This book, written for those with no prior musical experience, is the definitive text for learning C-tuning concert, or classic-style 5-string banjo. Written by the late Frank Bradbury, Banjo Method provides a thorough grounding in music theory and note reading, along with a complete presentation of Mr. Bradbury's unique 5-string concert banjo technique and outstanding solo and duet arrangements by various artists. The technique described here is radically different from that found in other books about the 5-string banjo, and no tablature is used. No plastic or metal picks are used on the right-hand fingers, nor are the fingernails used, but rather the bare fingertips. The hand positions recommended by Mr. Bradbury are not unlike those of a classical guitarist. All in all, this is an uncommon, but valid approach to solo banjo technique. Online audio of select pieces and exercises featuring Rob MacKillop now available.
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Frank Bradbury (1896-1981) was born in Bethel, Vermont. His father was a banjo player and was Franks' first teacher. As a teenager, he studied with Fred Bacon. His talent on the banjo was evident early on, and he also excelled on the mandolin. When he finished high school, Frank formed The Venetian Trio which toured most of the United States on the Chautauqua circuit. Frank also played banjo and mandolin on the Eastern Lyceum circuit. After serving in the Marines during World War I, Frank began teaching music in the Hartford, Connecticut, area. In 1920 he married Anna Cook, an accomplised pianist, who also became his accompanist. Another early Bradbury ensemble was the Bradbury Banjo Quintette, made up of five fingerstyle banjoists and a guitar banjo. For over 25 years Frank also led the Hartford Plectral Club, a large group of his students (at times up to sixty players) that gave concerts in the Hartford area. Also during the 1920's Frank played regularly on the radio both as a soloist and as conductor of the Crescent Serenaders. For many years Frank wrote a regular column "The Banjoist's Round Table" for The Crescendo magazine. Bradbury's first method book was published in 1926. He also performed and taught for decades, including performances at Alex Magees's New Rochelle concerts in 1949-1951. He was one of the original members of the American Banjo Fraternity when it was formed in the late 1940's. For this group Bradbury organized the Bradbury Quintet, consisting of himself, Mary Curgenven, Henry Stocek, John Copeland and his son John Bradbury. With his wife Ann on piano and William McMichael, the group made three records as The Pyquaug Pickers. The Mel Bay Banjo Method by Frank Bradbury was published in 1967 and was the result of many years of teaching experience. In recognition of his contributions, Frank was made honorary president of the American Banjo Fraternity in 1968. He is considered one of the greatest five-string soloists, performers and teachers of all time.
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