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Get Started on the 5-String Banjo (DVD) Review by Jennifer Golombisky

Taught by David Holt
Homespun Tapes
PO Box 340
Woodstock, NY 12498

David Holt's DVD Get Started on the 5-string Banjo is a perfect introduction to banjo playing. This is the DVD you should buy if you just got a banjo and have no idea what to do with it. Holt's teaching style is entertaining and encouraging. He moves at a good pace, not too fast or too slow, and interjects funny stories between portions of instruction.

In this DVD, you will learn a little about the history of the banjo, the parts of the instrument, and how to tune (both by ear and with an electronic tuner). David Holt patiently takes the student through the basics of how to hold the banjo, rhythm, how to form chords, and strumming techniques (including traditional clawhammer style). His style of instruction really helps to increase confidence.

Four traditional songs are taught: "Tom Dooley," "Old Dan Tucker," "My Home's Across the Blue Ridge Mountains," and "O Susanna." However, as Holt explains, once you learn how to play these songs, hundreds more will be at your fingertips using the same skills. A booklet included with the DVD contains the words to the featured songs along with tab (fingering diagrams).

David Holt is an accomplished musician with a long list of accomplishments in his field. I am pleasantly surprised that, despite his advanced skill, he is still able to teach the basics with such patience. This DVD course is suitable and enjoyable for children on up. My entire family enjoyed it, and it left us wanting to go further with our banjo instruction. An all-around great beginninng banjo course!

Product review by Jennifer Golombisky, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2008