Paul Hawthorne's Web Site


1 - What is Gestalt Banjo?

An overview of what the book covers.

2 - Beginnings

What this book is all about, and what you can expect from it.

3 - Tablature

A short explanation of tablature for those unfamiliar with it and a bit of history.

4 - Outlook

Some simple attitudes that materially speed learning.

5 - Playing Slowly

A clear explanation of the why of playing slowly, and how to recognize when you are playing slowly enough to learn effectively.

6 - Holding the Banjo

How and why to hold the banjo with minimum strain.

7 - Hand Position

The how and why of picking hand use for maximum freedom and minimum potential injury. This is essential reading.

8 - Picks

A discussion of picks, their differences, tone possibilities and how to assess their use and wear.

9 - Finger Use

Strategies to train your own unique individual hand and fingers to produce the tone(s) you want from the banjo.

10 - Play/Relax Technique

A specific way to train your hand and picking fingers to smooth, easy picking.

11 - Bare Finger Picking

The benefits of playing without picks. How to play effectively and with good tone from the fingertips or from your fingernails.

12 - Timing and Rhythm

A clear explanation of the structure and differences in timing and rhythm, with visual models.

13 - Roll Elements

A clear explanation of the concept that by learning 24 four note roll elements, all of the picking possibilities in regular single note banjo playing are covered. This can drastically shorten the learning process over the traditional way of learning rolls. These can then be used to make up the rolls if desired.

14 - The Mantra

Specific directions on how to apply the roll element idea to timing and rhythm. Word cues to fit rhythm to the underlying flow. A visual model of swing and note timing offset.

15. The 24 Roll Elements

All that you need to know.

16 - More Word Cues

Expands on the strategy presented in 14. to fit accents in all possible places in the measure.

17 - Roll Element Usage

Ways of applying the roll element concept to real tunes, referenced tunes to rehearse specific roll elements.

18 - Slurred Notes

A parallel discussion to that of section 14. on the timing offset of hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides.

19 - The Big Picture

A visual model of how the instruments in a band fit together. Essential if you want to play along with people rather than at the same time as them.

20 - Habit Breakers

A weird and wonderful collection of musical examples to stir your creativity and help you get out of musical ruts.

21 - Playing Along

Guidelines and instructions to various strategies for playing along to learn most quickly and efficiently. Includes sources of PC software and play along CD's.

22 - Developing Dynamic Control

Strategies to expand your mastery of the dynamic possibilities of the instrument.

23 - Training Instruments

Nonstandard instruments to develop specific skills more quickly.

24 - Complex 4 Meter Roll Elements

All of the possibilities of more than one note at once in a three finger picking mode. Advanced stuff, not necessary for most banjo players.

25 - 3 Meter Roll Elements

The roll element idea applied to three meter music. Complete in one section.

26 - Outside the Mainstream

Special techniques and strategies of picking. Good Stuff.

Appendix 1 - Roll Elements

A simple listing in one place.

Appendix 2 - Four Finger Roll Elements

The roll element idea applied to 4 finger picking. A possible wave of the future; very advanced.

Appendix 3 - Roll Element Lists

For the side of the resonator, for easy reference.

Appendix 4 - References and Resources

Publications, articles, Websites, banjo chat lists on the internet, recommended authors, free metronome programs, tab and notation software.

Appendix 5 - My Double Banjo Strap

A banjo strap that relieves strain and back pain, how to build it and why it works.

Appendix 6 - The Biomechanics of the Ring and Middle Finger

Written by Kelly Cole Ph.D., neurologist and banjoist. Accurate and insightful.

How to Order Gestalt Banjo


Last Updated 15 Jul 2006 by PJH

Edited 09 Apr 2007 by WF