How hard is bluegrass to learn

The FAQ from

So that the same questions are not always asked in the banjo forum and the same answers appear, here is one of the notorious FAQ pages. The answers are aimed primarily at beginners and newbies.

So please: Do not ask again questions that have been answered here. Everything else, especially corrections and additions to the FAQ, as usual .

Is the banjo difficult to learn?

Do I hear an undertone like "I want quick success and not have to exert myself"? No, it is not difficult, the first successes can be achieved soon. But to play it really well, it takes just as much time, work, and talent as any other instrument.

I want to learn banjo. How should I proceed?

  1. Make it clear to you which music you want to play, this will determine which banjo you will learn.
  2. It is essential to find a teacher for the beginning, so you avoid beginners' mistakes that you will never get rid of.
  3. If you really can't find a teacher, at least get videos or DVDs
  4. Borrow a banjo for the first few weeks (the teacher can help) before buying one
  5. Looking for contact with musicians, looking for a band in which you can play. Nothing is as valuable as match practice.

I want to play XYZ, which banjo do I need?

Actually, everything has already been said when the various types of banjo were presented.

  • I recommend this for jazz in larger orchestras and for old dance music Tenor banjobecause it penetrates better with its higher pitch and because the old sheet music was written for tenor banjo.
  • Irish music is on Tenor banjo played in a fourth lower mood.
  • In the jazz combo, for Dixieland and dance music, I prefer that Plectrum banjo because of its warmer sound and because it is better suited for chord solos. If you already play guitar, you can also tune it like the top 4 guitar strings.
  • For bluegrass, country & western, American folk music and for everyone who wants to play with their fingers instead of a plectrum, there's only the original, that 5-string banjo.

I play the guitar and now I want to learn the banjo

Great, then you already have corneas on the fingers of your left hand. The easiest thing to do now would be to tune a plectrum banjo like the top 4 strings of the guitar. You can get started right away.

How is my banjo tuned?

The standard tunings are explained on the page with the banjo types and can be played there via MIDI.

How do I find a teacher?

  • The first way leads to the local music school, some guitar teachers can also teach the basic concepts of playing the banjo.
  • Often the music store nearby knows a teacher or you can post a notice on the notice board.
  • Or do you know a band with a banjo player who plays what you want to learn? Then go there and ask. Banjo players are extremely nice and helpful when it comes to their instrument.
  • Happy who lives in Düsseldorf, Cologne or Munich: the local banjo club can and will be happy to help.
  • If you are absolutely looking for a teacher with internet access, you can look at or Aunt Guhgle.
  • The newsgroups alt.banjo and de.rec.musik.machen are also worth a visit.
  • And if that all fails, ask again at, e.g. in the banjo forum.

How do I buy a banjo?

As a beginner, especially not alone! Take an experienced musician with you, ideally your teacher can help you. This is especially true for the purchase of used instruments. Try to compare several instruments directly if possible. This requires a larger store, and a day trip to the next big city may be worthwhile. Buying an instrument without being able to rehearse it extensively is dangerous carelessness. At best, mail order business would still be entitled to return. But then order several instruments from different dealers, compare them and send back the losers. That costs nerves, time and money for the return postage. In addition, there is temporarily no money in the cash register for several banjos!

The situation is different for the collector. eBay is for experts who like to take risks. Buying from dealers with departments for used instruments, such as Elderly, Bernunzio or Gruhn, is more serious. There are also regular offers in Sean Moyses' Banjo Newsletter. The addresses are in our address list.

New or used?

  • First used as a beginner. For the same price you get a better quality instrument that is easier to play - but see above. If the musical talent or perseverance is not sufficient, the used one can be sold again without major loss.
  • Later a new one, then you know what is important and what you want. An often overlooked disadvantage of cheap new instruments (made in China) is the lack of them set up. First the string position has to be corrected, the screws tightened and the skin tightened. A new OME for several thousand dollars comes naturally perfectly adjusted.