The Best of Jack Hatfield

The Best of Jack HatfieldJust last week, Jack Hatfield shared some thoughts about the particular genius of Earl Scruggs from the perspective of one who has made teaching the banjo his life’s work.

Today we received a copy of Jack’s latest book, an anthology from Mel Bay designed to present useful arrangements and tunes for banjo pickers at any stage of development. The Best of Jack Hatfield includes dozens of examples from his previous instructional manuals, his columns in Banjo NewsLetter and even a number of original compositions. There is also a section of previously unpublished material meant for more advanced players.

The tabs are broken into three sections:

  • Solos To Vocal Tunes contains banjo arrangements of familiar songs for beginning and intermediate students. Most are shown both up and down the neck, and all display the notes of the vocal melody in larger text within the tab.
  • Essential Jam Tunes are instrumentals every banjo player needs in their arsenal. The bulk are in Scruggs style, with a number of melodic arrangements as well.
  • Performance Tunes features more demanding showpiece numbers, meant for advanced players.

The book runs to 111 pages, and is packaged with a pair of audio CDs with Hatfield playing all the many songs and drills transcribed in tablature. Performance notes are included for every example, with left and right hand fingerings shown for tricky passages.

Hatfield makes it clear that this is not an instructional manual, but a reference book chock full of important information that will be of benefit to anyone making a serious study of the five string banjo. A complete list of tunes can be seen on Jack’s web site.

The Best of Jack Hatfield is available wherever Mel Bay titles are sold, and directly from the publisher as both a printed product and an ebook.

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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.