th, passing tones, triplets, syncopated, circle of 5ths/4ths, yada, yada, under the heading music theory. Best taken in small bits, on a need to know basis, & often reviewed, until it begins to soak in. Music Theory can get really deep, really quick! surprise

Edited by - monstertone on 04/20/2024 15:39:21

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