Ross Nickerson has recorded with some of the top names in Bluegrass music. He was recently released on a compilation CD called Ultimate Banjo that included banjo legends, Earl Scruggs and Sonny Osborne. Ross recently appeared on stage with The Riders in the Sky and The Oak Ridge Boys and has picked with and appeared with many of the best banjo players in the world including Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck and Ralph Stanley. Ross’s CD Blazing the West has won many awards including being named by Country Music Television as one of the top ten CDs to pick up. Ross's newest CD is called Let's Kick It that features hard driving traditional Bluegrass Banjo with Ross’s own personal touch. Accompanying Ross on the CD are members of the well known Bluegrass Band "Blue Highway"
Ross Nickerson is the author of the top selling banjo book, The Banjo Encyclopedia “Bluegrass Banjo from A to Z” He has also written and recorded over 20 other Books and DVDs designed to help banjo students save time and learn the fun of playing 5-string banjo easier.
Ross Nickerson has always enjoyed sharing his knowledge and helping others to learn to play the banjo. His many years of experience teaching privately and traveling the world to hold group workshops has helped him gain many unique insights into the common obstacles facing banjo students today. He has listened to his students, seen the challenges they face, understands what students are craving for and always delivers his practical, focused instruction in a personable and easy to follow manner.
Ross has been selected as a faculty member for many prestigious bluegrass and banjo camps and is the founder and coordinator of the Nova Scotia Banjo Camp and the annual BanjoTeacher.com Banjo Cruise.
Pictures from Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival, Ireland
The Resnick Ross Nickerson Signature Model Resonator Banjos at BanjoTeacher.com.
Check out the videos
Picture of Ross and his two children, Theo and Jackson Nickerson
Theo is an attorney for the US Dept Of Justice, Office of Immigration and Jackson is an Air traffic Controller in the US Air Force
Ross Nickerson with Bill Keith and Ian Perry at the Nova Scotia Banjo Camp -2006
Ross N in Tucson, AZ - 2005
I performed at the Athy Bluegrass Festival in Ireland. Clem O'Brien Guitar. (update, Clem just joined the band The Chieftans") Niall Toner Mandolin. Going to see those guys at the 3rd Annual Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Ireland. September 23rd-25th, they are on the bill too.
Jackson with his new car in Germany, he likes the autobahn...too much. My daughter Theo, Bones and me.
Come to a workshop and meet my dog "Bones"
Bones is the greatest dog! Great traveling buddy! Smart little bugger he is! Very polite to the banjo students too.
This was a "few" years ago.
Group Picture from the Banjo Cruise I put on every year. It took some courage to get this event started but it was a success! It can only get better from here. Check out the Banjo Cruise and itinerary we have for this year.
The Banjo School In Catonsville, MD is where I used to give private lessons. I've since moved to Florida and am traveling more holding workshops. The number in the picture on the sign is not current, call 866-322-6567
My Daughter Theo and I went to Niagara Falls. Bones too!
With banjo legend Butch Robbins of Bill Monroe fame.
From Nova Scotia Banjo Camp
Ian Perry, Bill Keith, Ross Nickerson
Picking with Danny Barnes at Calgary Folk Festival.
Picking with Bill Keith, Butch Robbins, James McKinney, Larry McNeely, Doug Dillard and camp director Jack Hatfield.
THE BANJO GAZETTE
Interview with Ross Nickerson
by Phil Morley
As I was so impressed with Ross's CD I had to get an interview with him. So I wrote and sent him a copy of BG with his CD review in it. Ross kindly sent back this interview plus a tab for San Antonio Rose. This tune is one taken from Ross's CD and if you haven't gotten it yet. I suggest you do it's fantastic.
BG. When did you start to get interested in the banjo?
RN. My best friend in High School played the guitar and he encouraged me to buy a used one. I really got interested after I went to the Union Grove Fiddlers' Convention in North Carolina.
BG. At what age did you start playing?
RN. I was 16 or 17 when I began playing.
BG. Who were your main influences?
RN. I was influenced and inspired early on by the Will The Circle Be Unbroken album which included Earl Scruggs and John MCuen. I thank all the great players and publications that have made tab available to learn from.
BG. What was your first banjo and what is now your current banjo?
RN. The first banjo I had was a Kay. I've had a variety of other banjos including Mastertones, and a Stelling. I now play a Goldstar. I call it the Masterclone. I also have a Deering Crossfire that Derring made custom for me.
BG. Did you play in bands as you were developing your style?
RN. I was in a band after only playing the banjo for nine months. Playing with others helped me progress more than anything. Also I practiced a lot in the first year.
BG. What style would you say mostly ( Scruggs, melodic, etc..?
RN. I play a mixture of Scruggs, melodic, and single string. I use whatever technique best fits the material I'm playing.
BG. What gauge strings do you use?
RN. I use 11,12,13,20,11.
BG. What height bridge do you use and type of action?
RN. 11/16 or 3/4.
BG. What gauge finger picks do you use?
RN. I use shelor picks with the cobalt coating from Bob Perry and a variety of thumbpicks. I cut down the blade and cut the lip that wraps around the thumb back so it won't catch in the strings.
BG. How many hours of practice do you do?
RN. When I first started, I practiced about four hours a day. Now I practice on an as need basis. For instance, if I have an upcoming gig or recording session I practice specifically for that.
BG. What advice would you give someone who is starting out?
RN. Practice a lot. The banjo masters credited with developing a style named after them such as Keith, Crowe Adcock, Fleck etc. are all quoted as practicing 8 or more hours a day.
BG. Do you listen to other forms of music other than bluegrass?
RN. I grew up on a normal diet of Rock and Roll. I got drawn into a love of bluegrass through my interest in the banjo. I've been able to use the many influences I have in different band situations I've been in.
BG. Do you play any other instruments?
RN. I play electric guitar and some Dobro but banjo is my main instrument.
BG. Do you read music notation or do you play from feel.
RN. I started with a little tab, by tape and sharing licks. Then I learned a lot from tab. Now I play mostly by ear.You can also check out some instruction articles that he wrote for the Ibluegrass web magazine or check out the story on the adventure of picking with Earl Scruggs.