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Ideal first stop for rank beginners, and steps you through in a logical pattern. Many books claim to be for beginners but rapidly move to complexity. Should be used in conjunction with a good instructor, but is a very good primer. You do need to follow the audio and video clips as well.
This is a great book to start with, with one large caveat.
For a beginner, this book starts with the right stuff - how to choose equipment, playing position, relaxation, etc. Then it sequences very nicely through the right stuff to get you going musically. The music is clear, well-written and fun. You also have access to recordings and videos via the web site (url and password included in book). Also, there's lots of great stuff about the history of the banjo, different styles, etc.
My nits are as follows:
- this is a lousy format for a music book. It doesn't stay open on a music stand and the pages are too small. I find myself making copies of the music and reading those instead of playing directly from the book. The kindle version is better, but there the problem is that the chart you want to read isn't always on a single page. Silly.
- The recordings are excellent, but they're all very slow. That's great for learning the piece, but it would be nice to have some full-speed recordings to get a sense of what the piece really sounds like.