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Mel Bays Complete Bluegrass Banjo Method Spiral-bound – May, 1974

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Neil Griffin was born and still resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. Music has always been his prime interest, starting wtih clarinet instruction in the fifth grade and learning guitar on his own. He performed as a member of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra at age 15 playing bass clarinet. He also began performing with area dance bands on saxophone, clarinet, and guitar.

He studied music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, playing First Chair Alto Sax as a freshman in the UNC Concert Band. Neil taught as Band Director at three county schools for several years and at the same time privately for Kidd-Frix Music Co. in their Charlotte accordion school. When the School was purchased by Music Inc. Neil went into management and retail music sales for them. At the same time, Neil played regularly with his own band for wedding receptions, office parties, etc., and gained valuable experience from playing summer theater for many well-known stars as well as being called on a regular basis to play banjo, guitar, and clarinet for traveling Broadway shows appearing in the area.

Neil was very active in the Charlotte Musicians Association and served as president for approximately 13 years as well as holding other executive offices.

Some of the first professional jobs Neil played were good old southern square dances, which at that time weren't as fancy as they are today but provided him with an appreciation for country and bluegrass music that was never forgotten. He enjoyed doing 5 radio shows and two TV shows per week at WBT and WBTV in Charlotte for over a year.

In the early 60's Neil was hired to manage Tillman Music Co. in Charlotte. There he helped in starting the Aria Pro II line of instruments. Neil and his brother Steve, who also writes for Mel Bay Publications, went into the music-school business together in the 70's and later expanded as a retail music store. During this period Neil met Mel Bay and began to write material for 5-string banjo which was pretty scarce at the time. He has thoroughly enjoyed writing and teaching.

Currently, Neil is a performing musician, band leader and co-owner of the Neil Griffin Studios of Music in Charlotte, North Carolina where his instructional books are field tested and proven effective with students of all ages. He has authored or co-authored several books for Mel Bay Publications on the subjects of 5-string banjo, rock guitar, and accordion.

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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Mel Bay Publications (May 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871668793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871668790
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9.5 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Donna Cash on May 10, 2004
Format: Spiral-bound
After reading some of the previous reviews of this book, I bought it. I have used another teach-yourself-banjo book for the past year, but this one fills in so many gaps in understanding. It teaches you "why", not just "how". The book also urges the player to learn to read music, not just tablature. Being a piano player, this opens many more doors. I spent 6 continuous hours practicing with this book the first day I received it. I would urge any beginner, whether teaching yourself or having an instructor, to buy this book. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know, and also don't know how to ask!
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Format: Spiral-bound
This book starts at the beginning and describes tuning and techniques and is interspersed with advice on what to practice. It explains both tabulature and normal music notation and has a variety of songs progressing from easy to difficult. There are many exercises on various rolls and accompaniment techniques. This is a good first book and will also challenge a banjo player for a long time.
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Format: Spiral-bound
This is the first book I bought when I started to teach myself to play the banjo. I find it to be extremely helpful to beginners and will also be challenging as the pupil progresses. It teaches setup and simple lesson plans for beginners. There is also a fun section on roll patterns and fills and endings. The book has solos of bluegrass songs for the more advanced, and the solos are challenging. Having the accompanying CD was very important to me so I could hear how the roll patterns and solos are supposed to sound. I would encourage others who are teaching themselves to buy the CD along with the book. This is a great book for anyone learning to play the banjo.
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Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
This is solid and fundamental instruction for learning how to pick and play the banjo. Progressively, practice exercises build upon learning principles to help the student develop the skills necessary to understand how to read conventional notes, as well as tablature. He emphasizes memorizing notes and discourages, playing through sections until the student has mastered the earlier sections.

Unlike other books that jump into advanced techniques, chords, and picking from the Get Go, this is more of a systematic curriculum on how to progress. The spiral-bound book fits nicely on my music stand, as this is quite a thick book.

Excellent instruction on the fundamentals of learning. It is more of a textbook with short, clear instruction than alternative texts on self learning. Two thumbs up.
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Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
Good beginning book. Has some on strumming/etc. Will help you learn to read tab/music. Good companion for starting to figure things out. Find a buddy and pick and play.
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