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Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger

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Little Neophyte 30 Mar 00 - 07:43 AM
Easy Rider 30 Mar 00 - 08:31 AM
Peter T. 30 Mar 00 - 10:19 AM
Rick Fielding 30 Mar 00 - 10:41 AM
Philj200 30 Mar 00 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 30 Mar 00 - 11:25 AM
Wesley S 30 Mar 00 - 11:40 AM
Peter T. 30 Mar 00 - 12:11 PM
kendall 30 Mar 00 - 01:17 PM
BlueJay 30 Mar 00 - 01:51 PM
Uncle_DaveO 30 Mar 00 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Arnie 30 Mar 00 - 03:28 PM
Rex 30 Mar 00 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Aaron 30 Mar 00 - 07:32 PM
Crowhugger 30 Mar 00 - 09:29 PM
rangeroger 30 Mar 00 - 11:04 PM
Little Neophyte 30 Mar 00 - 11:26 PM
Rick Fielding 31 Mar 00 - 12:18 AM
Art Thieme 31 Mar 00 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,manuel garrido 31 Mar 00 - 11:42 AM
Little Neophyte 31 Mar 00 - 11:51 AM
Sean Belt 31 Mar 00 - 03:37 PM
canoer 31 Mar 00 - 03:56 PM
Little Neophyte 31 Mar 00 - 04:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Mar 00 - 05:03 PM
BlueJay 31 Mar 00 - 07:22 PM
Bud Savoie 31 Mar 00 - 08:56 PM
rangeroger 01 Apr 00 - 01:01 AM
Little Neophyte 01 Apr 00 - 01:03 AM
BlueJay 01 Apr 00 - 01:40 AM
fox4zero 01 Apr 00 - 01:57 AM
BlueJay 01 Apr 00 - 02:38 AM
katlaughing 01 Apr 00 - 03:45 AM
Little Neophyte 01 Apr 00 - 08:12 AM
Rick Fielding 01 Apr 00 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,manuel garrido 02 Apr 00 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Dan Healy 02 Apr 00 - 03:16 PM
Peter T. 02 Apr 00 - 03:37 PM
Dani 02 Apr 00 - 04:11 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Apr 00 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,Dan Healy 02 Apr 00 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 02 Apr 00 - 07:51 PM
Little Neophyte 02 Apr 00 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 02 Apr 00 - 09:10 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 03 Apr 00 - 02:34 AM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 03 Apr 00 - 03:02 PM
Peter T. 03 Apr 00 - 06:59 PM
Bluebeard 03 Apr 00 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 03 Apr 00 - 10:47 PM
5-string 03 Apr 00 - 11:22 PM
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Subject: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 07:43 AM

Recently I picked up Pete Seeger's 'How To Play The 5-String Banjo. When I went to the counter to pay for it, the sales guy in the music store starts to laugh. He says to me "Did you ever see the accompaning video? It is so unprofessional. All Pete Seeger does is sit on his couch, in his home with a video camera, playing exactly what he wrote in his book."
At first I thought, okay well then I won't get the instruction video. But after looking at the book I could not believe how informative it was. It is layed out so simply. I think that is the gift of Pete Seeger, he has a way of making it all feel so simple.

And I find that gift in Rick Fielding's lessons too.
In my experience, the more simplistic the instruction, the faster I learn and the more I enjoy learning.
I hope one day Rick does write his own book on music instruction including tales and cartoons.
I'll be the first in line to buy one.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Easy Rider
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 08:31 AM

The Pete Seeger video is from Homespun, www.homespuntapes.com

I saw it in the library, but there was no TAB booklet with it, probably lost long ago. I did take out a video of Happy Traum teaching banjo, and it still had the TAB booklet. I thought it was pretty high quality. I don't play banjo, but there were a couple of songs, in the booklet, that I now have on my "to do" list to try to transcribe to the guitar. It's a very long list!


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 10:19 AM

Teaching the simple things simply is the hardest thing in the world, approached only by teaching the complex things simply. I don't know the book, but I bet if anyone can do it, he can.
Also, I wonder if the sales guy appreciates how important it is just to watch someone playing -- their attitude, their demeanour, their whatever-it-is-that-makes-them-Pete-Seeger. As was said earlier, just watching Ronnie Gilbert throw her head back and sing, or watching Pete Seeger standing straight backed and playing his heart out... I am second to none in my admiration for cleanly, professionally produced training videos. But 3 minutes of a badly shot video of Son House playing the blues is worth 300 minutes of carefully shot finger positions. (Glad to have them both, believe me, but still...) yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 10:41 AM

"Pete sitting on his couch, pickin' along to what he wrote in his book"? Strictly LOW TECH!! The best way to learn to play. Have fun Banjo Bonnie.

