New music theory for banjo book from Rüdiger Helbig

German banjo icon, Rüdger Helbig, has released another instruction book. This time it’s a volume on open tunings and music theory called Offene Stimmungen und Akkorde für 5-String Banjo.

Though all the text is in German, Rüdi feels that any banjo player could get a lot from this book, as it contains a great many chord charts and such that need no translation.

In addition to being a top banjo and bluegrass performer in Germany and central Europe, Helbig owns and operates perhaps the largest shop in the region dedicated to bluegrass and folk music, FolkLaden. He is a noted banjo instructor as well, and his beginning banjo book has sold 20,000 copies worldwide over the past 30 years.

When we asked him why he had written this new book, he shared these words…

“Theory is a problem for the most pickers also over here. I’ve given lessons for more than 40 years, and there was always been the same problem coming up. The beginners have no idea about theory, nor the way to use this knowledge. As you may already know, I’m also the organizer for the Bluegrass Camp Germany, and a lot of students are showing up from all over the globe. And most of them have a problem with a wider understanding of music.

I think you need it when you try to become a serious musician. This book will help them I think. Over the years I wrote all the German instruction books for banjo in Germany, and I can tell you that there are a whole lot of bluegrass musicians over here. I think it is the right time to publish a book like this, just as much as assembling one for a regular beginner banjo instruction book.”

In addition to music theory, the book explains a number of open tunings commonly used on five string. Many pickers avoid these, as all the chords they have learned in the G tuning can not be played the same way in a different tuning. Rüdi charts out chords up and down the neck in the standard tuning, as well as 8 other variants.

Offene Stimmungen und Akkorde für 5-String Banjo is offered for €18.95, which is approximately $21.25.

Further details can be found online.

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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.