A good couple of years ago, I blogged about a couple of banjo websites that I’d found really useful and entertaining. The plan at the time was to do an overview of the music sites that I’ve found most useful, and heres the first one. These are my favourite sites, and theres no criteria apart from I like them, but please let me know if i’ve left anything out. So in absoutely no particular order, here are my favourite banjo websites:
Banjo Ben Clark – http://www.banjobenclark.com/
Nashville’s Banjo Ben Clark has constructed a bluegrass based site with arrangements of bluegrass tunes for banjo ,mandolin and guitar, in downloadable tab and with video lessons. Great arrangements are divided into levels where starter player and those new to bluegrass can get their teeth into the music for the first time, while even advanced players will pick up some new licks. Theres a handful of free tabs with video lessons, or tabs can be purchased individually, or through a subscription for $4.95 a month.
Mike Iverson – http://www.banjoutah.com/
The nets largest collection of clawhammer banjo tabs is the claim, and who’s to disagree. A mixture of out and out bluegrass and Irish instrumentals and accompaniment for songs ( the audio example often feature Mike’s great singing). The tabs are clearly presented with audio examples and can all be obtained (click on the progressive clawhammer tab on the top right of Mike’s home page) without paying any upfront fees , although there is a button to donate to the site (which has clearly taken a lot of time to put together and maintain). As well as the music there are descriptions of exercises to start playing clawhammer, and advise on buying banjos as well as a frequently asked questions page. Great stuff.
Rocket Science Banjo – http://rocketsciencebanjo.com
I’ve written a previous blog on Tony Spadaro’s rocket science banjo site, as its just that good….here’s the scoop. A free download of a 200 page PDF document taking you all way from total beginner to more advanced techniques. The PDF features many different styles of playing along with interesting and obscure tunes in tablature format. Although the download is completely free, there is a button to make a donation to the site, which I did, and then received a personal email from Tony Spadaro containing hundreds more tunes and recources….can’t say fairer than that.
banjo hangout – http://www.banjohangout.org/
Large site of all things banjo with the main areas probably the extensive forums of all types of playing discussion as well as building and buying banjos, and a tablature archive of over 4000 tabs. These tabs are submitted by members of banjo hangout, and many are excellent, although with this numbers of tabs there is something for everyone. The tabs are in a number of formats, but the main ones are tabledit (there’s a link to free tabledit software to view the tab) and in PDF format. There are also links to guitar, mandolin, dobro and fiddle hangouts and the real beauty of sites like these is getting involved in the forums and becoming part of the online community.
Dr. Banjo – http://www.drbanjo.com/
Well known player and teacher, Pete Wernick’s ( from the band Hot Rize) giant site. There’s tablature, but this time from Pete’s own albums both solo and by Hot Rize, as well as other free instruction articles. Theres also a lot of information about banjo camps (mostly in the U.S), as well as a wealth of articles from Pete’s writing in the Banjo Newsletter. A really cool feature of this site is ask Dr. Banjo, almost a frequently asked questions, but it goes a lot deeper than this, and if he hasn’t answered your question, you can ask him yourself. There’s too much on this site to sum up in a paragraph, so the best thing is to have a look and see.