California Banjo Extravaganza Mini-Camp w/ Tony Trischka, Sammy Shelor & Bill Evans

Saturday, November 16, noon-4:30 pm
Register online

For all levels of bluegrass banjo players, Tony Trischka, Sammy Shelor & Bill Evans will teach three 60-minute small group sessions and then come together for a final session with all students. This is a hands-on, “bring your banjo and let’s pick” event with workshop topics designed for beginning, intermediate and advanced banjo players. Experience this unique opportunity to learn up close from three of the best players – and teachers – in the world. Don’t forget to grab dinner in downtown Berkeley and come back at 8 p.m. to catch these players in concert with an incredible West Coast All Star band!

Tony Trischka just might be the most influential banjo player in the roots music world and one of the best banjo teachers as well (count Béla Fleck, Chris Pandolfi and Bill Evans among Tony’s students). He has published numerous instruction books and hosts the Tony Trischka School of Banjo, the world’s most popular online instructional banjo website.

Sammy Shelor is the driving force behind the IBMA award-winning Lonesome River Band, which recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. A recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, Shelor is also a five-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s award for Banjo Performer of the Year. One of the most imitated bluegrass banjo players today, his driving style ingeniously updates the traditional bluegrass banjo sound pioneered by Earl Scruggs.

Bill Evans is well-known to Bay Area audiences and is the California Bluegrass Extravaganza mastermind! Over an almost twenty year performing career based out of the East Bay, Bill has performed on the Freight stage with David Grisman, J. D. Crowe, David Bromberg, Peter Rowan, Jody Stecher, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Laurie Lewis, John Reischman, Kathy Kallick, the Bluegrass Intentions, Jim Hurst, Due West, Melody Walker & Jacob Groopman, and, well, the list just goes on and on. The author of Banjo For Dummies, Bill has taught thousands of students all over the world. He hosts the NashCamp Sonny Osborne Banjo Camp each year in Tennessee as well as participating in many northern California bluegrass and old-time music camps.

Noon - 1 p.m.: 33 Tips for Building A Strong Banjoic Infrastructure with Tony Trischka. Tony discusses the keys to getting a professional sound, tips for new learners, practice techniques and much more (for beginners and intermediates); Lonesome River Band Banjo with Sammy Shelor and Bill Evans. Sammy discusses the primary elements of his style and explores his most famous solos and licks recorded over a 30 year career with the Lonesome River Band (for intermediate to advanced students).

1:15 – 2:15 p.m.: Playing The Syllables with Tony Trischka. Based on a concept discussed by Earl Scruggs and John Hartford, Tony explores how to work up the melody by closely focusing on what the singer sings, and applying that to the banjo, providing new ways to think about playing that will free you from tab. Playing in different keys without a capo and playing up the neck will also be discussed. Right Hand Drive: Rolls and Licks and Playing With A Band with Sammy Shelor and Bill Evans. Sammy and Bill discuss all of the elements of right hand drive, from right hand position to pick fit, accents and syncopation, and much more. Sammy and Bill will also explore the role of the banjo in a contemporary bluegrass band, keeping good rhythm and much more.

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.: Advanced Banjo Improvisation with Tony Trischka. Tony presents fresh ideas for getting around the fingerboard, exploring intervals, Béla Fleck ideas, Allen Shelton rolls, scale and movable licks and patterns and more (intermediate to advanced). Banjo Heroes: Principal Influences with Sammy Shelor and Bill Evans. Sammy and Bill discuss their banjo heroes, from Earl Scruggs and to Ben Eldridge, demonstrating their influence on their own styles. Also, general questions will be taken for both teachers during this session (all levels).

4:15 – 5:00 p.m. Grand Finale with Tony, Sammy, Bill and all students: Q & A, playing requests and a concert preview with special guest Jim Nunally on guitar.

Note: Pre-registration is strongly recommended for this event. Those choosing to register on the day of the event should arrive by 11:30 p.m. as the mini-camp will begin promptly at noon. While participants can choose any workshop topic, the instructors will present each topic for the student level indicated.

Questions? Email Bill Evans at


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