P.S. At the risk of embarrassing Banjo Bonnie, I'll address this to Little Neo (who's extroverted enough to easily take compliments)

Neo has turned the corner in her quest to learn banjo and is starting to develop a "style". She'll be a "good 'un, if she stays focused, and keeps learning the "whys" as well as the "hows" of music.

Rick


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Subject: Worked For me!
From: Philj200
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 10:44 AM

I had (nad still do) a first edition of his book. It was only 32 pages or so. And a simple drawn banjo on a yellow background. Later expanded editions had red covers.

It was simple and basic.And so was I with my brand new Vega Ranger 5-string. I learned every strum, hammer, pick, chord, song in the book. One of the best.

Jump ahead twenty years!

I'm walking down Madison Avenue in New York (About 15 years ago) and there's Pete Seegar and I assume his wife crossing at around 46th Street.

I introduced myself and thanked him for all he taught me. In his book and elsewhere. He would have stayed and chatted but the woman reminded him of something. So we shook hands and he adam-apple'd to the westside as I went downtown.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 11:25 AM

I consider Pete's book the first important instruction book for a musical instrument in folk music. I learned to play banjo from it and about all those wonderful players who I've grown to love over the years.

I have Pete's video and it's perfectly wonderful. He explains things so simply that anyone could learn from it.

I love to hear him play the examples in the book he wrote. It's so instructive.

High tech video production doesn't mean a thing in education without people who can really present their material in a meangingful way. Pete certainly did.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Wesley S
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 11:40 AM

If I remember correctly I picked this up from a TV show that Pete was on many years ago but it's a wonderful piece of advice. He suggested that if you are learning to play something and not doing so well never put down the instrument in disgust. Always finish your time with a musical instrument playing something well no matter how simple it is so that your last memory of playing is a good one. I compare it to not going to bed angry. It's worked for me - pass it on.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 12:11 PM

What a fine piece of wisdom. Is that not just like the man? Long may he flourish!!!! yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: kendall
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 01:17 PM

Pete Seeger, an angel on earth.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: BlueJay
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 01:51 PM

I bought and read Petes book and I didn't even have a banjo. At the time, I figured that Pete's insights were applicable to ANY instrument. Time has borne this out. When I finally DID get a banjo, I also bought Mel Bay, a couple of chord books and others. I never did learn to play the banjo very well, (lack of dedication on my part). But on the occasions when I do get a hankering to learn something on the five string, Pete's book is the only one I go for. I don't need anything else at this point. Course, I'm no Bela Fleck. And the Instructional Tape: I haven't seen it. But for anyone to chastise it as low tech seems absurd to me. I'm sure it was made in the relative infancy of videos, and I remember some lousy ones. Whatever the technology at the time, Pete was REACHING OUT, trying to draw folks into music. If I had to choose right now, I'd probably take the Pete Seeger video over the latest high resolution instructionals by just about anybody. Is it still available? Rhetorical question, as I think I'm now on a crusade, and I will find it if it is.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 03:11 PM

Yes, both the video tape and the book are available.

The tape is available from Homespun Tapes. Check with www.homespuntapes.com

I don't know offhand where to get the book, but I know that it's available from various sources.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,Arnie
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 03:28 PM

When I got my first banjo, I got Pete's book. Went right to the bluegrass section (figured I was out to become a wiz at that) and after struggling for many hours on 10 seconds worth of tabulature, I gave up. I went to the section on frailing and bingo!- I was playing banjo within one day. Thanks Pete!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Rex
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 04:42 PM

When I first got a five stringer some decades ago, I got the Earl Scruggs book. I wanted to play Foggy Mtn. Breakdown. I couldn't make it work. Not long after I found a copy of Pete's book. A red one, cost all of three dollars. I ended up learning Foggy Mtn. through Pete. That seemed somewhat ironic.

Rex


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,Aaron
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 07:32 PM

About four months ago, I started playing the banjo. Much of the reason for this was because of the joy that listening to Pete Seeger has brought into my life. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine pulled out her old Pete Seeger "How To Play the Five String Banjo" book and album and gave it to me. All I have to say about that is thank you, thank you, thank you!


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Crowhugger
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 09:29 PM

Ah, I was wondering when someone would mention the old record. That's how my mother learned. I "learned" from her, tho' carelessly mainly through lack of any serious practice.

