- Jim Bottorff's Banjo Page
- Website History
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- This website has evolved from 1994
as something for my own use, to the present, where it is used
by banjo players, banjo bands, teachers, performers and musicians
of all types throughout the world. The goal of the site is to
promote the banjo and how to play it, as well as provide some
songs to play-along with on any instrument of your choice.
- The Beginning:
- In 1994 I began researching various
music software programs for the purpose of providing myself with
music accompaniment while I played the banjo. As a result,
I began to use midi files and the html website format. The
website format allowed for indexing the song titles and linking
each title to a midi file arrangement. In this way, I had quick
and easy access to my songs for playing along with on my banjo.
The song sound files were recorded onto cassette tapes,
which I used for my own play-along practice and for teaching
students. Nothing was put on the Internet at that time.
- By 1995 the cassette tapes had been
distributed to a few people, including Gary Neuman, an established
San Francisco Bay Area musician. Gary suggested that I
start a webpage so others could play-along with the music. In
1996 I started the first webpage with an obscure address that
was difficult to work with. Eventually in 1998 jbott.com
- The Songs:
- At first, the webpage songs were
selected for students, a show that our band was practicing for,
and sometimes a few verses I was trying to learn. Then I started
getting requests from other banjo players for songs they liked.
At banjo shows and jam sessions, I started writing down
the songs that were being played. Ralph Martin (4-String
Banjo Hall of Fame) suggested I add "Hit
Parade" songs, like the ones he
used on the Southern California Banjo Band recordings. The list
of songs became large and my music library was small.
- I used the Shakey's
Pizza Parlor Songsheet (pdf) as a starter.
All of the songs from the songsheet are on this website for play-along.
- Thanks to the Internet, eBay and
antique stores, I have been able to build up a sheet music library.
Whenever possible I like to use the original sheet music
for making my song arrangements. Second choice is to use
good fake books or arrangements from some of my banjo friends.
Last resort is to transcribe the song by ear from a recording,
and then have it reviewed by some music scholars I know.
- The Present:
- The current jbott.com website has
two parts: (1) The HomePage aka
The Songs Page
and (2) The Beginners Page. These pages provide links to songs,
instruction materials, sound clips, videos, pdf files, etc. Some
of the pages contain tablature or special notation specific for
Plectrum, 5-String, or Tenor banjos.
- Links to The HomePage and The Songs Page are the same. The Songs
section of the Home Page is where song catagories and listings
- An "Update Log" showing recent additions and
changes can be accessed at the top of The
- Happy Picking and Strumming,
- Jim Bottorff
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