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GUEST,Fretless Clawhammer Banjo: Where to start? (26) RE: Clawhammer Banjo: Where to start? 20 Sep 00

I second the warnings about Burke's book. It is a great text if you already know how to play and if you know the tunes, but it's not for tyros. Same thing is true of Ken Perlman's banjo books -- great arrangements, but trying to follow the tabs will wear you out if you don't already have a sense of what you're doing (Sorry, Ken. And you were even nice enough to thank me in the acknowledgements!). If you're using a book rather than a live teacher, I would start with something like the frailing chapter in Pete Seeger's How to Play the 5-String Banjo. And then maybe try to get your hands on the tab book he published to go along with his record, The Goofin' Off Suite. Then listen to all the banjo music you can, watch all the players you can, and remember that there are no rules, what sounds right is right, and the whole point is to enjoy the sounds that come out of the instrument and don't wake up the neighbors.

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