Banjo For Dummies

Banjo For Dummies

by Bill Evans
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Banjo For Dummies by Bill Evans

  • A complete guide to the world of the five-string banjo written for both beginners and more experienced players.
  • Packed with over 120 how-to photos and 130 musical examples.
  • 94 track CD included - hear and play along with every exercise and song.
  • The only book to offer instruction in clawhammer, bluegrass, melodic, single-string, minstrel and classic styles.

From Earl Scruggs’ driving bluegrass picking to the genre-busting jazz fusion of Béla Fleck and the multi-million selling movie soundtrack  O Brother Where Are Thou?, the five-string banjo can be heard just about everywhere in American music these days.

Banjo For Dummies is the most complete guide to the five-string banjo ever written. It covers everything you need to get into the banjo: including how to choose, tune and care for your instrument, developing a good playing posture, fretting your first chords and getting comfortable with the left and right hand picking patterns used for clawhammer and bluegrass playing techniques. You’ll then add the left hand, spicing up your playing with slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and chokes for an authentic five-string banjo sound.

From there, you’ll move on the play 19th century minstrel style, early 20th century classic style as well as try your hand at more advanced examples of bluegrass style. An in-depth chapter on bluegrass music explores Scruggs licks and techniques as well as melodic and single-string styles, with song examples. Also included is a banjo buyer’s guide, a section on music theory as applied to bluegrass and old-time music, an accessories guide (advice on cases, picks, straps, metronomes, computer aids and much more), information on how to find a good teacher, banjo camp or festival, chord charts, bios of twelve influential players, practice tips and much, much more!

Banjo For Dummies is accessible and fun to read and it’s easy to locate just what you’re interested in playing. Included are 20 songs including several new compositions written by the author just for this book, including Reno Rag (single-string style), “Winston’s Jig” (Irish three-finger), and “Everyday Breakdown” (Scruggs style). All musical examples are played slowly on the accompanying CD, many with guitar and mandolin accompaniment.

Bill Evans is one of the world’s most celebrated banjo players and teachers. He has taught thousands of people to play the five-string banjo in private lessons and group workshops literally all over the world. In addition to leading the Bill Evans String Summit, Bill has performed with Dry Branch Fire Squad, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Tony Trischka and many others and he hosts his own acclaimed banjo camp, the NashCamp Fall Banjo Retreat in the Nashville area. As an American music historian, he has taught at San Francisco State University, the University Virginia and Duke University. He has written a popular instructional column for Banjo Newsletter magazine for the last fifteen years and hosts three popular instructional DVDs for AcuTab Publications. To learn more about Bill, visit his homepage at

Note: CD-ROM/DVD and other supplementary materials are not included as part of the e-book file, but are available for download after purchase.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470127629
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 08/13/2007
Series: For Dummies Series
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Banjo player Bill Evans is not to be confused with the deceased jazz piano legend or the very much living jazz saxophone player (or the Austin, Texas, real estate agent). This Bill Evans is a banjo player, performer, teacher, workshop leader, recording artist, composer, producer, record label owner, and American music historian. For a banjo player, Bill has an unusual amount of schooling. He earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a specialization in folklore from the University of Virginia as a DuPont Scholar and a master’s degree in music with a specialization in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Berkeley. After completing coursework for the PhD at Berkeley with a specialization in American music and the music of Japan, Bill taught courses in ethnomusicology and American music history at San Francisco State University, Duke University, and the University of Virginia and was the Associate Director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. A recipient of a Brown Foreman–Al Smith Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, Bill has also served as a consultant to the National Endowment for the Arts.
As a recording artist, Bill’s CD Native and Fine (Rounder Records) earned an honorable mention for Acoustic Instrumental Recording of the Year from NAIRD. His CD Bill Evans Plays Banjo (Native and Fine Records), featuring all original instrumental compositions, was on many “best of” lists, including those of the Chicago Tribune and County Sales. Bill earned a nomination for “Recorded Event of the Year” from the International Bluegrass Music Association for his work as producer on Suzanne Thomas’ CD Dear Friend and Gentle Hearts. As a performing artist, Bill has played with Dry Branch Fire Squad, Tony Trischka, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Maria Muldaur, Jody Stecher, Kathy Kallick and Laurie Lewis, among others. He tours nationally with his solo show “The Banjo in America” in addition to leading his own band, the Bill Evans String Summit.
Bill is a long-time contributor to Banjo Newsletter magazine and co-hosts an annual banjo camp, the Sonny Osborne NashCamp Banjo Retreat, held each fall outside of Nashville, Tennessee. In addition, Bill participates in workshops all over North America, hosts several popular instructional DVDs for AcuTab Publications, and maintains an active private teaching practice at his home in Albany, California. His former students include Chris Pandolfi, Greg Liszt, Jayme Stone, and Eric Yates. He is the co-author of Parking Lot Picker’s Songbook: Banjo Edition from Mel Bay Publications.

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Banjo for Dummies 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Covus More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed to find that this book frequently references a CD but the Nook version didn't come with any sound files. This book cannot be used to its fullest without the CD. I have no qualms highly recommending the Hard Copy, but again the Nook version is incomplete without the sound files that come on the CD that is included with the Hard Copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago