View Full Version : First time

Apr-24-2016, 12:57pm
Thought I'd step in and introduce myself. My name is Chris Hallford I'm active duty army infantrymen. I have tried to play the guitar while on deployment and i couldn't just "get it" and ended up putting it down. I have always been a fan of bluegrass/country and even Irish music and the banjo sound so I'm really looking foreward to trying it out and give it all I have.

I really wanted to get the Deering good time but convincing my wife to spend that much has been a challenge so I think I might just have to get the Oscar Schmidt OB5 bundle which I'm sure will due me fine just to learn the basics. I am looking at picking up Wayne Erbseen's ignaramous book and then I'm still on the fence about banjo Ben/murphys method. I know I learn by watching not just picking up a book and reading I have to watch it happen.

I have been going through the forums and doing a lot of research and be the most informed I could be before I pick it up. It's been a dream of mine to learn to play the guitar/banjo. Anyways, thanks everyone for putting up all the resources and information for newbies like myself.


Chris Hallford

Mike Baker
Apr-24-2016, 1:42pm
Hi Chris,
Welcome! Good luck in your search for your first banjo. As with many string instruments, the set up is as important or even more important than the particular model. If the banjo does not fret easily or intonate properly, learning will be a misery. If you are buying online then it is important to buy from a place that does a proper set up. As far as online learning, I am a big fan of Banjo Ben, so if you are interested in Scruggs style, he is great. You might also check out Tony Trischka at Artistworks.com
I don't think Banjo Ben has developed a fully interactive method like they use at Artistworks, where in addition to lessons in the curriculum which you view online, you are also able to submit a video of yourself and Tony sends you a video reply after he watches it.

Apr-24-2016, 2:09pm
I just looked at there website and I'm sold. I think that is outstanding thank u for referencing that.

Apr-24-2016, 5:18pm
I think the recording King dirty 30s is a really good value. Cheaper than the good time, but better quality than the Oscar Schmidt. When someone asks for a good budget banjo I point them that way.

for bluegrass lessons banjo Ben is great. I don't play bluegrass banjo but I learned a lot from his guitar and mandolin stuff and I can only assume his banjo stuff is just as good. Artist works is good, but they've bitten off more than they can chew imo and it takes forever for them to answer all the video submissions. Once you get on your feet there's no replacement for listening to the masters and copying though. Learn your basics then hit the woodshed with classic recordings and pick em apart

Apr-24-2016, 7:05pm
Thanks I'll look up the dirty 30s

Mike Baker
Apr-25-2016, 5:43pm
Elderly (a BC sponsor) has one: http://www.elderly.com/recording-king-dirty-30-s-open-back-banjo.htm

Apr-26-2016, 12:36pm
I really wanted to get the Deering good time but convincing my wife to spend that much has been a challenge

I bought a Deering Goodtime Special open back 17 fret tenor banjo that I just love. Since I don't have experience with any other banjos, I'm glad you're getting some other suggestions. I had one "beater" mandolin that I used for years; it was great. I purchased a more expensive mandolin that took a ton of $$ before it was playable. My conclusion is that buying something playable when you're a beginner is key ~ and it doesn't have to break the bank ~ especially when you can get good advice from experienced folks.

Good luck!

Apr-27-2016, 8:41pm
Hi Chris. The first thing thought of when you mentioned active duty was check the Recreation Center where you're stationed. Maybe things have changed but when I was enlisted every post had one. In fact when I was stationed in Germany I could check out a guitar like a book from the library. If the Rec.Center doesn't have a banjo, they might have the budget to buy one. Heck see if you can talk 'em into buying a mandolin too then post on the bulletin board to see if there's any interest in putting an on post bluegrass jam! Ultimately there is no more effective tool in the learning arsenal than playing with others. If you ignore everything else I've suggested don't ignore that last point, start playing with others as soon as you find some. Books & videos can only take you so far. Without someone pointing out what you're mistakes you'll probably only get better at doing it wrong. Fellow musicians will improve your timing, your ear, and provide encouragement. The only downside to jamming is it's addictive, so enjoy the journey!

Apr-28-2016, 1:22pm
Thanks for the advice I'll definitely look into it.

May-04-2016, 1:26pm
As a fellow banjo newbie let me give you one huge piece of advice. If you aren't 100% certain you're going to stick with it, get started on the cheapest banjo you can find and do not under any circumstances let someone hand you an awesome banjo to play. I started out with a Deering Goodtime and absolutely adored it. Was happy with my banjo in every possible way. Loved it! Someone handed me a professional banjo and I had to have one and bought myself a Deering Sierra which is phenomenal. I'm 100% certain I'll be playing banjo the rest of my life so I see it as a great investment... but if you don't have that level of certainty don't let anyone hand you a high end banjo or you'll end up wanting one. If you go so far as buying a banjo and taking your first lesson you'll never want to put it down. All I know how to play so far is Banjo in the Holler, but I can sit there and play it over and over for a solid hour. You're going to love it!