Nat's Banjo Pages

I've been playing the banjo since 1989, and it took me SIX YEARS to get presentable. Not that I'm bitter. I play bluegrass, jazz, classical, with a little Irish thrown in for good measure.

My favourite banjo players are Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka, Tony Furtado, Alison Brown, and Earl Scruggs.

My History As A Banjo Addict

My father bought a banjo when he was young, learned to play it, and after a couple of years found other ways of occupying his time that were more annoying to the neighbours. He still played it, albeit infrequently, and it was on one of these annual sojourns that I became hooked.

I was working in the same room, reading a book or something, and my attention was caught by his fingers. I asked how the fingers moved to make the sounds, what the patterns were. He showed me the basic unit of bluegrass banjo playing (the ``roll'') and I said ``well, that looks easy''.

It took me four or five years to get that roll down. I've experimented with other styles besides bluegrass since then -- Jazz, Blues, Classical and Meaningless Screams Of Frustration -- but I still enjoy picking bluegrass with friends. Unfortunately most of my learning took place by myself, and as a result I have a useless sense of rhythm (imagine a guy with two left feet waltzing. Now make him need to urinate. Now let his epilepsy take over. I got rhythm, mon).

Audio Samples

Here are some audio clips of my playing ...
Fooling Around (136k, .au format)
Just me, fooling around one day. Recorded January 13 1995. This is part of a fifteen minute gigantic noodle that I recorded and promptly lost the rest of. Such are the trials and tribulations of being a musical genius and technological idiot. (136k .au file)
For j.j (355k, .wav format)
A tune I wrote and dedicated to the woman who became my wife.
For j.j, on my electric banjo (554k, .wav format)
The same song, recorded ten days after our wedding using the electric head on my Nechville banjo.
Minor Swing
Swing jazz. This recording is from a 2001 show by the band I play with when I'm in New Zealand: "Kate's Elastic Band" (Kate is the one giggling at the end).

Tablature

I once made a banjo tablature archive.
This page is maintained by Nathan Torkington and was last changed on 9 Feb 2003 (the first change since 28 Mar 1995!).