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  • Who's your biggest influences on your banjo playing?

    I've been playing banjo for close to 10 years now (I don't get to play it as much as I'd like, cause I play guitar in the band I'm in and we already have an awesome banjo player!).  My biggest influence on my banjo playing would be my father, Charles McCormick.  He was playing banjo before I was born (in the 70's) and I loved to hear him play up until the day that he died.   He left me his banjo and I taught myself to play using his old Earl Scruggs instructional book. 

    As far as other banjo players go, obviously Earl Scruggs was an influence on me.  I love hearing him play Sally Ann and other songs like Flint Hill Special, Ground Speed. 

    Bill Emerson is another HUGE influence on my banjo playing, probably a close second to my father.  His banjo playing when he was with the Country Gentlemen is so incredible.  I think the thing I like most about his playing are the little things he does - like pull offs, that he uses.

    Terry Baucom would be the other banjo player who has influenced my playing.  With Terry, he definitely has the "drive" that all of us wish we could have!  It's hard to narrow down just one thing that I like best about his playing, but if I had to I would say (other than his hard driving style) is that he doesn't try to over play anything.  He knows how and when to put in just the right notes.

    Okay everyone....  now it's your turn...   who are your biggest influences on  your banjo playing?


    • well i like Sammy Sheller BUT i have no one to say is my absalute favorite cause i like alot of diffrent groups to l listen to them all and try to take all there styles and make my own

    • Ditto to all the ones you mentioned, Sean. I'd add Don Stover, who released a very influential album when I was a new banjo player in the mid-'70s, called Things In Life.

      Don't forget Alan Munde, who showed us how to play fiddle tunes note-for-note with drive!

      There are too many to mention, but I learn something every time I hear Ron Stewart these days.
    • The pickers who most influenced me was Earl Scruggs, Terry Baucom, Scott Vestal, Bela Fleck, and Ron Stewart. 
    • JD Crowe, Earl Scruggs, Ron Stewart, Justin Jenkins, Jason Davis, Sonny Osborne, Kristin Scott Benson, Sammy Shelor, Steve Dilling, Tom Adams, Jens Kruger
    • JD Crowe, Earl Scruggs, Ron Stewart, Justin Jenkins, Jason Davis, Sonny Osborne, Kristin Scott Benson, Sammy Shelor, Steve Dilling, Tom Adams, Jens Kruger
      Justin and Jason are really killing it these days!
    • Yes they are John! Can't wait until Justin gets his solo project done! Jason's is killer!
    • My favorites are JD, Sammy Shelor, Ron Stuart, Jason Davis, Mike Munford, and of course Earl Scruggs. But some of my most cherished and fondest memories are of Grandpa Jones and Leroy Troy playing at our festival.
    • As I'm from the other side of the pond I may be have a different take on players..... Leon Hunt is excellent as is Mr Kruger. The classic players like Earl, J.D etc are/were terrific. My big influences would be my tutor Howard Burton, his mate Joe McIlroy and....... if I dare say so..... Steve Martin, who has given me plenty of tunes to learn.  
    • Earl!! I'll never forget the first I heard him on the radio back in the 50's. He's been my hero ever since.
    • The first time I ever heard or saw Steve Martin he was a warm up act for Earl Scruggs Review back in the mid 70's. No one knew who he was but he had the whole crowd laughing their heads off. He was really funny, played the banjo and did magic tricks.

    • The biggest is Earl Scruggs. I still have my dog eared copy of Earl Scruggs and The Five String Banjo. I still think his is the best back-up playing. The second one is Bela Fleck which introduced be to modern interpretations of banjo playing.

      Other notables is Tony Trishka, Bill knofp, Bill kieth and John Sommers(I love Pickin' The Sundown)
    • Three biggest...J.D., Earl, and Ron Stewart.
    • Hard question ! What is unique in Bluegrass banjo is that every artist adds something to the heritage and I love a lot of them, from Pete Seeger - the one who gave me the taste of banjo playing - to people like Noam Pikelny. They are all essential. But, of course, If I had to give only one name, it would be Earl Scruggs. Our routes always took us back to Earl Scruggs.
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