The banjo inspired a great variety of playing styles in the South during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. On this in-depth lesson and demonstration, Mike Seeger presents a survey of those styles, teaching each of them to help you develop a full range of repertoire and traditional techniques.
This is the first of a 3-volume series covering virtually all of the major banjo styles and techniques, as well as a look at some of the types of banjos that have been played throughout its history in America. Volume 1 focuses on a family of styles generally considered to be of African origin and variously known as clawhammer, frailing, rapping, drop-thumb and down-picking. Each section features a song or tune with brief information as to its style and source, a complete performance of the piece, and detailed split-screen instruction on how to play it. You'll also see a close-up view of each of the nine banjos used.
Mike teaches a wonderful variety of songs that you'll soon be adding to your repertoire: Soon in the Morning, Babe, an African American clawhammer picking style from Mississippi with gourd banjo; Josh Thomas's Roustabout, an African American accompaniment technique from Virginia; Jim Crack Corn, an irregular-accent clawhammer style; Battle in the Horseshoe, a basic clawhammer tune; Darling Cora, using Kentucky multi-finger brush technique; Devil's Dream, in North Carolina up-pick, up-&-down-stroke style; Little Birdie, using two-finger Kentucky up-pick, down-stroke style; Around the World, in a three-finger up-pick down-stroke style; and Whoopin' Up Cattle, a clawhammer piece on a double-drone-string banjo.
The pieces on this lesson encompass a wide range of difficulty. Some will be easy enough for a near-beginner to be able to play, and an advanced intermediate player will quickly be able to master these pieces and greatly benefit from Mike's program.
The material presented here is based on Mike Seeger's Grammy-nominated Smithsonian CD "Southern Banjo Sounds.