Over the course of a year or so, I added polls to my website www.fretmentor.com, for readers to vote on who they believe is the best banjo, guitar or mandolin player of all-time. Of course, some of these polls had to be categorized according to a particular genre of music (jazz, blues, bluegrass) and style (fingerstyle, flatpicking). I also added a category, entitled “Other”, because despite all the thought that went into the process, I may have left someone significant out of each poll.
Sure enough, I noticed that banjoist Jens Kruger, was inadvertently left out of the banjo poll. That was quite an oversight on my part, since I have to consider Jens Kruger one of the best banjo players in the world today. This is especially true after seeing his latest performance (see an earlier blog “Kruger Brothers Come to Palm Beach”). Sorry Jens.
The problem with polls is that a participant (voter) does not have an opportunity to clarify why he or she voted a specific way. If you are a mandolin player, for instance, you have to consider Bill Monroe one of the greatest of all-time. However, maybe today you have three other mandolin players who are at the top of your list. In any event, that shouldn’t diminish your prior admiration of Mr. Monroe.
Another problem with polls is that a voter may forget about the great contributors and innovators of the past. Many of you know who Eric Clapton or BB King are today but fewer may be familiar with Robert Johnson or Muddy Waters, the pioneers who may have influenced such modern artists. So people tend to vote for the performer for which they are most familiar. This is one reason why my website continues to expand on a historical overview of some of these great performers. Music has a history that is not only relevant but essential to developing current and future performers of these instruments.
So, here is an opportunity for you to not only vote but to also express who your favorite banjo, guitar and mandolin players are and why? I encourage you to add your comments to this blog. You can reference the history and polls listed at www.fretmentor.com. and vote in these polls if you haven’t already done so. Most importantly, give us your comments and help to engage others to share their opinions and thoughts as well .