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Complete Book of Irish & Celtic 5-String Banjo Sheet music – November 4, 2002
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Despite these observations, I am glad I have source of these Celtic tunes for a five string banjo, playing bluegrass style. There is a lot out there for Clawhammer style and it's nice not to have to always play standard Bluegrass songs or mainstream fiddle tunes.
The tab layout is outstanding as the font is a pleasure to read. The accompanying CD priceless. Outstanding value.
Alright, a slightly longer review... Tom Hanway has put together a fantastic "middle point" to learning how to integrate your 5-string banjo playing into that large, mashed realm of "celtic" music. You get tunes of Irish, Scottish, British, Canadian, and American origin all played with an ear towards the Celtic tradition.
It's a "middle point" because the book is NOT for beginners. The book assumes that you have facility with playing melodic (and some single string) style on the 5-string, and it takes you from there. You learn techniques that many Scruggs style players will consider advanced. Lots of inside rolls - often on the same string or combining two strings for a run of several notes and multiple hammer-ons and pull-offs are used.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. These techniques will make you a better banjo player. There are a _ton_ of tunes in this book so you can get a flavor of the various sub-styles to determine where your interests lie. It also comes with a CD where the author plays through about two thirds of the tunes in the book as well as playing through the exercises to learn the techniques. The banjo in these recordings is VERY prominent with just a hint of guitar and bodhran percussion in the back.
Finally, the book is packed with the history of the music as well as tips on jamming, playing etiquette, and how to approach playing backup (probably the most important thing in a jam).
Oh, and the author is a great guy who will answer your e-mail with any questions that you might have.
Given the general dearth of material in this area and the fact that this is a fantastic resource for playing the 5-string in this style, making the decision to buy shouldn't be too difficult.