Banjo Lessons

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Nov 2007

My 10-year old daughter wants to learn to play the banjo (more specifically, she wants to be the next Earl Scruggs). I admire the ambition, but haven't seen any listings for this. Can anyone recommend a good, patient teacher, preferably in North Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito or Kensington (and/or willing to make house calls)? Ann

I would suggest you contact Chad Manning ( or his wife, Catherine Manning (cathmanning[at] He is an accomplished musician and teaches adults on the fiddle, guitar and mandolin. I imagine he may teach the banjo too but if he doesn't, I''m sure he could direct you to someone who may. Catherine teaches children the fiddle! Chad plays with the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience and with other bands around here as well. They are in El Cerrito. fiddle (and banjo!) fan mama

I know two excellent 5 string banjo players well versed various Bluegrass banjo styles and grounded in Scruggs style. I've been in bands with both and they are great musicians. They are patient and highly experienced teachers of all ages. Avram Siegal in Berkeley can be reached at 510 845 7310 and Bill Evans in Albany can be reached at 510 528 1924. tom

Bill Evans in Albany. bevans

Feb 2005

looking for banjo lessons. a woman would be great! never played before but ready to learn. berkeley or oakland area. Contact lyn

My boyfriend plays banjo, and is getting quite good! His teacher is Bill Evans in Albany. My bf's been very happy with him. Bill Evans' website : phone: 510-559-8879 in Albany The bf describes Bill as ''a very good teacher, professional, thorough, organized'' a little expensive, but definitely worth it. $70 / hour can also do 1/2 hour sessions Another option is through 5th String at Ashby and Adeline. $50 per hour lessons through 5th String Hope this helps! Ba-da-ding-ding ding-ding ding-ding-ding... Caitlin

Oct 2002

I am looking for a banjo teacher for an adult beginner. I found a good recommendation for a teacher in Albany from the website, but would prefer someone a little closer to home (Walnut Creek) if anyone knows of a teacher in the *east* East Bay. Thanks! Rachel

I recommend Adam Lipansky, who was actually mentioned in the last Digest for guitar teacher. He teaches guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, etc. He has his degree from the Berklee College of Music in Boston (great Jazz school) and specializes in music theory and playing, ie, play what you want to play, but understand what you are playing and why, be able to improvise with friends, etc. He can be reached at alipansky AT You can also check out one of his funk bands website w/bio's etc at I believe he also has an email through this site as well. Enjoy playing! js

Feb 2002

Can anybody recommend a banjo teacher for a total beginner? Susan

Bill Evans teaches banjo from his home studio in Albany. Bill is a nationally known banjo performer and scholar, and teaches all levels of students. I started with him as a beginner and he is great. Contact him through his website, or John