Banjo For Dummies book cover

Banjo For Dummies

By: Bill Evans Published: 10-20-2020

Here’s the quick way to get pickin’ with the best of ‘em 

The banjo is both a staple of old-time music and an instrument that makes frequent cameos in today’s chart toppers. Whatever your musical leanings, Banjo For Dummies will show you how to pick your way around your instrument, even if you have zero musical background! With a little practice—and the easy-to-follow instructions in this book—you can learn your way around the banjo, try out various musical styles, and discover what banjo culture is all about. 

Think of this For Dummies guide as your personal banjo tutor, as you learn how to buy, tune, hold, play, and have fun with your five-string. You can also go beyond the book with online video lessons and audio files that will get you picking even faster. Follow the guidance of respected banjo performer Bill Evans and soon you may find yourself jamming with a band or rubbing elbows with the pros at your local bluegrass festival.  

  • Learn the basics of banjo: how to strum chords, pick notes, and read tablature 
  • Add new styles to your repertoire, including clawhammer, three-finger styles, vamping, and classic banjo 
  • Play bluegrass music and learn how to network at festivals 
  • Choose the banjo and accessories that work for you, and discover how to keep them in good shape 

Banjo For Dummies is for anyone who want to learn to play the five-string banjo or brush up on banjo-playing skills. No experience required! 

Articles From Banjo For Dummies

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72 results
72 results
Banjo For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 01-31-2022

Knowing how to interpret chord diagrams and being able to read banjo tablature, the written form of music for the banjo, will pave the way for a much smoother road ahead on all of your banjo adventures. Becoming familiar with the most important chords and essential right-hand techniques will put you in the fast lane for having more fun playing music with others.

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How to Move the Cell Cursor in Excel 2013

Article / Updated 01-11-2021

To type in a cell in Excel 2013, you must first make it active by moving the cell cursor there. As shown earlier in the figure, the cell cursor is a thick green outline. You can move the cell cursor by pressing the arrow keys on the keyboard, by clicking the desired cell, or by using one of the Excel keyboard shortcuts. This table provides some of the most common keyboard shortcuts for moving the cell cursor. Movement Shortcuts Press This . . . To Move . . . Arrow keys One cell in the direction of the arrow Tab One cell to the right Shift+Tab One cell to the left Ctrl+arrow key To the edge of the current data region (the first or last cell that isn’t empty) in the direction of the arrow End To the cell in the lower-right corner of the window* Ctrl+End To the last cell in the worksheet, in the lowest used row of the rightmost used column Home To the beginning of the row containing the active cell Ctrl+Home To the beginning of the worksheet (cell A1) Page Down One screen down Alt+Page Down One screen to the right Ctrl+Page Down To the next sheet in the workbook Page Up One screen up Alt+Page Up One screen to the left Ctrl+Page Up To the previous sheet in the workbook * This works only when the Scroll Lock key has been pressed on your keyboard to turn on the Scroll Lock function. Here is an exercise to help you learn to move the cell cursor in a worksheet. From any blank worksheet, such as the one from the preceding section, click cell C3 to move the cell cursor there. Press the right-arrow key to move to cell D3 and then press the down-arrow key to move to cell D4. Press the Home key to move to cell A4. Pressing Home moves the cursor to the beginning of the current row, which in this case, is row 4. Press the Page Down key. The cell cursor moves to a cell that is one screenful down from the preceding position. Depending on the window size and screen resolution, the exact cell varies, but you are still in column A. Use the vertical scroll bar to scroll the display up so that cell A1 is visible. Notice that the cell cursor does not move while you scroll. The Name box still displays the name of the cell you moved to previously. Press Ctrl+Home to move to cell A1.

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How to Print Worksheets in Excel 2013

Article / Updated 01-11-2021

You can print your work in Excel 2013 on paper to share with people who may not have computer access or to pass out as handouts at meetings and events. You can print the quick-and-easy way with the default settings or customize the settings to fit your needs. By default, when you print Excel prints the entire active worksheet — that is, whichever worksheet is displayed or selected at the moment. But Excel also gives you other printing options: Print multiple worksheets: If more than one worksheet is selected (for example, if you have more than one worksheet tab selected at the bottom of the Excel window), all selected worksheets are included in the printed version. As an alternative, you can print all the worksheets in the workbook. To select more than one worksheet, hold down the Ctrl key as you click the tabs of the sheets you want. Print selected cells or ranges: You can choose to print only selected cells, or you can define a print range and print only that range (regardless of what cells happen to be selected). In Excel 2013, Print Preview is built into Backstage view, so you see a preview of the printout at the same place where you change the print settings. Choose File→Print. The Print settings appear, along with a preview of the printout. In the Copies box, click the up-increment arrow to change the value to 2. Click the Print button to send the job to the printer.