I've started lessons with Rick Fielding too. He leaves out the picture and sends me home with the sound. That was probably the point of the video.

BTW, Little Neophyte is fun to learn with. I know music but I sure don't know banjo, so I like trying to keep up with her.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: rangeroger
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 11:04 PM

As I started to read this thread, I went to my box of music books and got out my Pete Seeger book. Red cover,Third edition Revised,1962.Price $2.00.I don't play banjo but I have one,and I have used this book to fumble around on it.Priceless.
On the back cover is a quote attributed to an old_time banjo picker,interviewed around 1850,and asked if he could read music.
"......Can I read notes? Hell,there are no notes to a banjo. You just play it." rr


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 11:26 PM

Rangeroger, guess what I paid for the Pete Seeger book when I bought it this week?
$24.95 plus 15% tax

Little Ne


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:18 AM

Jeezus H! Little Neo, I paid 2.50 ! Wow, I feel old!!

Crow..I forgot to give you the 8 by 10 of me slumped in the couch along with your tape.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:34 AM

In one of my favorite STAR TREK--Next Generation episodes, an aging Capt. Piccard says to young Wesley. after they've just suvived a harrowing adventure, "Wesley, I envy you so very much. You have the entire adventure in front of you !"

That is exactly how I'm feeling as I "listen" to all of you as you are just discovering Pete, the banjo, the songs, guitar, jews's harp, all of it.

Take it from one who learned from Pete so very long ago (or so it seems/feels now) it certainly was an honor to have Pete, himself, attend a panel talk that Joe Hickerson and I did at the Folk Alliance bash in Cleveland last month. What an inspiration that man was and is---and will continue to be.

I'm glad you young folks have found the folk world and have found things within it that are inspiring. I've always hoped that might happen. And it is grand to see it happening.

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'Tis the gift to be free...

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,manuel garrido
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 11:42 AM

Long time ago, 1.975 or so, he sent me his "red covered" book, with a suggestion "learn"... And, I'm still learning Manuel Garrido Sevilla(Spain)


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 11:51 AM

Dear Captain Art,
Though I am 40 years old, I do feel like a young folk and I am definitely young when it comes to folk music.
Guess it really does not matter what age you are when you discover Pete Seeger. I feel like a kid discovering an entirely new world that I never knew about.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Sean Belt
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 03:37 PM

What a great thing to read all of these posts about Pete Seeger and his little (Green, now, I think) banjo instructional book. Though I've never met him, Pete's been a hero and a great inspiration to me. Because of hearing him I picked up the guitar years ago and more recently the banjo.

Thanks for starting this thread and getting the conversation rolling, Little Neo.

Bread & roses, Sean


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: canoer
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 03:56 PM

Hello, Manuel Garrido!

Nice to hear from Spain. Always a kick to hear how far-flung the music interest is.

Thanks -- Larry C.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 04:50 PM

Sean, the book is now a lovely shade of billiards green, and since some of you guys probably do not have the new edition I add here what Pete hand wrote inside the front cover.
March 1996
Dear Friends,
For 25 years I've tried to find time to really revise this banjo manual. No luck. Perhaps others will. It's not so necessary now. There are many new instruction books and videao tapes available now ...................(this part is too long, mostly content changes Pete would have made but then he finishes of with this................
Well, as I started off saying in the front cover, I am sorry I've not had time to revise this book since 1962. But it's basic ideas I'll still stand by:
Have fun
Learn by participating with a wide range of folks.
Keep your banjo hanging handy so you can pick it up.
Stick with one thing till you learn it well - in your fingers, which will remember things your brain forgets.
Take it easy but take it, and don't let your studies interfere with your education."

Pete Seeger


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 05:03 PM

And his guitar book and record did the trick as well. Only instruction that ever made any sense to me.

Years later I picked up a copy of Jer6y Silverman's revision and expansion of it "The Folksingers Guitar Guide - lots of good extra stuff in it, but Pete's origonal book and record were enough. Just enough to get you started, and encouraged, and motivated to go off and learn by yourself and from the other people you came across on the way.

