Skype Lessons Update

The response to our free Skype lessons has been just wonderful.

I am scheduling every day and even some weekends.
Lots of new friends and pickers from around the USA, Canada, England and Scotland so far.

It is a real pleasure to give folks a leg up on our beloved banjo.
If you would like to join in just shoot me an email with your telephone number.
Be sure to let me know what you would like to cover.

I will call to set up a Skype session.

Peace to all,
Pat Costello (Dear Old Dad)


Deep Ellum Blues!

Dorene writes:

Just wanted to let you know that almost 6 years ago I started playing banjo with you guys. It has been a marvelous trip thanks to you and your lessons and so much encouragement that comes through on your lessons.
I was a kid who skipped school on the days I would have to give an oral report I was so petrified of being in front of people I was almost paralyzed.

We now have started 3-4 different bands out of our Jam sessions that take place at a local church once a month and we have a group of 9 (4 are local pastors of small churches, all the churches out here are small) the Bluegrass Minstrels, who play for retirement homes, and care centers. We were invited to play at the local bluegrass festival this last July.

we are missing my husband who was working and our fiddle player but that is the beauty of a larger group. Here is one of 13 we did that day.

I still can’t speak in front of folks but I am starting to be able to play and hopefully spread some encouragement to others.

My son was just married to a gal with 3 little ones I keep 2 ukes on hand and they always want to play with me when they come over now. we even sat on hay bales at the rehearsal and played. J

Here is our smaller group we play at local community events and fund raisers. The other two groups have no internet presence we just do some country (at my son’s wedding reception! J) with one and rock/blues with the other now and again.

I have been revisiting your archives to improve. You guys are great teachers.
Thank you so much for posting the daily frail and other workshops for Uke and guitar.
Blessings, Dorene from Washington

The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo 52 Reviews

The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo

The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo was reviewed on Amazon for the fifty-second time today – it is also worth pointing out that it was the 44th 5-star review.

This isn’t exactly a big deal in terms of my ego. I mean, come on, guys. You know me. I don’t base my self-worth on reviews or public opinion.

The truth is that reviews help us reach new banjo students and they help us sell books.

New students keep the craft going and book sales help us continue to produce workshops.

People ask me all the time what they can do to help us keep The Daily Frail going. Well, there are three things you can do:

  • Make and share music in your community.
    That is the most important thing. Just get out and keep the folk process going.
  • Buy a book or video from us if you can.
    If you can’t afford to buy anything that’s okay. The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo will always be freely available.
  • Write honest reviews.
    Let people know how a book helped you. It is an easy way for you to assist us in reaching as many people as possible!

Now, if you did pick up your copy of The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo from Amazon, be sure to visit Pik-Ware publishing and check out the book’s Companion CD as well as the video tutorials in our Thumb’s Up Sale.

Wow. 52 reviews on Amazon . . . It still boggles my mind that something I wrote to help kids in an after-school banjo club has grown into a book that has been read by people around the world for the last ten years.

In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree

Björn in Sweden writes:

I am a beginner on the banjo and would love to play clawhammer. Have bought a banjo high quality and was wondering what you recommend for strings. I want the sound to be big and dark when I play along with guitar and piano. I do not play with a plectrum but with the nail. Would be glad if you have any good tips on strings or other tips to get an old sound of the banjo. See also the attached file.
Thanks in advance and your banjo playing is super!
Normally, I play bass in a New Orleans band.


John form Pennsylvania showed up at our door unexpectedly the other night. He wound up getting a quick banjo workshop out on the front porch with Dear Old Dad, and even managed to catch the sunset at Janes Island before he was back on the road.

It really was a nice surprise visit!

He snapped this selfie with Dear Old Dad and myself before he hit the road. It was nice to get a copy. We have done a lot of slefie-style photographs with folks at workshops, but I hardly ever get a copy of the picture for myself!

selfie with Pat & Patrick

Janes Island sunset