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Insert and Delete Rows and Columns in Excel 2013

Article / Updated 01-11-2021

Excel 2013 makes it easy to insert and delete rows and columns to deal with many kinds of changes. Even if you’re a careful planner, you’ll likely decide that you want to change your worksheet’s structure. Maybe you want data in a different column, or certain rows turn out to be unnecessary. When you insert a new row or column, the existing ones move to make room for it. You can insert multiple rows or columns at once by selecting multiple ones before issuing the Insert command. (There’s no limit on the number you can insert at once!) Similarly, you can delete multiple rows or columns by selecting them before using the Delete command. In the following exercise, you learn how to insert and delete rows and columns. Open the file and click anywhere in column A. On the Home tab, click the down arrow on the Insert button and choose Insert Sheet Columns, as shown in this figure. A new column is placed to the left of the selected column. Click the column header for column A to select the entire column and then choose Home→Delete. The entire column is deleted. Select rows 7 and 8 by dragging across their row headers and then choose Home→Insert. Two new rows are inserted. Click any cell in row 7; then, from the Home tab, click the down arrow on the Delete button and choose Delete Sheet Rows. The figure shows the worksheet after the insertions and deletions.

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How to Select Ranges in Excel 2013

Article / Updated 01-11-2021

Range names in Excel 2013 are written with the upper-left cell address, a colon, and the lower-right cell address, as in the example A1:F3. Here A1:F3 means the range that begins in the upper-left corner with A1 and ends in the lower-right corner with F3. When a range contains noncontiguous cells, the pieces are separated by commas, like this: B8:C14,D8:G14. The range name B8:C14,D8:G14 tells Excel to select the range from B8 through C14, plus the range from D8 through G14. You might sometimes want to select a multi-cell range before you issue a command. For example, if you want to format all the text in a range a certain way, select that range and then issue the formatting command. Technically, a range can consist of a single cell; however, a range most commonly consists of multiple cells. A range is usually contiguous, or all the cells are in a single rectangular block, but they don't have to be. You can also select noncontiguous cells in a range by holding down the Ctrl key while you select additional cells. You can select a range by using either the keyboard or the mouse. This table provides some of the most common range selection shortcuts. Range Selection Shortcuts Press This . . . To Extend the Selection To . . . Ctrl+Shift+arrow key The last nonblank cell in the same column or row as the active cell; or if the next cell is blank, to the next nonblank cell Ctrl+Shift+End The last used cell on the worksheet (lower-right corner of the range containing data) Ctrl+Shift+Home The beginning of the worksheet (cell A1) Ctrl+Shift+Page Down The current and next sheet in the workbook Ctrl+Shift+Page Up The current and previous sheet in the workbook Ctrl+spacebar The entire column where the active cell is located Shift+spacebar The entire row where the active cell is located Ctrl+A The entire worksheet Here is an exercise which will help you learn to practice selecting ranges. On any blank worksheet, click cell B2 to move the cell cursor there. While holding down the Shift key, press the right-arrow key twice and the down-arrow key twice, extending the selection to the range B2:D4. (See the figure.) The row and column headers turn bold when cells within them are selected. Hold down the Ctrl key and click cell E2 to add only that cell to the selected range. While still holding down the Ctrl key, hold down the left mouse button and drag from cell E2 to cell E8 so that the range is B2:D4,E2:E8, as shown. Notice that the active cell is E2. Its name appears in the Name box, and the selection box appears around the cell in the figure. That's because cell E2 is the cell you most recently clicked — the starting point of the most recent addition to the range. This points out the difference between the active cell and a multi-cell range. When you type text, it goes into the active cell only. When you apply formatting or some other command, it applies to all the cells in the selected range. Hold down the Ctrl key and click row 10’s row header (the number 10 at the left edge of the row) to add that entire row to the selected range. Hold down the Ctrl key and click column G’s column header (the letter G at the top of the column) to add that entire column to the selected range. Your selection should look like this. Click any cell to cancel the range selection. Only that cell you clicked is selected. Click in cell C4 and then press Ctrl+spacebar to select the entire column and then click any cell to cancel the range selection. Click in cell C4 again and press Shift+spacebar to select the entire row. Click the Select All button (labeled in the figure) in the upper-left corner of the spreadsheet grid — where the row numbers and the column letters intersect — to select the entire worksheet, as shown. Instead of clicking the Select All button, you can press Ctrl+Shift+spacebar or Ctrl+A. Click any cell to cancel the range selection.

