There aren't many banjos players more widely heard, or who have performed before more people, than Ron Block. Working with Alison Krauss & Union Station since 1991, Ron's distinctive banjo sound has become nearly as much a part of the group sound as Alison's voice. Ron has taught in a limited number of worshops, but this is his first instructional DVD of any kind, offering a detailed look at his unique approach to the banjo.
This new 3 hour and 45 minute release from AcuTab features Ron explaining the concepts and techniques which make up his banjo style, carefully explained and demonstrated on camera. The stylistic elements are reinforced in both discussion and demonstration, and the 7 songs and solos Ron teaches in great detail.
Songs taught include:
Tiny Broken Heart
Cluck Old Hen
Remember You Love In My Prayers
Everytime You Say Goodbye
My Poor Old Heart
Bright Sunny South
Man Of Constant Sorrow
This course begins with Ron explaining how he learned, and what resources have been useful to him, plus how he looks at both left and right hand patterns. AcuTab's John Lawless leads him through a discussion of several topics, including tone production, Ron's use of bends and chokes, how he arranges solos, and improvisation.
Ron goes into great detail about his practice routine, showing examples of exercises and drills he uses to stay in shape. He also describes a number of guitar techniques and concepts which have informed his banjo playing, such as working within "boxes," or blocks of frets, and learning to visualize and play scales and patterns both vertically and horizontally.
The meat of the program is in the songs Ron teaches, which are played in a number of keys and tunings. You'll learn Cluck Old Hen, Tiny Broken Heart, Man Of Constant Sorrow, I'll Remember You Love In My Prayers, Everytime You Say Goodbye, Bright Sunny South, My Poor Old Heart and Smashville. Each song is played with a band before Ron breaks it down lick by lick, and then shown (medium and slow) in a split screen orientation.
One benefit of the DVD format is the ability to offer alternate angles of the same shot, which we use on the various split screen presentations. The viewer can select among three different screen orientations while the DVD is playing. Two audio mixes are also available during the brief band sections: normal and banjo-heavy.