Banjo improvisation DVD from Jayme Stone

Jayme Stone - Banjo ImprovisationJayme Stone is a banjo player who has defied a great many of the expectations associated with the instrument. His music mixes the 3 finger style passed to him from the bluegrass tradition with a harmonic sense that encompasses traditional string music, classical references and jazz harmony.

His newest instructional DVD, Banjo Improvisation: A Master Class with Jayme Stone, is geared towards helping banjo pickers expand their improvisational skills, with a particular focus on single string playing. Jayme doesn’t short 3 finger fans though, and all of the exercises and examples are presented in the framework of familiar songs: Angeline The Baker, Salty Dog, Leather Britches and Big Sciota, plus a tune of his (Garuda) from Jayme’s most recent CD (The Utmost).

Jayme first teaches each tune, and then begins to expand how he treats the melody, showing different ways to achieve the same basic tune and how to branch off from the primary melody with phrases that fit the context of the song. Both melodic (scalar) 3 finger and single string patterns are shown.

He also presents a number of scale and arpeggio studies to help banjo players become more familiar with the fingerboard – and help generate new melodic ideas. A tab booklet is included with the DVD.

I was not able to find any video samples online, but having watched the DVD myself, I can attest that the material is cogently presented and well suited for intermediate to advanced players looking for guidance in improvisation.

You can get a copy of Banjo Improvisation: A Master Class with Jayme Stone directly from the publisher, Woodhall Music, and surely from other popular sources for banjo instructional resources as well.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.