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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.
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.
The Banjo Primer Deluxe is an OUTSTANDING choice for beginner banjo players - even those that have dabbled in it already. I originally used a DVD course that was ok and tried youtube, but Geoff Hohwald's is a MUST. I am an experienced guitar player and always wanted to try banjo. This course starts out explaining everything you SHOULD know first (i.e. the parts of the banjo itself, how to attach a strap, proper posture, tuning, banjo care, proper positioning of your hands/fingers for correct technique and efficiency, etc.) Other courses will jump right in and have you picking away without taking the necessary time to give you this important education about the instrument. He also provides you with a fantastic set of tips on "how to practice" - these tips apply to any instrument and I wish I had these at my disposal when I learned guitar! Worth the price alone. Seriously. I learned so much faster and more accurately as well. My playing cleaned up and flowed naturally. The Banjo Primer breaks down learning the banjo in simple, easy to follow steps at a very slow and manageable pace. Then in small intervals he speeds each one up gradually. Bit by bit, note by note you then begin to piece together full measures in sequence until eventually you are playing an entire song from start to finish. Then, and only then, does Geoff challenge you with 5 different speeds of backing tracks to jam along with a bluegrass band. He proves that ANYONE (any age, gender or experience) can play the banjo and play it well. If you have the ambition and follow along patiently, there is no doubt you'll be picking away like a pro in a very short amount of time with this course. I still can't believe how inexpensive it is for what you get. Loads of fun! Highly recommended.