Learning the Banjo Is Just a Click Away

by Carolina Bridges

Banjo is an instrument that you can teach yourself to play with great success.

Yes, having a teacher is always the best way but finding banjo teachers is, as they say, as hard as finding “hen’s teeth.” (Don’t know why they say that; hens don’t have teeth…)

So, to help you get ready for those upcoming festival jam sessions, I have made a list of the instructional resources readily available on the Deering website.


  1. First Lessons Banjo 16.99 CD/DVD included; my personal favorite
  2. Absolute Beginners w/ CD 12.99; good resource
  3. Play the Banjo Today w/ CD $9.95; easy to follow
  4. Banjo for the Young Beginner w/CD $14.99 -  I love books for kids because they are written with clear and easy to follow instructions.
  5. First Method 1 Mel Bay - a seasoned publication but still good.
  6. The Complete 5-string Banjo Player - $34.99 CD -  this one will take you from beginner through advanced and is done by Tony Trischka.
  7. Deering 2-finger DVD - $8.95 - learn to strum and sing with the banjo; not really a bluegrass method; but just plain fun!


  1. First Lessons Tenor $14.95 w/CD; the “first lessons” books by Mel Bay are always excellent resources.
  2. Mel Bay’s Complete Tenor Banjo $16.99; beginner & beyond
  3. Fun with the Tenor Banjo w/ CD; 14.95; good resource


  1. First Lessons Clawhammer by Dan Levenson; W/CD; $9.99 NEW - A newer book by Dan and easy to learn from!
  2. Clawhammer from Scratch by Dan Levenson; $27.99 2xCD

While any guitar book can be used to play 6-string banjo, we do have a couple of resources for you to try out.

  1. Fun with the 6-string banjo by Steve Kaufman; a 2-CD set with PDF downloads.
  2. 5-string Licks for 6-string Guitar; w/Cd $19.99; good for both guitar and banjo.

CHORD CHARTS: To spruce up on all those fancy chords. These are a quick reference.

  1. Mel Bay Tenor Chords; book; $5.99
  2. Tenor Chord Chart $4.99
  3. 5-string Chord Chart $4.99

SONGBOOKS: For those who just want to learn some new songs.

  1. Parking Lot Pickers $34.99
  2. Disney Songbook $12.99 26 songs
  3. Rare Bird Alert $19.95
  4. The Sparrow and the Hawk by Mean Mary James; $28.95 w/CD


Kristin Scott Benson chooses the Deering Golden Series banjos
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