SPBGMA BANJO WORKSHOP February 5th, 2016
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 visit 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, Richard Bailey, Charlie Cushman, 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.

This year half-day attendance is allowed. Students can either attend the beginner-Intermediate session and the Intermediate/Advanced session with Greg Cahill OR they can attend the setup session with Steve Huber, the Advanced session with Joe Mullins, and the faculty jam from 3:30 - ?.
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 Mel Bay book "Exercises for Three-Finger Banjo" to be released just in time for SPBGMA 2016.

From 10:30 - 12:00 Greg Cahill will discuss intermediate level topics such playing up the neck, backup and jamming, basic music theory. Greg is a consummate professional, teacher, touring musician and bandleader for the Chicago based group Special Consensus that has toured the world for over forty years.

Chicago born and bred, Greg has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s. Greg co-founded The Special Consensus in Chicago in 1975 and has continued to tour nationally and internationally with the band since the late 1970s. In 1984, he created the Traditional American Music (TAM) Program to introduce students of all ages to bluegrass music. He has appeared on all 17 of The Special Consensus recordings, on numerous recordings by other artists and on many national television and radio commercial jingles. Greg has also released three recordings: “Lone Star” (1980, with guests Jethro Burns and Byron Berline); “Blue Skies” (1992, with Chicago mandolinist Don Stiernberg); and “Night Skies” (1998, with Don Stiernberg and guests Sam Bush, Glen Duncan and Tom Boyd). He has also recorded and toured European countries with the ChowDogs (Slavek Hanzlik, Dallas Wayne and Ollie O’Shea). ). Greg has released four banjo instructional DVDs and teaches banjo at festival workshops and at music camps nationally and internationally. He is a banjo instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and an adjunct faculty member of the music department (teaching banjo) at Columbia College in Chicago. He served on the Nashville-based International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Board of Directors from 1998-2010 (Board Chair/President 2006-2010), became a Kentucky Colonel in 2010 and was awarded the prestigious IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2011. Greg was also appointed to the Board of Directors of the Nashville-based Foundation for Bluegrass Music in 2007, elected President of the organization in 2011 and rotated off that board in 2012. The 2012 band recording “Scratch Gravel Road” was Grammy-nominated and the 2014 band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards (both released by Compass Records).

At 12:00 noon there will an hour 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.

Half day registration: Those attending only the first half must leave and those attending only the second half may enter during the lunch break.

From 1:00 - 2:00 world renowned luthier, president of Huber Banjo Company and master banjo player Steve Huber will discuss banjo setup and maintenence. Steve will explain basic setup techniques, demonstrate setup procedures on student's banjos 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. Steve will also discuss acoustics and the physics of how these various components affect banjo tone.
From 2:00 - 3:30 Joe Mullins will be leading the advanced session. Joe has been the banjo player and bandleader with the award-winning Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers for over four decades. Joe will discuss what he has learned in his many years touring and working onstage and in the studio with the most respected names in bluegrass.

Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers have an energetic mix of quality Bluegrass and Gospel music, a professional presentation, inventive instrumental work, a wide variety of vocal arrangements including a capella quartets and tasteful, down-home humor. Their professionalism and successful, heavily played recordings have kept them in demand with a national audience. JMRR have been seen by thousands of fans across the country at nearly every national bluegrass event.

A contributing factor to JMRR’s success is their active marketing capabilities, due to Mullins’ network of radio stations in the Midwest, including a 24/7 webcast available at myclassiccountry.com or the new “Classic Country Radio” app for Android and iPhone. Joe Mullins and his band's accomplishments:

5 IBMA Awards and 3 SPBGMA Awards.

Debuted on the historic Grand Ole Opry July 2013 with regular guest appearances ever since.

IBMA's Emerging Artists of the Year (2012)

Hosts of the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festivals in March & November

Album, Another Day From Life on Billboard's Top 15 Best Selling Albums (10/14), SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction's Most Played Albums (currently), National Bluegrass Survey's Top 15 Albums (2/15-present)

Song, "Another Day From Life" on National Bluegrass Survey's Top 30 songs & SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction's Most Played Tracks (3/15-present)

Song, "Now The Summer's Gone" on SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction's Most Played Tracks (10/14-present), National Bluegrass Survey's Top 30 Songs (12/14-Present)

Featured Performers of Bluegrass nights at the Ryman in Nashville, TN (2011 & 2012)

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.

Note that the workshop fee covers all four sessions. You may attend only part of the sessions, but no refund will apply. It is best to show up early (by 8:30). You may beat the parking lot attendants there and not have to pay parking onsite. There are other non-pay lots nearby but may require walking several hundred yards carrying your banjo. If you have weekend SPBGMA tickets and are staying at the Sheraton you will likely already have paid for parking.

Workshop admission allows access to all areas of the huge SPBGMA convention all day February 5th. including the stage show and the "admission only" vendor area.

Suggested hotel if you are not staying at the Sheraton: Alexis 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 2016 Registration Form

Click here to register now by credit card for morning sessions only:

Click here to register now by credit card for afternoon sessions only:

Click here to register now by credit card for workshop and all other SPBGMA events February 5th

Click here to register now by credit card for morning sessions with Jack Hatfield and Greg Cahill and all other SPBGMA events February 5th

Click here to register now by credit card for afternoon sessions with Steve Huber and Joe Mullins, faculty jam, and all other SPBGMA events February 5th

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.

Driving directions to Sheraton Music City:

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.

The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) email or call 660-665-7172

Click here to return to the Hatfield Music website