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Introduction to Mickey Cochran's Online Banjo Lessons

Edited by Paul Race for Creek Don't Rise?

Mickey Cochran with banjo, taken from the back cover of his video products. Mitchell "Mickey" Cochran (1955-2011) loved acoustic instruments and traditional music so much that he spent countless hours creating free online lessons for 5-string banjo and other instruments. He also sold DVDs of his lessons and dabbled in musical instrument sales, trying to make superior-quality instruments available to people who would otherwise have had no access at all (something that is still a problem, and the reason I started the buyers' guides at Riverboat Music).

Several years before his death, Mikey transferred his web sites and product line to another person, who took down the free lessons, but did not apparently make enough money from the DVDs, etc., to justify all the time and expense to keep the sites going. At the moment, Mickey's most popular site name "" is still being registered by somebody, but it doesn't seem to link to anything, and the domain name ownership is hidden behind a proxy.

The folk community has been mourning the loss of Mickey since 2011. They have been mourning the loss of his online materials even longer. We have attempted to contact family members and the current owner of the domain name for permission to repost some of Mickey's most popular free materials online (still free to readers). So far no one seems to have strong opinions about it one way or the other, but we're trying to make certain we get/keep everyone in the loop we can.

Regarding Mickey's 1999-2004 materials, Mickey did very well, but he used tools and coding standards that are no longer supported. Still, we hope that experimenting with a few lessons will let us see how practical or impractical this attempt will be.

Note for Heirs of Mickey Cochran - If this comes to your attention, PLEASE contact us immediately. We would be glad to transfer any materials we have restored to your control, or to cease and desist, or to follow any other reasonable course of action that is your preference. In the meantime, we are posting a few lessons to see if there is still interest in Mickey's materials among the folk community.

For everyone else, please let us know what you think of this effort.

In Mickey's words:

Following is a compilation of lessons on 5-string banjo. We will divide the lessons into two categories: Beginner and Advanced. Our first lessons listed here are in the Beginner category. These lessons focus on basic three-finger styles which is the foundation for bluegrass banjo...and can be used for many other approaches to 5-string banjo including: classical, ragtime, jazz and rock.

Beginner to Advanced 5-String Banjo Lessons

  • How to Read Tablature for 5-String Banjo
  • Lesson 1a: How to Hold a 5-string Banjo
  • Lesson 1b: How to Tune a 5-string Banjo
  • Lesson 1c: Right-Hand Positioning
  • Lesson 1d: Basic Chording Techniques
  • Lesson 1e: Your First Chord Progression
  • Lesson 1f: Your Second Chord Progression
  • Lesson 2a: Forward rolls
  • Lesson 2b: Forward rolls with chords
  • Lesson 3a: Alternating Rolls
  • Lesson 3b: Alternating Rolls with Chords
  • Lesson 4a: Forward/Reverse Rolls
  • Lesson 4b: Forward/Reverse Rolls with Chords
  • Lesson 5a: Reverse Rolls
  • Lesson 5b: Reverse Rolls with Chords
  • Lesson 6: Adding A Melody
  • Lesson 7: Starting with the Basic Melody
  • Lesson 8: Key of C Scale Studies
  • More to come . . . .
    Copyright ?1999-2004 Mickey Cochran

  • Conclusion

    Mickey's instructions are as valid today as when he wrote and recorded them years ago. Here's hoping that you find them just as helpful as his original followers did back when he was interacting on a daily basis with his them.

    Please contact us if you're hitting any brick walls and we'll try to help you get therough them.

    Best of luck, all, enjoy your music, and support the arts.

    Paul Race

    And when you're ready to move on, click here to go Mickey's next page - "How to Read Tablature for 5-String Banjo"

    Click to visit the CreekDontRise Discussion Forums
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    Click to see's tips for buying 'backless' banjos.

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    All text and any illustrations and/or videos within the white box above are copyright 1999-2004 by Mitchell Cochran. All other materials, illustrations, and content on this web page, including the text reformatting and illustration restoration within the white box are copyrighted ? 2016 by Paul D. Race. All rights reserved.
    Creek Dont' Rise(tm) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising
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    For questions, comments, suggestions, trouble reports, etc. about this page or this site, please contact us.

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