Banjo tab and staff books from Sebastian Schröder

There was a time, not so very long ago, when blank staff paper was a common commodity in music stores. Sold both in tear-off sheets and in bound books, those who liked to write down their creative ideas could keep them as a musical sketch pad, or use them to write out melodies for students.

When I taught banjo full time, I had all my students buy one, and I would write out arrangements for lessons based on their interests and requests. They were inexpensive, and allowed them to keep all of their music in one place. I have several of my own here which I have saved over the years, full of tune ideas or transcriptions I had made.

These books still exist, though music stores are a bit harder to come by these days, especially with quarantine restrictions in place. Major music book publishers offer them for sale online.

A new entry in this market has emerged this week, a set of black staff paper books from German banjo player Sebastian Schröder, through his company, Fine Folk Tabs. Sebastian is the author and publisher of a number of instructional methods for two finger banjo style, and the first German language method for bluegrass banjo, Banjo Spielen.

His two volumes of staff paper are quite elegantly presented, and offered in two sizes. The Composer Edition book use standard-sized 8.5” x 11” sheets (130 pages), and the Traveler Edition has 8.5” x 6” pages (150).

The Blank Tab Book for 5-String Banjo includes not only the empty staff pages, but also a legend explaining the basics of tablature along with common banjo tunings and chords.

For those who either don’t play banjo or simply don’t need those additions, The Blank Staff Paper Notebook is also available.

Sebastian sells these through Amazon for easy shipping in the US. The full size books go for for $8.99, and the Traveler size for $5.99.

Further details can be found online, including information about his upcoming Irish tune book for mandolin, and a third volume in his 2-finger banjo series.

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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.