The banjo is not a very old instrument, relatively speaking. The general design was laid down in colonial America by Africans, and it was modeled on other traditional African instruments. It usually has four or five strings, with one string being reserved as the 'drone' string. Banjos usually bring to mind country music and bluegrass, but it has been gaining some popularity in other musical genres. This is a good time for people who want to learn banjo chords and techniques, because a lot of information that was once fairly pricy is now available for much less or for free on the internet.
In addition to finding banjo teachers here on LRNGO, a quick search in a major search engine will turn up hundreds of sites designed to help you teach yourself to play the banjo in some way. In order to learn banjo chords, you will first need to learn how to read the notation that people use to write down chords. This can seem complicated, but there is a great guide on how to learn to do this on the Banjo Ben website. This is a completely free website with tons of information on banjos, especially for beginners. This site also offers advice on how to buy your first banjo, how to tune it, hold it, and how to use fingerpicks. There are also many resources to help you learn banjo songs, such as 'Cripple Creek' and 'Rocky Top.'
Other sites require a membership or fees for their instruction. Banjo Teacher is such a site. This site offers dozens of products for people who want to learn banjo songs, chords, and technique. There is a special package for beginning players that includes a book, audio CDs, and a DVD. This package contains very detailed instructions for everything a beginner will need to know.
There are also many other deals for more advanced players, such as guides and techniques to build up your playing speed or accuracy. Particularly useful are the song books with accompanying CDs and DVDs. There many of these books with hundreds of songs. They include detailed instructions on how to play the songs, as well as audio CDs with the songs on them. Some of these packages include a DVD that shows exactly what the hands are doing as the song is played.
A great free resource for people who want to learn banjo is YouTube. People love to upload videos of themselves playing music, and the banjo players are no exception. You can find videos of people playing almost anything you can imagine, and it can really broaden your musical horizons to do a bit of video exploring. There are even people out there who offer banjo lessons completely for free.
Learning a musical instrument is usually a difficult process, but the rewards can be great. If you want to learn banjo chords, songs, and technique, the internet is a great place to go but don't neglect your local music shops. There are usually people there who can help out new players. There is only one simple rule for aspiring musicians – practice!
Photo Credit: Alan Levine