Directed by Jack Hatfield

Sheraton Music City, Nashville, Tennessee


The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrasss Music of America (SPBGMA) event is a four-day indoor bluegrass festival/show/awards ceremony in Nashville. The SPBGMA show features round-the-clock jamming, top name performers, the highest-paying and most respected bluegrass band contest in the world, plus the SPBGMA Bluegrass Awards show on Sunday (the bluegrass equivalent of the CMA awards). SPBGMA draws the top amateur and semi-pro bands from all over the country, with non-stop jamming, various workshops and promoters' meetings, and vendors with everything a bluegrass fan could ever want. In MUSIC CITY yet! In addition to the workshop, the students and their families were free to attend the Grand Ole Opry, see the famous shops and clubs such as Ernest Tubb's and Linebaughs' on Broadway, and go to the world famous Station Inn to see top bluegrass artists perform.

The Banjo Newsletter/SPBGMA workshops have featured names such as Eddie Adcock, Charlie Cushman, Bill Keith, Bela Fleck, J.D. Crowe, Terry Baucom, Sammy Shelor, Scott Vestal, Doug Dillard, Wayne Erbson, Ross Nickerson, Doug Dillard, Butch Robins, Bill Evans, Sonny Osborne, Scott Vestal, James McKinney, Alan Munde and Pete Wernick. Banjo luthiers and setup techs have included: Steve Huber, Mark Taylor, Frank Neat, Curtis McPeake, Geoff Stelling, Gary Price, Arthur Hatfield, Tony Wray, Bill Palmer, Snuffy Smith, Charlie Cushman, and Tom Nechville. BNL writers who have participated include: Janet Davis, Murphy Henry, Ross Nickerson, Pete Kelly, Ian Perry, Ira Gitlin, Andy Cushing, Greg Cahill, Mark Smith, Jim Panky, and Eddie Collins.

From 9:00 -10:30 AM. workshop director, Banjo Newsletter and Mel Bay author Jack Hatfield will teach the beginner session. Jack is a 35- year contributor to Banjo Newsletter magazine. He published his first banjo instruction book in 1979, and has continued on that track with over a dozen Hatfield Music publications and five Mel Bay titles and an internet business Hatfield Music which caters to five-string banjoists. Jack was on the faculty of the very first banjo camp, the Tennessee Banjo Institute in 1988, and was bluegrass director for all three of Banjo Newsletter's Maryland Banjo Academies. He is currently director of his own banjo camp Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Jack recently published the third book of his Bluegrass Banjo Method series Backup Techniques on the Five-String Banjo, and has a new Mel Bay publication The Best of Jack Hatfield, due for release just in time for SPBGMA. This is an anthology of the best arrangements of his past publications with additional solos, and for the first time includes advanced contest and stage performance arrangements in all three-finger styles.

Jack will demonstrate examples from this new book.







James McKinney is an amazing banjo player, one of the most technically precise and advanced players anywhere. He won the South U.S. Banjo Championship at age 15. In 1982 he won the National Banjo Championship at Winfield, Kansas, to top off dozens of first-place state and regional championships. He made the first of several appearances on the Grand Ole Opry at age 19 and worked at Opryland theme park as banjoist and musical arranger. James recorded with his Dallas band Danger in The Air in the late 1980s and moved to Nashville in 1990 to play full time with his talented wife Angela in the James and Angela McKinney Band. James currently does studio and touring work out of Nashville. In addition to being a Scruggs and Reno style expert, he is a dedicated banjo teacher. He has taught at many major banjo camps, the SPGBMA workshop, and Master workshops all over the USA. He is one of the foremost jazz and theory experts in the banjo world, having been mentored by renowned jazz educator David Baker and Mr. Ferrell (teacher of Chet Atkins and Jethro Burns). He has performed and/or recorded with the likes of Porter Wagoner, Barbara Mandrell, John Hartford, and Johnny Cash in addition to a long and close professional relationship with legendary fiddler Vassar Clements. His newest project is called "Mind Over Banjo". James was featured artist in Banjo Newsletter July 1982.


At 12:00 there will a one-hour break for lunch. Attendees can browse the vendor area or take in the stage show. Banjos can be left in the workshop room where they will be watched.




