Top critical review
9 people found this helpful
Possibly not the ideal way to learn bluegrass banjo
on December 27, 2012
This book has some potential for people who are teaching themselves, but in the bigger picture, this is not the ideal way to learn to play bluegrass banjo from the ground-up. It's important to note that this book teaches you about rolls and then provides tablature describing the melody only. The player is then meant to master the melody and add in their own rolls when they're ready. While I can see the appeal of learning this way, this is not a well-rounded or ideal teaching method. The foundation isn't really there, and it's lacking some key fundamentals. Several of the techniques that are very commonly used in Scruggs-style banjo picking aren't really addressed in an approachable way (ie., slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs). Another important thing to keep in mind is that the roll patterns aren't necessarily intended to be exclusively "added in for embellishment of a melody", the way this book leads you to believe. They're picking patterns that are commonly utilized in the complete tune. This book doesn't do a sufficient job of illustrating that. I used this book for a little while, but when I moved to private lessons and got some better tablature, this book was relegated to gathering dust on a shelf and I actually had to unlearn some of what it taught me.
Another review mentioned that this book is more useful to folks who have already learned the fundamentals of bluegrass banjo, and I would agree... making the title a bit misleading, as it's not what I'd choose to give to a "complete ignoramus", personally!