SPBGMA BANJO WORKSHOP February 6th, 2015
Directed by Jack Hatfield

Sheraton Music City, Nashville, Tennessee


The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass 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 can attend the Grand Ole Opry, see the famous shops and clubs such as Ernest Tubb's Record Shop, Blue Bird Cafe and Linebaughs' on Broadway, and go to the world famous Station Inn to hear top bluegrass artists perform.

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

From 9:00 -10:30 AM. workshop director, BNL and Mel Bay author Jack Hatfield will address beginner level topics and demonstrate examples from his recent Mel Bay book "Best of Jack Hatfield" and his upcoming book "Exercises for Three-Finger Banjo" to be released just before SPBGMA 2015.

At 10:30 AM Janet Davis will discuss intermediate level topics such playing up the neck, backup and jamming, basic music theory. Janet was one of the very first Banjo Newsletter columnists, and has been a contributor continuously for over forty years, She writes a column on backup. She has written over as dozen Mel Bay banjo instruction books including the premier book on bluegrass backup and a Mel Bay best seller "Splitting the Licks". She recently retired from her own hugely successful music store and online business Janet Davis Music, which specializes in banjo supplies. She also performs, records and writes songs. Janet recently recorded a song she wrote called "Grandma's Tattoos" with Bill Emerson and John Martin. She has taught at the following workshops and camps:

• Nashcamp • Kaufman Acoustik Camp • American Music Camp • Banjo Camp North • Camp Bluegrass • Suannne Music Camp • SPBGMA Banjo Workshop • Tennessee Banjo Institute  • Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy 

At 12:00 there will a thirty minute break. Attendees can eat lunch, browse the vendor area or jam in the workshop room. Banjos can be left in the workshop room where they will be watched.

At12:30 Larry Wallace will lead a discussion on his perspective gleaned from playing in a top level professional bluegrass band.

At 1:00 Jack Hatfield and Larry Wallace will discuss banjo setup and maintenence. Jack will explain basic setup techniques, do a full setup on a student's banjo and provide a checklist for students to take home, as well as exposing common myths and sharing his insights on the player's role in banjo tone. Basic adjustments every banjo player should know will be demonstrated, such as changing strings, truss rod and tailpiece and head tension adjustment, and trouble shooting buzzes and difficult - to play necks. Jack will also discuss the physics of how these various components affect banjo tone. If time allows, he will also demonstrate how to install HO gauge railroad spikes.
From 12:30 -1:00 special guest Larry Wallace who played banjo for Jimmy Martin for ten years will talk about right hand and aspects of playing in a band. He will also take part in the setup session at 1:00.

Kristin Scott-Benson is the featured artist for the 18th annual SPBGMA banjo workshop. She will be teaching the advanced segment from 2:00-3:30. Kristin is four-time-IBMA banjo player of the year and plays with the award-winning Grascals. Kristin was the featured artist in the 2012 SPBGMA workshop, and taught at Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy 2013, at both of which she garnered rave reviews from students. She teaches banjo full time when not touring, so she "gets it". Unlike many great performers, she understands how to communicate with students, even rank beginners and those who have played by ear or have self-taught for years.

From 3:30 to 4:00 (or as long as they are willing) the workshop instructors will participate in an informal jam, taking requests and doing a wrap-up, answering questions and demonstrating techniques discussed in all the previous sessions.

Workshop admission allows access to all areas of the huge SPBGMA convention all day February 6th. including the stage show and the "admission only" vendor area.

Suggested hotel if you are not staying at the Sheraton: Alesis Inn, a few blocks away. About 80 bucks per night with full breakfast bar included. 615-889-4466

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

SPBGMA 2015 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 in the McGavok vendor area on Thursday evening and Friday morning to assist and take walk-in registrations.

Questions? Send email to jack@hatfieldmusic.com or call: 865-426-8063

Call 865-428-8063 or email Jack Hatfield for more information.

Click here to register now by credit card for workshop only, February 6tht ($70.00):

Click here to register now by credit card for workshop and all other SPBGMA events February 6th ($85.00): Includes a $5.00 credit card processing fee. A questionnaire will be sent to you so we can gather info about your topic preferences, ability level, etc. The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) email or call 660-665-7172