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How to Edit Cell Content in Excel 2013

Article / Updated 01-11-2021

You can edit the content of a cell in an Excel 2013 worksheet either in the cell itself or in the Formula bar. If you need to edit the content in a cell, you can Click the cell to select it, and then click the cell again to move the insertion point into it. Edit just as you would in any text program. Click the cell to select it and then type a new entry to replace the old one. If you decide you don’t want the text you typed in a particular cell, you can get rid of it in several ways: Select the cell; then right-click the cell and choose Clear Contents from the menu that appears. Select the cell; then choose Home→Clear→Clear Contents. Select the cell, press the spacebar, and then press Enter. This technically doesn’t clear the cell’s content, but it replaces it with a space. Select the cell and press the Delete key. Don’t confuse the Delete key on the keyboard (which issues the Clear command) with the Delete command on the Ribbon. The Delete command doesn't clear the cell content; instead, it removes the entire cell. And, don’t confuse Clear with Cut, either. The Cut command works in conjunction with the Clipboard. Cut moves the content to the Clipboard, and you can then paste it somewhere else. Excel, however, differs from other applications in the way this command works: Using Cut doesn’t immediately remove the content. Instead, Excel puts a flashing dotted box around the content and waits for you to reposition the cell cursor and issue the Paste command. If you do something else in the interim, the cut-and-paste operation is canceled, and the content that you cut remains in its original location.

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How to Insert and Delete Cells and Ranges

Article / Updated 01-11-2021

In Excel 2013, you can insert and delete individual cells or even ranges that don’t neatly correspond to entire rows or columns. When you do so, the surrounding cells shift. In the case of an insertion, cells move down or to the right of the area where the new cells are being inserted. In the case of a deletion, cells move up or to the left to fill in the voided space. Deleting a cell is different from clearing a cell’s content, and this becomes apparent when you start working with individual cells and ranges. When you clear the content, the cell itself remains. When you delete the cell itself, the adjacent cells shift. When shifting cells, Excel is smart enough that it tries to guess which direction you want existing content to move when you insert or delete cells. If you have content immediately to the right of a deleted cell, for example, Excel shifts it left. If you have content immediately below the deleted cell, Excel shifts it up. You can still override that, though, as needed. In the following exercise, you insert and delete cells. In the Lesson 5 Mortgage file from the preceding exercise, select A1:A6 and then choose Home→Delete. Excel guesses that you want to move the existing content to the left, and it does so. Click cell A1, and choose Home→Insert. Excel guesses that you want to move the existing content down, which is incorrect. The content in column B is off by one row, as shown in this figure. Press Ctrl+Z to undo the insertion; then from the Home tab, click the down arrow to the right of the Insert button and choose Insert Cells. The Insert dialog box opens, as shown. Select Shift Cells Right and then click OK. A new cell A1 is inserted, and the previous A1 content moves into B1. Save the changes to the workbook.

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Tour the Excel 2013 Interface

Article / Updated 01-11-2021

Excel 2013 is very much like Word and other Office applications. Excel has a File tab that opens a Backstage view, a Ribbon with multiple tabs that contain commands you can click to execute, a Quick Access toolbar, a status bar, scroll bars, and a Zoom slider. This figure provides a quick overview. These instructions walk you through the Excel interface and show you how to move around. After you get your bearings in Excel, you’re ready to start creating worksheets. The best way to learn about a new application is to jump in and start exploring. Work through this exercise to see how Excel is set up. Starting out with some basic terminology is a good idea. A spreadsheet is a grid composed of rows and columns. At the intersection of each row and column is a cell. You can type text, numbers, and formulas into cells to build your spreadsheet. In Excel, spreadsheets are dubbed worksheets or just sheets. Worksheets are stored in data files, or workbooks, and each workbook can contain multiple worksheets. Worksheet tabs at the bottom of a workbook window enable you to switch quickly between worksheets. Start Excel 2013 from the Start screen (Windows 8) or Start menu (Windows 7). You might want to pin the Excel 2013 tile to the taskbar in Windows 8 to save yourself some time in opening it. Right-click the Excel 2013 tile on the Start screen and then click Pin to Taskbar in the command bar that appears at the bottom of the screen. From that point on, you can start Excel by clicking the Excel icon on the taskbar from the desktop. This trick works with all the Office apps, by the way. An opening screen appears, as shown, providing shortcuts to recently used workbook files and thumbnails of some available templates. One of the templates is Blank Workbook. Click the Blank Workbook thumbnail image to start a new blank workbook. Alternatively, you can also press the Esc key to go to a new blank workbook from the opening screen. A new workbook appears. Click the File tab to open Backstage view and then click Info. Information about the active document appears, as shown in this figure. Click the Back arrow, or press the Esc key, to return to the new blank workbook. (See this figure.) The Back arrow is the left-pointing arrow in the upper-left corner. This figure shows a basic worksheet in Excel. Notice that each row has a unique number, and each column has a unique letter. The combination of a letter and a number forms a cell address. The letter comes first. For example, the cell in the upper-left corner is A1. When you type something in Excel, your typing is entered into the active cell, which features the cell cursor, or a thick green outline. The active cell’s name appears in the Name box. Click the View tab on the Ribbon, and then click the Zoom button so that the Zoom dialog box opens. (See the figure.) Select 200% and then click OK. The dialog box closes, and the magnification changes to show each cell in a more close-up view. At the bottom-right corner of the Excel window, drag the Zoom slider left to 100%, changing the zoom back to its original setting. (See the figure.)

