The Banjo Encyclopedia

If you want to teach yourself how to play the banjo, don’t buy a songbook—try this instead. Master your instrument.

The Banjo Encyclopedia: Bluegrass Banjo from A to Z by Ross Nickerson teaches you how to build your knowledge of the five-string banjo from the ground up.

First come the basics:

  • Parts of a banjo.
  • Reading tablature.
  • Holding a banjo.
  • Developing good practice habits.
  • Common right-hand finger patterns (rolls).
  • Scales.
  • Slurs, such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and chokes.

Once your technique is solid, you will learn what makes the major styles of three-finger banjo playing distinctive:

  • Scruggs style.
  • Melodic style.
  • Single-string style.

Then comes the information that you need to take your playing to a whole new level, from improvising to playing in any key that you want.

Along the way, Nickerson has provided you with exercises and example songs to illustrate the principles that he is discussing. Audio downloads for the book are available online.

Whether you are an absolute beginner wanting to get off to a good start or an intermediate player eager to truly master your instrument, you will find The Banjo Encyclopedia a useful instructor. Highly recommended.