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How To Play The 5-String Banjo (Music Sales America) Paperback – January 1, 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
Not many banjo instructors in New England, so I thought I'd go in for a few good teach-yourself manuals. I bought four. In order of usefulness they were - Revised Banjo Primer by Geoff Hohwald - First Lessons Banjo by Jack Hatfied - How to Play the 5-string Banjo by Pete Seeger - How to Play Banjo by Tim Jumper.
The Banjo Primer was the best of the lot. I was able to make good progress with about 30 minutes practice each day. The instructions were clear and the tunes were fun to play (Cripple Creek, Boil 'em Cabbage Down, Worried Man Blues). It was VERY helpful that the book came with a CD. Some lessons I just couldn't get until I heard them played, then they came easily. Each lesson is played at three speeds, but I've pretty much given up EVER matching the insanely fast top speed.
First Lessons was next best. It also came with a useful CD with multiple speeds and I think I've at least got a shot at the top speed. It also includes tracks with only the backup musicians so you can jam on your own (I haven't reached that point yet). The choice of music wasn't as good - the intro claims that well-known songs are easier to learn, but I found them to be cliche and boring (Tom Dooley, Old Time Religion, Good Night Ladies).Read more ›
And what a marvelous little book it was! In a few pages Pete introduced me to scores of styles, tunings and songs. I didn't even know there was more than one way to play a banjo, but by the time I worked my way through this book I could frail, I could play a bit of clawhammer, and I could even work my way through a slow and tortured version of Earl Scruggs' great "Foggy Mountain Breakdown". All the songs and techniques are presented in a simplfied tablature, and Pete's explainations and the illustrations are goods enough that I managed to develop a pretty good clawhammer stroke even though I'd never actually heard one played before.
It's amazing how much Pete squeezed into this tiny book. Besides instruction in playing, there are bits on the history of the banjo, choosing a banjo, installing a fifth-string capo, lengthening a banjo neck- in short, everything the total novice needs to get started and then some. I eventually progressed to other books- notably Art Rosenbaul's "Old Time Mountain Banjo" and "Art of the Mountain Banjo", and of course Ken Perlman's many fine books on clawhammer style, but I always kept a copy of this little manual around, as much as a reminder of those early days as anything. What more can I say? It's a gem. I love this little book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great manual. I had it 40 years ago. I still play ; it was great then and still nowPublished 6 months ago by Robert Jenkin
I used this manual back in 1955, when I bought my first banjo.
His technique I am still using. Read more
This book got me picking. Full of useful information. Perfect for someone just getting started or a picker that wants to broaden their horizons a bit.Published 12 months ago by Brent Sims
Sound, practical advice and instruction. Also a fascinating history of banjo playing.Published 12 months ago by Roger Gans
This is not a book for beginners who want to learn to play or make their first steps into music. Either it is a great resource for people who want to know more about banjo music,... Read morePublished 18 months ago by GJ Mulder
I got this item for my SO as a gift for his birthday. I had read all of the other reviews and this seemed to be the most highly recommended book available. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Megbot