I recall putting an ad in my hometown newspaper offering my services as a guitar instructor with the intention of bringing in a few extra dollars to support my chocolate addiction, as well as a never-ending desire to pass the torch to the next generation of players.

One of the responses I received was from a fellow from the generation before me asking if I could teach him banjo. Thinking of the chocolate (coconut’s not bad either when added in any fashion), I stumbled on my words and said, “Uh, well, I do fingerpick, I own a metronome, I can read tab and I have a 6-string Banjitar, which is a 6 string Banjo-like instrument that is tuned and played like a guitar.” On the other end of the line was just silence. Not one to give up so easily I sputtered out, “Well, how about if I tune it like a banjo, never hit the sixth string and every time I hit the fifth string just ignore it?”


Finally a voice on the other end said, “OK, I’ll be right over and let’s see if you can get the job done.” Three lessons later my student decided to bring me his spare banjo: we were both off and running. Nearly a dozen lessons later of teaching this new instrument, I find myself now the proud owner of an actual banjo from Goldtone and I am reminded, as I often am, that this was once again a special case of the student inspiring the teacher.




Originally posted 2010-03-08 03:15:57.