"All Pete Seeger does is sit on his couch, in his home with a video camera, playing exactly what he wrote in his book" - sounds exactly how it ought to be.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: BlueJay
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 07:22 PM

Li'l Neo- My copy says "Third Edition revised, 1962", and is without the section that you quoted. Many thanks. Mine is red, and says $3.95. I got it back in the eighties. Interestingly, in the preface to the 2nd edition, Pete seems to be claiming that the book isn't copyrighted, as the needed four bucks wasn't shelled out. Can you find a copyright? Typical Pete Seeger: "Permission is hereby given to reprint, whenever needed". So much different than the tangle of caveats, exclusions and restrictions attached to most books these days.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 08:56 PM

Since I took up the banjo in the early 60s, I used Pete's book--what else was there? Oh, yes, his sister Peggy had a book with licks and techniques, but no tab. I also got the Folkways instructional record Pete put out and every record of his I could beg, borrow, or steal.

There are many who have more technical ability than Pete, but no one plays the banjo better.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: rangeroger
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 01:01 AM

McGrath,it's really funny you should mention Jerry Silverman.Resting next to my Pete Seeger book was "The Folksinger's Guitar guide Volume 2","The Art of the Folk Blues Guitar", and "How to Play the Guitar". All by Silverman.
rr


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 01:03 AM

Well BlueJay I can not see any copyright on this 1996, 3rd Edition either so I might as well add some more of what Peter said on the back of the front cover.............

"If I did revise this book I'd start with the G tuning, not the C tuning, and start with single string playing, not chords. What I call here "a basic strum" I'd call a simple strum" and teach it not at the beginning, but later on. I'd print more complete songs. I never realized how frustrating it must be to start learning a piece and then be told "finish it yourself". I'd have a picture of one of the great West African musicians like Bai Konte, who played a Kora - a 21 string banjo harp or Abdourahman Mangara, who playes a 4-string Gambare."

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: BlueJay
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 01:40 AM

LittleNeo- Makes me wonder just how many variations there are of this book! You have the third edition, 1996, and mine is third edition, revised, 1962. I can't find your quote anywhere in my book, and the inside cover is blank. It doesn't have the usual copyright info, etc, but on the first page mine says "Published by the Author". On the second page, in very small print, "Printed in the United States of America for the Publisher by Faculty Press, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y." Was it finally picked up by a major publisher for your copy? Not that it really matters, this thread has re-ignited my interest in the banjo, and this book will be equally great no matter what form it takes.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: fox4zero
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 01:57 AM

In the early 1950's my wife-to-be and I thought that Pete Seeger was a prophet. I don't remember how I first heard of him. We attended a series of performances at Columbia University and we worshipped the man. I remember how hurt we were for him when his series at Brooklyn College was cancelled for political reasons. My June bought me the Pete Seeger book (1st Edition) with the instructional LP and a Kaye 5-string. That was probably the worst banjo ever made, but I perservered, to everyone's dismay. Many years later I discovered the Liberty Banjo Co. in Bridgeport, full of sympathetic souls. Got my first playable instrument...a beautiful-looking and sounding Vega Whyte Laydie #7. I can remember my feeling of pure joy when I drove home that night with my precious posession in the back of the car. To be honest, there are only a handful of things and events in my life that have evoked that joy. Everyone knew that the banjo had been Bob Flesher's because of the Gideons sticker on the bump case. I started to take lessons from Ray Alden in Ossining NY and later from Rich Haring who played at the annual Croton Hudson River Revival, which was a celebration of the river and Pete Seeger's boat Clearwater. One of my daughter's college friends, Beth Doxee, later became the skipper of Clearwater for several years. I also had the pleasure of meeting Pete's sister, Penny Seeger, at that time and her husband John Cohen. John was a member of the New Lost City Ramblers and was a very enthusiastic friend. What I'm getting at is that Pete and my banjos have been of great importance to my happiness for the past half century. Sorry for the rambling and the name-dropping. Actually I am more proficient at name-dropping than I am at drop-thumb technique. Luv Larry Parish


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: BlueJay
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 02:38 AM

Larry- I envy your experiences. I guess when you first became acquainted with Pete Seeger, I was just a baby. I didn't discover Pete, (or folk music in general), until sometime in the sixties, but the attraction is strong. I've seen him many times, as well as his brother, Mike. Big influence! My kids all love his music, as did my parents. My grandson loves Abi-Yo-Yo. That makes four generations that Pete has touched in my family. Not too bad for someone who was blackballed from the Music Industry!


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 03:45 AM

Thanks, LilNeo and everyone else. My sister had asked me to ask Mudcatters what guitar book to recommend...seems like I just found the answer. BTW, I found a few editions of his banjo book, along with many of his other books, available secondhand at http://www.bibliofind.com/.