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Move and Copy Formulas in Excel 2013

Article / Updated 01-11-2021

In Excel 2013 you can move and copy text and numbers between cells, but when it comes to copying formulas, beware of a few gotchas. The following sections explain relative and absolute referencing in formulas and how you can use them to get the results you want when you copy. Copy formulas with relative referencing When you move or copy a formula, Excel automatically changes the cell references to work with the new location. That’s because, by default, cell references in formulas are relative references. For example, in this figure, suppose you wanted to copy the formula from B5 into C5. The new formula in C5 should refer to values in column C, not to column B; otherwise the formula wouldn’t make much sense. So, when B5’s formula is copied to C5, it becomes =C3+C4 there. A relative reference is a cell reference that changes if copied to another cell. Copy formulas with absolute referencing You might not always want the cell references in a formula to change when you move or copy it. In other words, you want an absolute reference to that cell. To make a reference absolute, you add dollar signs before the column letter and before the row number. So, for example, an absolute reference to cell C1 would be =$C$1. An absolute reference is a cell reference that doesn’t change when copied to another cell. You can mix relative and absolute references in the same formula. When you do, the result is a mixed reference. If you want to lock down only one dimension of the cell reference, you can place a dollar sign before only the column or only the row. For example, =$C1 would make only the column letter fixed, and =C$1 would make only the row number fixed.

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How to Use Functions in Excel 2013

Article / Updated 01-11-2021

Functions in Excel 2013 perform complex math operations on cell content. Here is how you can insert a function in a cell, and a list of some common, useful functions. Inserting a function in a cell Typing a function and its arguments directly into a cell works fine if you happen to know the function you want and its arguments. Many times, though, you may not know these details. In those cases, the Insert Function feature can help you. Insert Function enables you to pick a function from a list based on descriptive keywords. After you make your selection, it provides fill-in-the-blank prompts for the arguments. In your spreadsheet, click on a cell and choose Formulas→Insert Function. The Insert Function dialog box opens. In the Search for a Function box, delete the placeholder text, type average, and click the Go button. A list of all the functions that has something to do with averages appears, as shown. From the Select a Function list, select Average and click OK. The Function Arguments dialog box opens. Press Enter or click the Expand Dialog button to return to the Function Arguments dialog box (shown here) and then click OK. The function enters into the cell with the result. Touring some basic functions Excel has hundreds of functions, but most of them are very specialized. The basic set that the average user works with is much more manageable. Start with the simplest functions of them all — those without arguments. Two prime examples are NOW: Reports the current date and time. TODAY: Reports the current date. Even though neither uses any arguments, you still have to include the parentheses, so they look like this: =NOW( ) =TODAY( ) Another basic kind of function performs a single, simple math operation and has a single argument that specifies what cell or range it operates on. This table summarizes some important functions that work this way. Simple One-Argument Functions Function What It Does Example SUM Sums the values in a range of cells =SUM(A1:A10) AVERAGE Averages the values in a range of cells =AVERAGE(A1:A10) MIN Provides the smallest number in a range of cells =MIN(A1:A10) MAX Provides the largest number in a range of cells =MAX(A1:A10) COUNT Counts the number of cells that contain numeric values in the range =COUNT(A1:A10) COUNTA Counts the number of non-empty cells in the range =COUNTA(A1:A10) COUNTBLANK Counts the number of empty cells in the range =COUNTBLANK(A1:A10)

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