Frank Bradbury 5 String Banjo Ragioso Rondo 12-9-1950

Frank Bradbury solo on 5 String Banjo - Ann Bradbury on the piano - 12-9-1950 NY concert

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Comment by thereallyniceman on May 16, 2019 at 17:18

I always thought that Frank Bradbury wrote boring Mel Bay Tutors, but these recent videos are absolutely amazing. Why have I never heard any of these before??????

Comment by Joel Hooks on May 16, 2019 at 17:36

His tutor for Mel Bay is actually very good.  At first glance it looks lame.  But I found a HUGE improvement in my sight reading after working through it from front to back.

Not only that but he sneaks in all kinds of fingering tricks and fancy embellishments.  I found myself changing the way I play positions, as well as my LH and RH fingering after working through the book.

Several of the pieces have made their way into my regular rotation.

I think the impression of lameness comes from the fact that it was published in 1961, and Mel Bay had developed a reputation of being lame by that time with all their "fun with" books that taught nothing but chord shapes and then put dashes over words.  The impossible simple method.

The Mel Bay book is a revised version of his 1926 book and it shows the experience in teaching that he had picked up. The 1926 book is also very good.

Comment by thereallyniceman on May 16, 2019 at 17:41

I guess you are correct Joel, I have his tutor but must admit I have not studied it closely. Maybe it just looked "lame" as you suggest. I will take another go at it as I need as much help as I can get :-)

Comment by Jody Stecher on May 16, 2019 at 19:19

One of the problems with the Bradbury book is that the layout is poor and slapdash. It's like someone wanted to save money on paper and ink and crammed in as much as possible on each page. It makes my head spin. But the actual content is fine... except for the actual musical pieces, some of which I do find lame or insipid. It may be a great tutor for learning sight reading but that can be done with music that is better to listen to.

Comment by Joel Hooks on May 16, 2019 at 22:54

Jody, we must be looking at different Bradbury books.  Comparing the Mel Bay Banjo Method side by side with, say, Grimshaw's book, Grimshaw crams more lines and words per page far more than the Mel Bay.  In fact, the Mel Bay book tends to spread out and waste space.

Comment by Jody Stecher on May 17, 2019 at 0:42

You are right! I mis-remembered. The layout is good in Bradbury. There is plenty of space to breathe.

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