All the best,

kat


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 08:12 AM

BlueJay, here are the addresses I see........
The book is still published by:
Sing Out Magazine
Box 5253 Bethlehem, PA 18015-0253
It also says 'Published by the author'

Then Peter says.......
"Hey, 2 addresses are still the same! The Library of Congress Folksong Archives are still in Wash.DC.
And Toshi and I still live near Beacon, N.Y.
But you best order this book from Music Sales, 5 Bell Vale Rd., Chester, NY 10918

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 10:47 AM

I can't tell you how much it pleases me to see this thread hang in there, with a few new names starting to pop up.

Just a word to anyone who get's REALLY frustrated when a music thread disappears quickly in the wake of "chatty" threads. DON'T GET MAD...BRING IT BACK UP! A DOZEN TIMES IF YOU HAVE TO! Nobody's gonna dump on you for that. Eventually more and more folks who've been hooked into cyber-soaps (yours truly visits them occasionally) will wonder why the music one keeps re-appearing and will jump in. Trust me, it works. Can't be too thin skinned around here when Cats initially ignore your posts.

Now where's that "Lee Haggerty" thread. I'm bringing it back up cause I WANT folks to know who he was!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,manuel garrido
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 06:36 AM

Notes for the States: The very first time I was "conscious" I was listening at a spanish folk song was a Pete's version of Si Me Quieres Escribir. It was probably the year of 1.969. It is one of my favourites songs. In 1971, February 11th, I was happy singing with him at the concert he celebrated at Lope de Vega Theater, here in Seville, the song Viva la Quince Brigada. (Franco was still alive and the censorship office forbid Pete to sing the song, but they didn't think he could play it and the audience sing it).

Manuel Garrido


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,Dan Healy
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 03:16 PM

Hey guys & gals, Just happened into the mudcat and saw this thread on Pete Seegar started by little neo. By the way Neo, thanks. I have been attempting to play the 5 string for about a year and a half. Down here in Miami, Banjo is not the instrument of record. Its also hard to find an individual who can play one and harder to find a teacher for it. I found a Jazz Guitarist who knows a bit about it and I have been making some headway. I can play a few things. But just as soon as I get off this thing I am going to find that book and if possible a tape and video. I think Pete and I are going to become real old friends. AT the age of 68 (chronologically only) I think I'm going to have some fun. If anyone knows of a banjo teacher in the Miami area email me at danhealy@prodigy.net. I would appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 03:37 PM

Dan, if you check out some back threads through a Forum Search (see the first page where are all the recent threads are listed), you will find zillions of words on banjos, technique, and god knows what else. Welcome aboard! yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Dani
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 04:11 PM

Welcome, Dan!

Searching, you'll glean lots of helpful stuff about getting going on the banjo. I wish I could find some time to practice some of the good things I've picked up here. Sigh...

Glad to see another someone who doesn't tolerate it, but wants to have fun with it!

Dani


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 04:45 PM

Dan Healey, welcome to the Geezer's Banjo Club. I started at the young age of 67; I'm 69 now, and going strong.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,Dan Healy
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 07:33 PM

Thanks for the welcoming commments.

Pete T --I will take your suggestion on back threads. My boss may not like me playing on the internet but thats ok.I will take the time to search for it.

Dani- Thanks for the welcome. I bought an inexpensive 5 string and fell in love with it.. I also had the chance of playing a Deering and thought the banjo I had sounded like an off key guitar. So I had the chance to buy a good Banjo, Deering GDL (not new) and really have gone head over heels with it. This is something I wont tolerate, its to much fun.

Dave_ Doesterr I really appreciate the welcome to the Geezers Banjo Club. I have a lot to learn and I am enjoying it. I had an hours lesson yesterday with the jazz guitarist and both of us thought it was only about 20 minutes long. Oh well it pays to have fun. Gonna continue to have FUN FUN FUN. and hope the strings hold out.

Thanks guys. Dan


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 07:51 PM

When I started playing the banjo (in 1960! Lord preserve me) about the ONLY thing that was out there was Pete Seeger's banjo manual. As a reult, I learned C turning first (which I am happy about) but also learned Seeger's basic strum first, which I am NOT happy about. That was a blind alley and delayed me for a long time when it was time to learn drop thumb frailing, which I do 99% of the time when playing in that style. (The only tune, I think, that I do in basic strum is Pete Steele' Pay Day at Coal Creek) The rest of the time I do a three-finger style which is an eclectic mixture of Charlie Poole and, on good days, Vass Ossman, and various roots and herbs. What this is trying to say is-- LEARN FRAILING FIRST. Art Rosenbaum's book, if still in print, is a good introduction. I don't have my yellow copy of Seeger any more but should have the red cover from about 1960 or so, unless it got left behind in one more or another. But as Pete would say, take it wasy, but take it.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 08:17 PM

