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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.