Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies by Bill Evans

Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies - Bill EvansThe folks at Wiley Publishing have generated one of the few print media powerhouses in this age of declining magazine and book sales. Their bright yellow Dummies books seemingly cover every imaginable topic from digital photography to writing computer code.

So much so that they have now released their second book on banjo playing, Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies. They’ve again chosen noted banjo instructor Bill Evans to write the book, as he had their first five string title, the more general Banjo For Dummies.

The new book is specifically designed to teach the three-finger techniques that encompass the Earl Scruggs style, as well as single-string and melodic (or fiddle tune) styles. A total of 40 classic bluegrass songs are included in the book, along with the familiar Dummies sidebars about choosing an instrument, changing strings, banjo care and maintenance, and chapters covering working up solos and playing accompaniment both up and down the neck.

A welcome new feature in Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies is that access is provided for 129 downloadable audio files and 37 online videos, which demonstrate the various songs and examples printed in the book.

The book is structured in such a way that a rank beginner could pick up a copy and start their banjo adventure, and a more experienced student could read along to the point where they find themselves in picking the five, and start working at that point.

Songs covered in the book include:

  • Banjo in the Hollow
  • Cripple Creek (4 versions)
  • John Henry
  • John Hardy
  • Boil the Cabbage Down
  • Buffalo Gals
  • Train 45
  • Old Joe Clark
  • Cumberland Gap
  • Lonesome Road Blues
  • Reuben
  • The Girl I Left Behind Me
  • Devil’s Dream
  • Katy Hill
  • Cherokee Shuffle
  • Soldier’s Joy 
  • Billy in the Lowground 
  • Angeline the Baker
  • St. Anne’s Reel 
  • June Apple 
  • Sally Goodin’
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast
  • Blackberry Blossom
  • Lynchburg Blues (Reno-style)
  • The Famous Ballymote
  • Morrison’s Jig (6/8 time)

Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies will soon be available from book stores and online resellers worldwide, but Bill has them now on his web site with a special offer. For $24.99 (plus shipping), you’ll receive an autographed copy of the book, plus any one of his CDs as a free gift.

More details can be found on Bill’s web site.

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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.