I just came across volumes 1 and 2 of Mel Bay banjo method books, by Frank Bradbury, 1967, which teach the instrument as classic banjo!  4th string C tuning, music notation, etc.  I see that you don't have them in your "tutor books" section, but I guess that's because they are actually still available, so copyright laws and such.   I would be so bold as to recommend them, even though I'm new to classic banjo, but have a good deal of experience in other areas of music, including classical guitar.

Bradbury seems to use a few more American folk and other tunes than might be found in other banjo method books, but his approach mirrors both those I've seen in the tutor books you have listed -- the ones I've been able to get through -- and the standard Mel Bay approach to other instruments, teaching notes, giving many exercises and  tunes to play (etudes), and also addressing music theory, chord construction, chord charts and other such useful material.

I found one book in a used book store and another in a bin of used music in a music store.  I also was fortunate to see a copy of "The 20th century Method for the five string Banjo" by J.E. Agnew (1901, 1941, Volkwein Bros, Pittsburgh PA) for sale on a used book website.  The price on the cover is $1.50.  I paid considerably more than that!   I think it's in the "Tutor Books".  It is very good, starting with material for beginners but moving quickly (more quickly than the Mel Bay publication) to more difficult music.  It does not, however, spend any time dealing with music theory as does the Mel Bay. 
 

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The Bradbury books have been discussed frequently on this forum.  The topic comes up fairly regularly. 

I can echo that recommendation!

I've just started working through the Bradbury book (digital copy purchased through Mel Bay at the recommendation of another member here not too long ago) and I feel like it's well worth my time. (I'm a beginner.) I like that it makes suggestions for right hand finger choices (that's where I feel particularly weak) and I'm inspired by Rob MacKillop's recordings. He makes the easy stuff sound good and that, right now, is my goal. :)

I'm sorry!  Didn't mean to belabor anything.  I was just surprised to find these, since it seems as if everything one sees in music or book stores is all about bluegrass banjo and all using tablature.  When I got started, I printed off pages from some of the Tutor Books on this website, and they were very helpful, but I couldn't see printing whole books.  It was fun to come across these real published books, and then to find out that they are still published!  

Jody Stecher said:

The Bradbury books have been discussed frequently on this forum.  The topic comes up fairly regularly. 

Hi Randy,  I use a fairly inexpensive laser printer that prints double sided for printing books and sheet music.  Print a copy, use a comb binder, write all over it, tear it up from dragging it all over the US, throw it away and print a new one.  The cost per page usually comes out to less than having a place like staples print it. 

RE: Bradbury book.  I also like the Bradbury book.  The current published version is the same as the two volume set, just combined into one book.  All of the two volume copies I have seen and handled were printed on a high acid paper and tend to turn dark brown and crumble.  The single edition is on much better paper stock, at least the $5 copy (including shipping) I bought off of ebay years ago is. I think mine was printed in 1992.

I'm not sure what you mean about "American folk tunes."  Everything recognizable tends to fall into the "popular song" category, including some banjo pieces with the titles changed (and slightly rearranged).  "Pop Corn" is really called "Green Corn" and is from the "early banjo" repertoire (his variation is good and could be combined with earlier versions).  In fact he uses a surprising amount of "minstrel" tunes for the time.

All of these short tunes can be found in A notation instruction books.  His is right in line with earlier works only he goes into much greater detail in explaining.

Using "Home on the Range," would have been recognizable from Movies and TV westerns (and the Hawaiian/Tyrollean influenced "western" music that was very popular in the 20s and 30s).

"The Caissons Go Rolling Along" and "The Marines Hymn" were also popular considering Gomer Pyle ran from 1964-1969.  Those might be dated choices for a book today but inline with recognizable pieces form the late 1960s.

Here is an example of a piece he plagiarized and changed a bit.  "Old Virginia" (pages 82-83 in my copy) is just knockoff of "Spirt of Old Virginia" by Danial Acker, published in 1895...

https://archive.org/details/SpiritOfOldVirginiaAcker

The only problem I have with the Bradbury book is that there is no Ragtime!  Ragtime is completely glossed over with only one page on syncopation.  I have heard stories that Bradbury hated ragtime and would even leave the room when people would play a rag.  How accurate those stories are I don't know.  But he managed to avoid it in his book, and I think that is a big piece missing.


Randy Dary said:

I'm sorry!  Didn't mean to belabor anything.  I was just surprised to find these, since it seems as if everything one sees in music or book stores is all about bluegrass banjo and all using tablature.  When I got started, I printed off pages from some of the Tutor Books on this website, and they were very helpful, but I couldn't see printing whole books.  It was fun to come across these real published books, and then to find out that they are still published!  

Jody Stecher said:

The Bradbury books have been discussed frequently on this forum.  The topic comes up fairly regularly. 

I'm currently working through the "modern" version. Its been about two weeks, and I'm much more confident when it comes to reading notation now. Some of the songs are kind of boring to play, but overall, whether it be a modern version or a cool vintage version, its worth your time if you want to become a better classic banjo player 

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