I’ve been teaching banjo almost 50 years now. Though most banjo teaching addresses typical technical challenges, I have some pet non-technical topics, to steer a player toward better music and more fun on the instrument.… Read More
Bill writes: I’ve looked all over your site to find information about developing a groove or flow but I can’t find it. I play with a group here and sometimes we have it, sometimes we don’t. What are some pointers when playing with others to develop this feeling? What are the roles of the different instruments such as banjo, mandolin, guitar, and bass that create this?… Read More
What better topic for the first column of the year than one that makes a lot of banjo players squirm?
The key of D presents a number of options for banjo players, and some of the best options pierce some folks’ comfort zones.… Read More
Summer’s about here, perfect timing for a highly useful trick that solves two annoying picking problems: 1. Sweaty Rotating Pick Syndrome (SRPS) and especially: 2. The dreaded “thwonging” the wrong string (flap that wraps around thumb catches the wrong string and makes nasty, loud, out-of-time “accident note”).… Read More
My Elban sounds like a “real banjo,” which it is (full 11” head, some cavity created by the resonator, though not fully as big a cavity as on a regular resonator banjo). Not the greatest banjo I’ve ever played, but a convincing sound if not up to my Granada. Through my Centaur amp, it sounds like the banjo itself sounds, unamplified. … Read More
The weekend of Sept. 9 and 10 was an interesting and exciting one out at the Planet Bluegrass headquarters in Lyons, Colorado. Local “polyethnic cajun slamgrass” heroes Leftover Salmon hosted a diverse and high-energy music festival which included acts from local bluegrassers Yonder Mt. String Band to the Rebirth Brass Band, soul-groove specialists Maceo Parker, members of Widespread Panic, the Allman Brothers Band and Hot Tuna… and Pete Wernick and Flexigrass (formerly The Live Five)! Kind of hard to characterize what “type of music” could describe it all, but it was high quality and definitely high energy.… Read More