Two new banjo instructional videos from Ned Luberecki

We have often accused Ned Luberecki of being among the busiest guys in bluegrass. In addition to playing banjo with the Becky Buller Band, he is an on-air radio personality on Bluegrass Junction at SiriusXM, a private banjo instructor, and a regular teacher at bluegrass and banjo camps around the country.

Oh… and he’s also solo recording artist with a pair of banjo albums to his credit.

Now Ned has two new banjo videos available through Truefire online, designed for intermediate and advanced level students of the five string. These are collections of specific lessons on a variety of topics.

He tells us why he likes working with Truefire.

“I’m thrilled to be working with the folks at TrueFire. Their video production along with the ability to slow down or speed up the video, loop individual or multiple measures, and see it all scrolling along with the tab in real time using SoundSlice, is the best I’ve seen.”

Available now is Luberecki’s My Banjo Heroes course, where he takes you through six musicians who had a particular influence on his development as a professional banjo player.

Ned explained a bit about this series of lessons…

“TrueFire has a series called My Guitar Heroes (they changed it to banjo for me), in which they ask their instructors to list six of their heroes, explain what influence that person has had on the instructor’s playing, and then to play something that shows the influence. It was tough to narrow the list down to just six, and they’re not all banjo players.

In my case, I decided to bypass Earl Scruggs, only because if you’re playing bluegrass style banjo, Earl is already your primary influence – whether you know it or not.

I went with:

• JD Crowe – I’ve always admired his tone, drive and attack.
• Tony Trischka – Tony’s creativity and inventiveness have certainly made their mark on me.
• Alan Munde – Alan is the most melodic banjo player of all of us. What an inspiration!
• Tony Rice – What bluegrass musician of our generation hasn’t been influenced by TR?
• Sam Bush – Sam and the New Grass Revival were my introduction to rock and roll.
• Edward Van Halen – It wasn’t until I started this series that I realized just how deep his influence was.”

Here’s a preview…

My Banjo Heroes with Ned Luberecki is available now for $39.99 from the Truefire web site. Like all the video instruction courses they offer, you view and practice with the course on the web site, allowing you to utilize the looping and slowdown features on your Mac or Windows computer, or iOS or Android device.

Ned has also completed another new course, not yet live, though pre-orders are enabled. It’s called Melodic Banjo Handbook, and is designed for players who are new to this style where the banjo plays melody on every note of a measure, instead of spacing them within a roll. This approach was pioneered by Bill Keith with Bill Monroe in the 1960s, and is now a standard part of the repertoire, especially playing fiddle tunes or more jazz-oriented music.

Once again, he offers an overview.

“In my new Melodic Banjo Handbook I take a practical approach to playing melodic style. Rather than methodically learning scales and modes in every key – which the average player will hardly ever actually use – I teach how to play major scales in G, C, and D, along with a couple of scale patterns (sometimes called ‘folded scales’) that teach the fingerboard positions and patterns common to melodic style banjo.

Then we put them to use by playing a number of fiddle tunes in G, C, and D, as well as Am and Em. I also include a section on bluesy melodic style licks that a player can use to spice up their bluegrass playing. I take the same approach in Scruggs Style playing, learn to navigate in the keys that you’ll most likely need to play in.

Once you get comfortable with those positions and patterns, you’ll be ready to start figuring out melodic style solos on your own.”

And again, a preview…

Pre-orders for Melodic Banjo Handbook are also available at the Truefire site for $39.99. A release date has not been announced.

Lastly, Ned addressed the recent news of the merger of ArtistWorks, another popular online learning environment, with Truefire.

“I was also excited to learn that Truefire Studios recently acquired ArtistWorks. I don’t know what the future holds for the merger, but I have several friends and colleagues (and musical heroes) who are ArtistWorks instructors, and I really hope this opens the door to some collaborations. At any rate, it should provide an incredible resource for anyone wanting to improve their playing.”

See all that is available from Truefire 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.