Banjo Tutorial

Five-String Banjo for Beginners

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8 Videos | Length: 1hr 24min 52sec
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    Tutorial 1

    Chapter 1


    Happy plays a tune and welcomes you to this series on the 5 String Banjo. He get's you ready for learning by walking through all the different parts, history, holding and tuning your Banjo!

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    Tutorial 2

    Chapter 2


    Happy talks about Mountain Style playing, and why it's a good start for beginners. This will step you through picking, holding your pick, and getting your rhythm down before learning some tunes.

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    Tutorial 3

    Chapter 3


    In this video, Happy starts with helping you learn a tune! You'll learn a song called "My home's across the smokey mountains", and see how each part is played and memorized.

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    Tutorial 4

    Chapter 4


    Happy teaches you a mountain balled called "Handsome Molly" and a number of different tunes that will help you get comfortable with learning Banjo tunes.

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    Tutorial 5

    Chapter 5


    This video focuses on a cowboy balled called "Jesse James", helping you run through all the chords you've learned so far.

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    Tutorial 6

    Chapter 6


    Happy talks about other styles of picking, like "Bluegrass" and "Up-picking", along with several other tips to get you going.

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    Tutorial 7

    Chapter 7


    In this video, Happy speeds things up with a Ho-Dance or Square Dance styled tune, including those Hammer-Ons and Slides you've been learning.

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    Tutorial 8

    Chapter 8


    In this last video, Happy shows you a style of playing that accompanies vocals nicely, with a tune called "Banks of Ohio". Happy ends off with some great advice for the road, and one last example before you go practice!

The emphasis of this easy, hands-on Homespun video tutorial series, is on traditional folk picking styles and song accompaniment. Almost anyone can do it, and newcomers to the five-string banjo will be playing and singing along with Happy Traum within minutes!

Happy starts with the basics, such as how to hold and tune your banjo, then quickly moves on to teach basic chords along with strumming and picking patterns. Working in open G and C tunings, you'll learn accompaniment techniques as well as ways to pick out melodies for instrumental solos.

Hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides and other techniques are then gradually added to give your songs authenticity and polish.

Even more, you'll be picking out the chords and melody lines to Down in the Valley, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, My Home's Across The Smoky Mountains, Handsome Molly, Cumberland Gap, Jesse James, Black-Eyed Susie and Banks Of The Ohio.

These folk and old time country tunes will be just some of your way to further adventures in five-string banjo!


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Happy Traum is an American folk musician who started playing music in the 1950s. Happy is most famously known as one half of Happy and Artie Traum, a duo he began with his brother. They released three albums, Happy and Artie Traum (1970, Capitol), Double Back (1971, Capitol) and Hard Times In The Country (1975, Rounder). He has continued as a solo artist and as founder of Homespun Tapes.

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