Unfortunate Puppy DVD

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($24.95 + S&H):

(Orders handled by Open Lens Productions, the DVD's producer.)
Unfortunate Puppy and Other Fine Tunes: Lessons in Intermediate & Advanced Clawhammer Banjo (Mel Bay 22208DVD) teaches ten classic fiddle tunes arranged for clawhammer banjo, as well as tools and techniques to help you create your own arrangements. 133 minutes.

Tabs are available for the DVD. If you've bought the DVD, email me and I'll get them to you.

Hunter Robertson begins each tune with a brief introduction and then presents each one in four different stages to help you learn it easily. First, Hunter plays the tune at full speed. Next, he breaks it down, with verbal instruction. The tune is then slowed to half speed so that you can easily follow the right and left hand finger positions, which are shown with a split screen throughout. Finally, the tune is played at a medium tempo for you to practice along with.

The DVD also includes a video of Hunter demonstrating right and left hand techniques and a detailed 26 page PDF booklet with notes on the tunes, general technical information, and thoughts on learning, playing, and arranging for the banjo. Note: The PDF booklet is a digital file on the disc itself which can be read with "Adobe Reader", a free program.

Lonesome John from John Salyer
Candy Girl from Uncle Bunt Stephens
Boatin’ Up Sandy from Wilson Douglas
Cripple Creek from Hobart Smith
Unfortunate Puppy from Elmo Newcomer
Ducks on the Millpond from Emmett Lundy
Raleigh & Spencer from Tommy Jarrell
Bonaparte’s Retreat from William Stepp
Leather Britches from John Salyer
Ft. Smith Breakdown from Luke Highnight’s Ozark Strutters

A brief look at 2 and 3-finger picking.
A full-length performance video of the song “Raleigh & Spencer”.

16:9 Widescreen Video - NTSC - Region ALL (similar to 0, will play in any region) - 133 Minutes


  • This DVD sets a new standard for banjo instructional material, and I can’t imagine any clawhammer player who couldn’t pick up a few things while watching it.” – John Walkenbach, Banjo Newsletter
  • “…That said, this is the best instructional video I’ve ever seen. It is well worth your money and more importantly, it is well worth your time.” – Tony Spadaro, aka Old Woodchuck, from Rocket Science Banjo
  • This is an excellent DVD and should immensely please those who are interested in the style, who’ll find not only beautiful versions of fiddle tunes but also ideas for arranging pieces of their own choice.” – Claude Vue, Trad Magazine
  • This DVD stands among the best out there for learning more about the old-time banjo styles.”Bluegrass Unlimited
  • …excellent new instructional dvd by Hunter Robertson that teaches 10 banjo arrangements of fiddle tunes in the clawhammer style.” – Gadaya from Cornbread, Molasses & Sassafras Tea
  • The clawhammer style may seem clumsy and primitive, here it becomes clear how subtle and elaborate it can be… Working one’s way through these music lessons will cost some considerable effort, but in the end one surely will have learned something.” – Eberhard Finke, No Fences/Bluegrass Bühne Magazine

What some users have had to say:

Diggin’ it, Hunter. Great set of tunes, fine versions of them, and I like this form of instruction. The package is packed (!) so I haven’t gotten through it all, but I recommend it highly (and will pitch it to my students as well). – T.I.

The lessons are wonderfully presented. The half-speed videos are great because they provide a more realistic view of the fingers in motion than when one simply plays deliberately slow. I hope many people take advantage of this most enlightening project. There’s much to learn. – R.M.

I got it yesterday but only got the chance to look at it this afternoon. I thought there’s no way I’ll ever be able to learn anything from this. Half an hour later I had learnt the first half of Lonesome John… It’s wonderful. Thank you. – S.D.

Got the DVD yesterday and spent some hours with it. May well be the best old time banjo instructional film since Mike Seeger’s Southern Banjo Styles series. Hunter’s playing is inspiring, the presentation is very clear, the choice of material is good, and I appreciate the way in which he continually refers the viewer back to the original recordings of the versions he’s playing. – S.L.

It’s really well presented, professionally made and very entertaining. Most importantly, the tunes are excellent, and even the ones I know have enough variation and interest to make me want to learn them again. – M.R.

I‘ve only been playing 15 months but found I could follow it easily. It’s by far the best video tutor I’ve come across, really clear camera views and great collection of tunes. 1st class! – N.C.

What an awesome job you did on this project! This is by far the best instructional material I have seen. Just Awesome! – J.Y.