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I am an ok guitar player and have always wanted to play the banjo but was concerned that it would be too difficult. I purchased a banjo for Christmas 2020 and, after reading the reviews, used this tutorial to learn. At first it came as a shock to find the fingering for the chords are completely different to the guitar. However, the instructions are so clear and the lessons so enjoyable, I am now playing 4 of the songs from the book after only 3 weeks. All the other good reviews are true.
I've had a banjo for years. I also haven't been able to play the banjo for years. I had someone try giving me lessons and he didn't have patience, so I got discouraged and hung it up. Years later I decide to try again, read some reviews and bought this. I wish I would have purchased this with the banjo! Explained everything and clearly, now I can finally play. I haven't used the cds yet but do use the DVD. Anyone looking learn the banjo or those who gave it up from being discouraged, get this book. You will not be disappointed!
Well worth the price! Geoff tells you everything you'd want to hear in a private lesson - hand position, fingering pitfalls, best way to practice. The instructional DVD brings it all to the learner with utmost clarity. I am at the first song on the first accompaniment cd which allows me to play, albeit slooowly, with musical backup. For me, a big bonus is that I can watch the DVD on a huge TV, and see the tab clearly. I am visually impaired. Geoff Hohwald is a great teacher. Edited to add: Hurry and get this edition while the CDs are available. "Online access" for the audio and video lessons doesn't help you when you either can't burn a CD or just don't have internet.
First off the key word is "beginner". Which means absolutely no experience in playing the banjo or even touching one until you start. If you have some experience or more and somewhat on the cusp of intermediate levels, this book is not for you. Now...for brand new beginners, this book with DVD and CD's, is one of the best I've come across. It tells you parts of the banjo, strings and tuning. The beginning exercises shows you how to hold the banjo and where and how to place your fingers. Roll exercises help get you warmed up and to get your picking fingers memorizing the strings when playing. The step by step process is done in the order one needs to learn seriously. Geoff always expresses to practice individual exercises before moving on. The book also teaches you how NOT to get into bad habits and go at your own pace. I have been learning the banjo for 3 weeks now, and I have progressed quite well using this book. Geoff also explains how practicing at your own pace will greatly improve your technique down the road and in the short time since I started I can safely say this is true.
On another note, doing these exercises helps you learn to tune (even with a tuner) with other strings; how to put on a strap correctly and so on. Each new technique such as slides, hammer on's, chokes, pull-off's are explained and shown with 1 or 2 bar exercises each individually then incorporated into songs.
I have several books on learning and I have to say this is one of the best.
The DVD is a little clunky on some systems, however, I play them on a blue-ray with the CD's. Better sound anyway.
I have been playing the jazz guitar (electric, bass) for 43 years now. I have no banjo background/experience. I got this book yesterday in Kindle format. The Kindle format comes with the video access to see the digital version of the DVD that came with the hardcopy version of the book. On the very first page of the Kindle book, there is a URL there. Just click that URL, and it will take you to a page where you need to enter your email address only once. I believe the email address is a token that matches to your amazon email address. Do not wait for Amazon to send you an access link. The link to access the video, as I said is on the front page of the digital version of the book.
Geoff Hohwald, the author, is one tough instructor, and I like it. He's serious about what he wants you to do and stresses the importance of getting things right first before going to another section of the instruction. The book touches everything, from the posture, tuning, using the fingerpick, to reading the tablature (love this part)...AND it comes with the backing track bass and guitar mp3s (downloadable) to accompany your playing. The backing tracks some in three speeds- slow-med-fast. There's no need to read music notation as, from what I have seen so far, there are all in tablature format. I am only on the first 10 minutes of the video, and then I stop and read the Kindle book. It is important that you read the book and supplement it with the video or vise versa. But the book has a lot of info that really gets into the specifics and fundamentals of banjo playing.
There are online banjo instructions sites out there; there's one that charges $250/month. Ridiculous. Uhh no thank you. This book should suffice as a good starting point to learning the banjo. For a guitar player like me, the transition or rather the learning curve is slightly easier to cope with because some of the fundamentals of guitar playing do apply to banjo playing... hand positioning, picking/plucking, posture, even tablature reading. But there are other basics in banjo playing that are completely different from guitar playing. The tuning is one thing which is completely different from your standard EADGBE guitar tuning. So all the blues scales, pentatonics, major, minor scales you know in guitar is out the window completely because of banjo's GDGBD tuning. And this is the beauty of learning the banjo, the learning to "walk-again" moment to me is a priceless experience.
Get this book. This is all you need to get started with banjo playing. To a guitar player wanting to learn to play the banjo, this is the only book you will need. To someone with no experience in playing an instruments, guess what, this book is all you need to. Highly recommended!
Worth every penny. I love how it works you up from simple finger movements to more complex instead of immediatley hitting you with a full F chord as another book does. Doesn't have you wade through a bunch of stuff that is merely nice to know. There are other books for that if you want to know the theory behind chords & scales, etc. The DVD and CD's are excellent. I think DVDs & CDs are the way to go over youtube stuff. It's very easy to have DVD and CD players repeat tracks for you and they don't require a good internet connection.