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Message from Bill Evans - Live W/Shop Today Noon MT ***

Message from Bill Evans

In thinking about how I can help during this health crisis, with so many of us in isolation, I thought it’d be great to bring as many folks together to talk and pick banjo. I hope you’ll join me for the first of several upcoming workshops, offered via Facebook Live on my Facebook page (see link below). The video should be archived for a while on this same Facebook page, if you can’t make the session live.

Working Up Scruggs-Style Solos with Bill Evans: A Facebook Live Bluegrass Banjo Workshop
Saturday, March 28, noon to 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time

A bit more info about the workshop:

.'Just about everyone who plays bluegrass banjo aspires to “pick it like Earl.” In this free 75-minute online Facebook Live banjo workshop, Peghead Nation instructor and Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies author Bill Evans will unlock some of the most important elements of Earl’s playing style by analyzing four well-known Scruggs solos: “No Mother Or Dad,” “Fireball Mail,” “I’ll Never Shed Another Tear” and “I’ll Stay Around.” Bill will discuss how Earl’s roll and lick choices relate to the chord progression and melody of each song and you’ll see how to apply basic “think like Earl” concepts to enhance your own playing. Bill’s tab transcriptions will be available both before and during the workshop, enabling you to download them, print them out and play along. You’ll be able to ask questions in the comments section as the workshop proceeds and you can access workshop video after the conclusion of the session on Bill’s Facebook page.

*My advice is to listen closely to the original recordings of all four of these tunes before the workshop. If you’ve got the chord progression and the melody in your head, our analysis of how Earl captures these melodies will be much more powerful. *

This workshop is designed for upper-level beginners through intermediate students, although there will be material of value to players of all ability levels. Players should be familiar with Scruggs-style roll patterns and left-hand embellishment techniques (slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs) and have attempted to play some of Earl’s best-known songs, like “Cripple Creek,” “Cumberland Gap,” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” This workshop will not explore up the neck soloing or back-up. Bill will do that in additional online sessions soon!’

If you are not familiar with Bill Evans this will give you a great opportunity to see how his teaching style differs from @BanjoBen 's style.

On a personal note I think both teachers are great, But if I had to choose one over the other. My first choice would be @BanjoBen


Due to start in 30 minutes…


It was good!


Hi Mike. Glad to liked it. I had some tech problems, It started off just fine then the stream just kept locking up. I guess with the lock down everyone is on the internet and the bandwidth was overloaded. I have managed to download the video and will watch it later. Video & sound quality were first class unlike other live streams I have watched with Bill. Looking forward to seeing those future workshops he talked about.


It was timely for me. I have been working through some Scruggs stuff lately. It looks straightforward when you see it tabbed out compared to complicated melodic stuff, but it’s not that easy to make it sound good. It’s not even possible to make it sound like Earl!


Hi Mike, I know what you mean. Once you begin to understand that what you hear on a record is often off pitch and at break neck speed you quickly realise that you have to slow things down to something more manageable.

Bill tries to explain this in his lessons but he doesn’t get into a lot of detail, mores the pity. The great thing is that @BanjoBen fills in a lot of the detail that Bill leaves out.

The key to learning Scruggs style is knowing the roll patterns and chord positions, Getting a good handle on the Slides, Hammer Ons , Pull Offs and Pinches. And building a library of Earl’s signature licks.

Ben’s really gets into the detail of timing when he teaches Pull-Offs and Hammer-Ons and it’s important to know the difference between 16th 8th and Quarter note slides, pull-offs and rests.

This is is the foundational stuff we have to master if we ever hope to make a noise resembling Scruggs. I still have to put in a lot of mileage and I keep telling myself that I sound a little better than I did the day before.


Can we see it - after the fact? Is there another way to see it other than through Facebook?


Hi Will, Yes it’s on Bills Facebook Page. I don’t know of any other way to access it possibility the Peghead Nation site.

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