Tom Nechville, of Nechville Musical Products, has been building banjos since 1989, manufacturing professional banjos and related accessories for the booming acoustic and electric string instrument market. He has gained a respected reputation among the nation's top builders as being a leader in innovation and design. His company owns patents on Nechville's unique Heli-mount banjo design and it has been enthusiastically accepted by the world's top players such as Bela Fleck and Alison Brown.

Nechville Musical Products is always innovating to meet the changing needs of modern musicians. Replacing more than seventy parts of a traditional banjo, the Nechville Heli-Mount body tightens together much like a jar on a lid; greatly reducing the assembly time and improving the banjo's sound.

Tom has spent years in development and in consultation with the world's top players researching and finding ways to meet the needs of professionals. His experience has led to the refinement of the electric banjo, which has re-directed a new world-wide spotlight on the banjo. Nechville instruments have appeared on MTV, the Olympics opening ceremonies, CMA Awards show, numerous cable and Direct TV specials and in major live Country, Rock, Jazz and Bluegrass concerts around the planet.

Tom has worked with Alison Brown, Bela Fleck, Eddie Adcock, and others in development of his designs, and currently provides instruments for many of the world's top country, bluegrass, and jazz performers. Learn what's wrong with most banjos and see how Nechville has designed solutions to nearly every banjo problem. His patented designs such as the elegant helical head tensioning Helimount, adjustable neck attachment, beveled armrest, built-in capos, and compensated Enterprise bridges are stirring up the banjo world. Nechville is leading the "Banjo Revolution" into new territory with his unique designs for the electric and synthesizer banjos as well. Tom will have several instruments on display and will cover things like the benefits of radiused fingerboards, tunneled 5th strings, in-line tailpieces, and compensated bridges. Owners of traditional banjos as well as anyone interested in banjo will benefit from Nechville's set-up tips and theories for optimum banjo sound. In adition to teaching banjo setup/repair and construction theory, he will be displaying several of his banjos. His book Dynamics of Banjo Sound will also be available.

Alan Munde is the featured artist for the 16th annual Banjo Newsletter/SPBGMA banjo workshop. Alan Munde needs no introduction to long-time Bluegrass fans. From his early creative work with Sam Bush in Poor Richard's Almanac to his traditional bluegrass apprenticeship with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys to his 21-year stint anchoring the landmark Country Gazette, Alan has blazed a trail as one of the most innovative and influential banjo players of all time. Along the way, Alan also recorded and contributed to numerous instrumental recordings, including the 2001 IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year - Knee Deep in Bluegrass. Alan has supplemented his recorded work with several instructional publications for the banjo, and, since 1986, Alan has taught Bluegrass and Country Music at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, a program which has produced many professional musicians nationwide. In recent years, Alan has performed and recorded as a duo with his South Plains faculty colleague (and former Gazette-mate) Joe Carr. Alan's extensive body of recorded work, his instructional materials, and his work at South Plains (including the annual Camp Bluegrass) has solidified his status as one of the true 'gurus' of the 5-string. Alan currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Bluegrass Music Association. He was profiled in the June 2005 issue of Bluegrass Now magazine.

Alan will be teaching the advanced segment from 2:00-3:30 PM.

. At 3:30 there will be a jam/mini-concert featuring the workshop staff.

The workshop admission allows access to all areas of the huge SPBGMA convention all day Friday the 3rd 2012 including the stage show, which would normally require full paid SPBGMA admission.

Suggested hotel if you are not staying at the Sheraton: Alesis Inn, a few blocks away. About 60 bucks per night with full breakfast bar included. 615-889-4466. You can catch a shuttle to the Sheraton.

to download a registration form which you can print, fill out and return by mail, click here:

BNL/SPBGMA 2012 Registration Form

Driving directions to workshop:

from I-40, just East of downtown Nashville, take Briley Parkway North (towards Opryland Hotel/Opry Mills).

Immediately take Elm Hill Pike exit, Merge right onto Elm Hill pike.

Go approximately two tenths of a mile, turn right on McGavok Pk.

Go approximately a quarter mile to Music City Sheraton on left.

Once inside, bear left through vendor area to the Two Rivers Room. There will be someone at the Hatfield Music booth to assist you and take walk-in registrations.

Questions? Send email to or call toll-free: 800-426-8744

Call toll-free 1-800-426-8744 or email for registration information.