Celebrating 50 years of the ‘Ignoramus’

The evolution of the ‘Ignoramus’

Many of you have learned to play the banjo from my book ‘Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus‘… and this year this method is 50 years old! The book has been rewritten a few times over the years, and each time I think it’s gotten even better, but it’s always had the same down home and easy approach.

I thought you might like to know the story of how the ‘Ignoramus’, as we like to call it, came to be.

The original book

It was 1973 when I landed a job in Charlotte,

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Bury Me Beneath the Willow on Ukulele

We have some exciting news… our newest ukulele book is at the printer, and we should have it in our hands sometime in early August 2022! It’s by our best-selling authors Ted Parrish & Wayne Erbsen and is called “Ukulele Tunes, Tips & Jamming“… sign up to be notified when it’s out by clicking HERE.

In the meantime, we thought we’d give you a sneak peak at one of the songs in this book: “Bury Me Beneath the Willow,” one of our all-time favorites to pick on our log cabin’s front porch. We love to hear your

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Nine Pound Hammer on Bluegrass Banjo

Today I got into splitting some firewood for my log cabin’s wood stove and ran into some especially gnarly oak butts that were still waiting to be split and stacked on the woodpile. Since one particular round was putting up a pretty good fight, I brought out my favorite steel wedge and my heaviest maul, an 8-pounder. As I was slamming the maul into the wedge, I got to thinking that the maul was pretty dang heavy. As I was pounding away, I started singing that old bluegrass song, “Nine Pound Hammer.” The first verse suddenly became very real:

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Welcome to Our New Website

We’re happy to launch our brand-new site!

So, what did we change? Most importantly, we’ve improved the product search so it will be easier for you to browse our books and recordings. You’ll find it easier to locate the specific book you’re looking for. We also upgraded the process for placing individual and wholesale orders.

We also made sure that the free stuff — the articles, tabs, and videos that were on our previous site — are all still available for you.

Thanks for stopping by! We hope you enjoy the new site.

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Roll On Buddy

While doing some research on one of the songs for my book Bluegrass Jamming on Mandolin, I uncovered some interesting things about the song “Roll On Buddy,” which is considered a bluegrass standard as recorded by Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. On May 17, 1924 Al Hopkins & His Buckle Busters recorded “Baby Your Time Ain’t Long” with Charlie Bowman on fiddle. Four years later, Charlie Bowman & His Brothers used this exact same melody on a song they called “Roll On Buddy.” Although usually thought to be a traditional song, “Roll on Buddy” was apparently composed by

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Jimmie Brown The Newsboy

“Jimmie Brown, the Newsboy” has long been a favorite of mine, as recorded by Flatt & Scruggs and Mac Wiseman. Recently, I got to pondering its origins. After some digging, I discovered that the song was composed in 1875 by William S. Hays. Over the years, Hays’ name has largely been forgotten and now people either refer to “Jimmie Brown, the Newsboy” as a Carter Family song, a Flatt & Scruggs song or even a Mac Wiseman song. Let’s go back to an earlier time and look at where the song came from and discover some startling controversies

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Diamond Joe

Gene Autry with an acoustic guitar

By Wayne Erbsen

I’ve always been a sucker for a good ole cowboy song. This isn’t because I was born and raised on a cattle ranch in Texas; I’m actually a native of southern California. Growing up in the late ’40s and early ’50s, I was raised on a diet of TV westerns like Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, Maverick, Rawhide, The Rifleman, Bonanza, and Have Gun – Will Travel. Actually, I was listening to The Lone Ranger and Gunsmoke on the radio before they became popular TV shows. My favorite movies were Shane

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Otto Wood the Bandit

By Wayne Erbsen

July 10th isn’t a day to watch the fireworks, have a picnic, wave a flag, or sing The Star Spangled Banner. Nope. July 10th is the anniversary of the day in 1931 that the famed outlaw Otto Wood made his tenth and final escape from Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Central Prison was not a place to have a tea party on the lawn. Completed at a cost of $1.25 million in December, 1884, it was the first prison built in North Carolina. They say it took inmates 14 years to construct the original castle-like

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Fox on the Run

Cliff Waldren

By Wayne Erbsen

In the early 1970s, Fox on the Run was among the most requested bluegrass songs. Along with Rocky Top — a bluegrass band could scarcely play a show without fans yelling for Rocky Top or Fox on the Run.” The song was written in 1968 by an Englishman named Tony Hazzard and first recorded as a rock song by Manfred Mann in February, 1969.

The first bluegrass band to record Fox on the Run was Cliff Waldren and the New Shades of Grass. Listening to this bluegrass recording, a lot of people were puzzled by one

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