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I'm not a master musician or anything but I can play a bit on some stringed instruments but I found the idea of picking up a banjo very daunting. Mr Erbsen has done a wonderful job in this manual.He starts off by explaining the banjo and how to read banjo music and then presents a number of old folk songs with just enough history to spark your interest and at least five levels of difficulty for each song. The idea is that you start with the first song at a basic level and then play through the book and then come back and add levels of difficulty to your playing. At the end of the book he explains the rolls and other augmentation necessary for expert banjo playing.
You also get a CD and access to online audio - downloadable or streamed - with multiple recordings for each song that covers each level of complexity described in the book.
This book gives the beginner a place to start with banjo playing and makes it less daunting.
A very slim volume at just 64 pages but no time is wasted with technicalities, this is truly aimed at the complete beginner and gets you playing from the start. I have the dummies guide but was finding it heavy going and not much fun, this book on the other hand is simply laid out and easy to follow allowing me to enjoy playing, the accompanying CD lets you know what each step should sound like and the emphasis is on slow and steady so you hear it note by note and not just someone whizzing through it. i cannot recommend this book highly enough but expect to outgrow it quickly, and maybe by that time i will have leaned enough to make use of the more complicated books.
Having never even heard much banjo music, let alone played any, I was nonetheless impressed when one arrived at Christmas time. What to do with it was the issue. Aside from strumming a couple of tunes on the ukulele, I have never played a musical instrument of any description. I really was the "Ignoramus" of the title, so this book seemed the perfect fit. Of course, having only had the book for a few weeks, I would still describe myself as an ignoramus, but I am certainly making progress with my playing. The format of the book is great - Wayne Erbsen takes a tune and gives the melody only; the "skeleton" as he calls it. Once you can play the melody, Mr Erbsen then gives flourishes, licks, rolls and patterns that you can put into the melody to spice up your playing. This is a great way of doing it and allows you to get playing quickly , then continue improving. When I have looked at other banjo tutorial books, which give the tab with the licks and rolls already in, I have found that much harder to follow. There are 22 songs in all to learn so this book should keep me busy for a while yet. The cd is clear and easy to follow too, but the book also comes with a link to download the audio from the internet. Highly recommended.
I got my banjo about 5 weeks ago, and have been watching youtube videos (Jim Pankey has some great intro videos!) as well as just figuring out some melodies to play by myself. This book really matches that approach well, by starting songs from a the melody and progressively enhancing them. The accompanying audio (available on CD or on the internet) is a bit slow for my liking but I understand that for clarity its better to be slow. I was pretty easily able to pick up several "ice cold" level songs, and even some "cool" ones with my limited experience.
Honestly very happy with this purchase, and I expect to be using it for quite some time until I've mastered all the songs. As recommended in the book, first trying to complete all the songs at "cool licks" level, and building up progressively.
As a guitar player I thought learning banjo would be easy. I was wrong. You have to start at the beginning. I was getting frustrated and close to giving up when I saw this book advertised and thought I'd give it a go! Cross my heart I was playing a simple tune in 10 minutes! 😊 I can't wait to practise now!