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 was started.
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 start.
An "Update Log" showing recent additions and changes can be accessed at the top of The HomePage.
Happy Picking and Strumming,
Jim Bottorff

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