Allen Bates


Required Skills: Participants should have a basic ability to play and tune their instrument.
In this class we’ll focus on good solid basics, helping you get off to a great start. We’ll tackle effective practice techniques, working with tablature, use of finger picks, tuning basics, the use of capos, timing and rhythm, tips and tricks for tackling tough chords, and learning how to build speed. We’ll learn many of the common rolls that most banjo pickers use. We’ll also begin a focus of learning our banjo necks well, and we’ll tackle a beginner-level song together.

Required Skills: An appropriate knowledge of the genre and ability to play tunes at a medium pace.
In this class we’ll assume that the students can play a few songs from beginning to end. We’ll focus on playing those songs in a group setting, including some jam session tips and tricks. We’ll discuss how to build a lead to a song from scratch. We’ll learn about the Nashville Numbering System and how this can help us play in several keys without the capo. We’ll focus on learning our banjo necks well, and we’ll learn a song together in class. We’ll also tackle many prominent Scruggs licks that you hear so many pickers use when they perform.

BLUEGRASS BAND CLASS – Open to All Levels – Required Skills: None
Form your own Bluegrass Band with guidance from members of our Bluegrass Staff!


Allen Bates is an accomplished musician and teacher located in the Kalamazoo, Michigan area.  Bates started on the banjo when he was 17, adding the guitar, dobro, mandolin, pedal steel, ukulele, and slide guitar to his repertoire.  Over the last 30 years Bates has performed with numerous Bluegrass, Country, Blues, Rock, Honky Tonk, and Americana bands in Michigan and North Carolina.  Bates currently gives lessons in banjo, dobro, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar, lap steel, slide guitar, and ukulele.

Earl Scruggs, Jerry Douglas, Duane Allman, Sonny Landreth, Derek Trucks, Campbell Brothers, Tony Rice | Allen Bates on Facebook 

June MAD Week Home Page