Hi, my name is Mark and I have a stringed instrument fetish!
Over the years I have purchased a lot of books, CD's and DVD's, as well as online instruction on various stringed instruments, styles and methods. As you probably know many of these purchases are wasteful as the number of bad examples far outweighs the good.
I am in no way making any claim to be a music instructor. And I recognise that everyone learns in different ways. I prefer a visual lesson, and to hear the example of the playing whenever possible. So the modern trend toward video instruction with different camera angles, sometimes in split screen, combined with the sound and often tablature or charts works better for me than the common method of someone playing a lick and saying "there, like that!" Slow down I'm lost! is all too frequently the result. My intention is simply to share some of the things I have found to be useful. The bonus is that so much is now available for free or very affordably priced!
I find the lessons I prefer to have a more relaxed and methodical demeanor and style resulting in a calming effect that helps me focus. Some instructors unfortunately seem to be high strung, distracted, disorganized and lacking focus. Some clearly have a raging case of attention deficit disorder.
For many, the first decision might be on what instrument, playing style and difficulty level they are interested in and where to start. I will attempt when possible to start with suggestions for absolute beginners unless otherwise noted.
*Tip:Where I have posted embedded videos, You may consider them a preview. If it helps to see the video full screen (as it does for my eyes!) you can right click on the video and click the "watch on youtube" tab or click on the tab I have added below the video and then select the full screen option there.
Old time/frailing/clawhammer styles demonstrated:
Note that there must be nearly as many old time styles as players, here is a sampling-
Frailing/Clawhammer beginners lessons:
Richard provides some good basic tips for getting started on clawhammer banjo in these two videos. (They are very similar to lessons given by Dan Levenson on his video series on "beginner banjo for the clawless" Pt1)
Heres Mandy, from Banjobandits.com with her quick lesson on the basic clawhammer strum. Look in the background. Where ya been Mandy?
Here are some sample Dan Levenson clawhammer lesson videos, if you like his style I will provide additional links at the bottom of the article.
Kelly provides us with some tips on getting started on Frailing/Clawhammer in the Folk style
Picking and Bluegrass styles demonstrated:
Beginner picking/roll lessons:
*Video not available for embedding, similar to above-
Here are some links to further lessons and resources. Also, if you have a specific song you would like to see a lesson on, try a search at youtube. There are many many specific song lessons posted there.
Ross offers a large number of lessons in the bluegrass style.
I like Patricks teaching style. His blog at daily frail contained a vast archive of lessons and tips, but for personal reasons he has chosen to remove them and cease the blog. Too bad as it was a great resource! He appears to be working on something new, and I will update this information if it works out. Meanwhile he does still have some stuff on youtube:
And Patrick still offers some DVD lessons for sale:
Dan published two videos and a book on clawhammer for beginners that I find very useful. He takes you slowly through the beginning steps and sends you off to practice at the appropriate stages. Then adds some more techniques and chords, slowly building into your first song. (Old time banjo, Painted pony in double c tuning)
Tom also gives a nice overview lesson on the unusual style of Walt Koken, Walts worth a listen, be sure search youtube for some of his songs if this interests you!
I am familiar with Patrick Costello and Rpeek, both of whom have some good videos on Youtube and other places on the Internet for learning frailing (clawhammer). I saw their videos while I was in the States this past Summer, when I bought myself a real bannjo to learn clawhammer. I'll have to check out Dan Levenson. Thanks for the links.
Brand new website for sharing and learning Banjo, and they invite Guitar, Mando and Fiddle players to participate as well. Looks promising despite being brand new. Give a look, and join up and participate if it strikes yer fancy!