Basic Tenor Banjo

Tenor banjo? What’s this “tenor banjo” stuff? A banjo’s a banjo, right? Well – no.

There are several varieties of banjo. Among these are the 5-string banjo, which you find in bluegrass and country music; the plectrum banjo, which is a four string banjo with 22 frets frequently found in polka bands; a six string guitar neck banjo used by guitar players who want the banjo sound on occasion, but who don’t want to learn the different fingering for a different instrument; and the tenor banjo, which was the banjo used most commonly in jazz and dance bands from World War One until the 1930’s and in some Western Swing bands such as "The Light Crust Dough Boys."

The tenor banjo is a four string instrument which usually has 19 frets, although some short neck models with 17 frets were built for people with small hands. Rarely, there may be a few more frets, usually on an extension of the fingerboard over the edge of the head.

If you like jazz tunes from the 1920’s; if you miss the sing-along pizza parlor of a few years ago; if you would like to make music which always has a smile in its background – even if the tune is a slow one; if any of this is YOU, and you want to play a banjo, then the tenor banjo is for you.

I offer a modestly priced home study course for this instrument which is described below:


This course consists of a book of 33 lessons of text and diagrams and written music, with an accompanying audio compact disc which is provided to ensure that the student will be familiar enough with the songs used as teaching pieces to be able to hum them while practicing the banjo.

The approach of this course is strictly practical. Every effort has been made to make everything in it useful or "need to know."

In order to make it useful to the person who can find no outside help at all, the course begins at the most basic level: these are the names of the parts of a banjo; this is how to hold a banjo when playing it; this is how to change a string; etc.

By carefully following the instructions, the student will rapidly increase his knowledge and skill, so that, after the last lesson, he will be able to sit down with a piece of sheet music and work out and play a chord-melody tenor banjo solo from it; he will be able to transpose songs from one key to another; he will have been introduced to playing harmony as a member of a band; and he will be able to do these things because he will know what he is doing, NOT just because he has memorized some exercises.

The price is $10.00 in the U.S.A., which includes two CD-R's: the instruction book in PDF (printable) form is one and an audio CD (which replaces the old cassette audio tape) is the other, and mailing to you by FIRST CLASS MAIL.

Non-U.S.A. orders are US$13 and will be sent to you via airmail.

All prices include the shipping charges. The customer is responsible for any customs duties outside the U.S.A.

The link to the order form is at the bottom of this page.

I shall be happy to answer questions about this course, before or after you buy it. Send e-mail enquiries to the address at the bottom of this page, but NO orders will be accepted through e-mail.

PHIL WILKING, P.O. Box 1225, Metairie, Louisiana 70004-1225, U.S.A.

Click here to call up the order form for "A Course In Basic Tenor Banjo."

You can reach me by e-mail at: philwilking@cox.net