Maybe at the time Pete wrote this book he started the first lesson with a basic strum because he was focused on people learning folk songs. If you quickly learned a simple strum on the banjo, you could easily start singing a folk song right away.
Just a thought.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 09:10 PM

Bonnie, I don't think so. I have seen people go from "how do I hold it?" to a good frailing stroke in a VERY short time. Basic strum took me much longer to learn-- but at the time I didn't have anybody to show me, which might be the difference. Waitaminute I just dredged back in memory to realize what you might mean. IIRC Seeger teaches the "basic strum" as pick-brush WITHOUT the thumb stroke at first and only later adds the thumb. In that case yes, you could get started more quickly with only the Basic Basic Strum. Unfortunately, ify ou do that (and I did it!) you will have even MORE bad habits to unlearn when it's time to frail. I am VERY happy for you that you have a good teacher (and I look forward to meeting him and Ms. Boots this Friday)


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 02:34 AM

I dunno, Pete: I got the basic strum with thumb--and a few chords--in about an hour from Pete's book. A few weeks later I was doublethumbing melodies up the neck. As I considered myself primarily a singer, I was pretty satisfied--for a while. Then, like you, I found basic strum a dead end, moved into three finger picking--helped by Earl Scruggs book and record--and finally, when I began playing regularly with some old time music fans forced myself to learn to frail. It wasn't easy, possibly because of habits learned up-picking. And drop-thumb has been much harder to learn than double thumbing: again, because of my habit of reaching for the strings with my thumb. I went back to Seeger's book when I started frailing, fine--but my real breakthrough with drop thumb playing came from Dwight Diller's instructional video (his first one is aimed at intermediate players, but he supposedly has one out for beginners now.

But still, Seeger got me going.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 03:02 PM

I agree. Seeger got ME going, too. With the wisdom of hindsight it could have done better and there wre blind alleys but the truth is-- Seeger's book got me (and many other people) going. Focus on doughnut and not on hole. Seed-- what kind of three finger style do you have? Scruggs-oriented? mine is more Uncle Dave and Charlie Poole and Vess Ossman (as claimed two posts ago)


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 06:59 PM

Pete, Excuse my almost total ignorance (I am renowned around here for fool questions), but who is Vess Ossman? I have a Charley Poole and the Ramblers album, and some Dock Boggs, and a few others -- but make no claim to knowing anything about banjos. I just have sort of picked these up at random over the years. Can you enlighten me as to Mr. Ossman? yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: Bluebeard
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 09:11 PM

It was 1963, Manchester, England, I was a young lad who loved the sound of the banjo. Bought a Pete Seeger album and his red covered "How to" book. Still got it and still playing. Pete Seeger is a true American legend !


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 10:47 PM

Peter-- Vess (Sylvester) Ossman was a classical banjo player who recorded around 1900-1910 some of the most incredible banjo playing ever put on record. Much of what he recorded was ragtime-- things which I first heard as piano arrangements-- don't think he ever recorded Maple Leaf Rag but he definitely did some other Joplin and James Scott. Poole, BTW, tried to copy some of his style from Ossman and the other incredible classical banjo player, Fred Van Eps. If you play any Scruggs style you will be aware of the repetitive patterns which are broken apart and recombined to play melodies in Scruggs' 3ifinger style. Well-- the rule of classical banjo is THERE ARE NO RULES you just play the notes hatever they are and you work out the fingerings so you CAN play the notes. I seem to have lost my Membership (I see myself showing up as Guest)-- but I will find a way if you are interested to dub a copy of an old Yazoo record of Ossman and Van Eps onto cassette.(And send it to you) Even with the recording techniques of 1910 it's pretty incredible.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Banjo From Pete Seeger
From: 5-string
Date: 03 Apr 00 - 11:22 PM

Hey, I was wondering if there were any banjo players in this site, and glad I found this thread. I recently (last couple of months), bought a Deering Old Tyme banjo, their beginner's model, and the Seeger video. Without the whole book, the insert was difficult to use, but the video is worth the price just to see and hear Pete again. I wanted to learn the banjo for old-time music (which my brother plays in Florida), and remembered Pete from the heyday of Folk (late 50's - early 60's). I have played folk and classical guitar for over 40 years, and hope to have the same run with the banjo!

5-string


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