Packed with how-to photos and musical examples
From folk to bluegrass and beyond, play great banjo music — even if you've never played before!
Ready to jump on the banjo bandwagon? This unique how-to guide gives you the latest tips on choosing and caring for a five-string banjo while covering both the popular clawhammer and bluegrass playing styles. You'll see how to fret your first chords, incorporate slides and pull-offs, understand rhythm, play popular banjo tunes, and survive your first jam session!
- Select the right banjo and accessories
Develop correct hand position and posture
Play basic chords and simple tunes
Master bluegrass and clawhammer picking
Tune and maintain your banjo
Banjo player Bill Evans
is not to be confused with the deceased jazz piano legend or the very much living jazz saxophone player (or the Austin, Texas, real estate agent). This
Bill Evans is a banjo player, performer, teacher, workshop leader, recording artist, composer, producer, record label owner, and American music historian. For a banjo player, Bill has an unusual amount of schooling. He earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a specialization in folklore from the University of Virginia as a DuPont Scholar and a master’s degree in music with a specialization in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Berkeley. After completing coursework for the PhD at Berkeley with a specialization in American music and the music of Japan, Bill taught courses in ethnomusicology and American music history at San Francisco State University, Duke University, and the University of Virginia and was the Associate Director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. A recipient of a Brown Foreman–Al Smith Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, Bill has also served as a consultant to the National Endowment for the Arts.
As a recording artist, Bill’s CD Native and Fine
(Rounder Records) earned an honorable mention for Acoustic Instrumental Recording of the Year from NAIRD. His CD Bill Evans Plays Banjo
(Native and Fine Records), featuring all original instrumental compositions, was on many “best of” lists, including those of the Chicago Tribune
and County Sales.
Bill earned a nomination for “Recorded Event of the Year” from the International Bluegrass Music Association for his work as producer on Suzanne Thomas’ CD Dear Friend and Gentle Hearts
. As a performing artist, Bill has played with Dry Branch Fire Squad, Tony Trischka, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Maria Muldaur, Jody Stecher, Kathy Kallick and Laurie Lewis, among others. He tours nationally with his solo show “The Banjo in America” in addition to leading his own band, the Bill Evans String Summit.
Bill is a long-time contributor to Banjo Newsletter
magazine and co-hosts an annual banjo camp, the Sonny Osborne NashCamp Banjo Retreat, held each fall outside of Nashville, Tennessee. In addition, Bill participates in workshops all over North America, hosts several popular instructional DVDs for AcuTab Publications, and maintains an active private teaching practice at his home in Albany, California. His former students include Chris Pandolfi, Greg Liszt, Jayme Stone, and Eric Yates. He is the co-author of Parking Lot Picker’s Songbook: Banjo Edition
from Mel Bay Publications.