About Phill Gibson

I’m from Huntsville, Alabama where I work as a Systems Engineer and part-time banjo and mandolin instructor. I’ve been playing various instruments since my teen years. I started mandolin at about age 17 and banjo at 20.

I love just about all kinds of music. In terms of banjo styles, I play Scruggs and melodic and am working on becoming more advanced with single string. I’m also working on 4-finger banjo, which is way off the beaten path. I would like to see more jazz techniques integrated into bluegrass situations; counterpoint, especially. So long-term, that’s what I’m doing.

I’m also very keen on astronomy, ATM (amateur telescope making), birding, christian homeschooling, martial arts, organic gardening and about 30 other distracting hobbies to a (mercifully) lesser extent.

Phill circa 1977

10 Responses to About Phill Gibson

  1. Tommy L. Arnold Jimmy Arnolds cousin says:

    Thanks for your comments. I started playing music with Jimmy when he first started.
    We started a group called the Twin County Partners. I play the mandolin. Jimmy was like a brother to me. I think he was the best all round musician I have ever known.

    • Phill Gibson says:

      Tommy!

      I’m glad to hear from you. You knew Jimmy while he was alive. He was and is still well-thought of in musical circles! I guess you remember how he could really make a banjo (and probably a guitar, too) come alive with such a different, but good-sounding style like he had. He would be a great teacher were he still alive today!

      Sorry for taking a while to reply to your post. I’m about to get started back posting again!

      Have a great day!

  2. Bruce Miller says:

    Phil , Grest blog , well done site . I have gone from 30 years of guitar to mandolin . Then about 10 years ago to Scruggs style playing . Reaized one day that this style was better suited to ensemble playing ,to thin sounding when playing solo . Five years ago taught myself Clawhammer better suited to for solo playing . I’am now interested
    in two finger style banjo after listening to some Roscoe Holcomb’s stuff . Which brings me to your blog about 2- finger style . It seems to me that your are describing two finger index lead , by where the index finger picks out the melody notes and the thumb continues to play the 5th string as a drone . I have been trying 2- finger thumb lead by where the thumb plays all the melody notes and the index finger plays the 1st string as a drone to confuse things more ! I can tell you Phil that there is so very little information out there . These two styles must be ancient and pre-date clawhammer . I have found one website with some tabs and MP3’s . The 2- finger style not only lends itself to solo playing but good for singing also . I thought this style would be very thin sounding with only two fingers but I’am surprised how full sounding it can be . I’am currently working on Prett Polly . Also these two finger style tunings can be very odd . Pretty Polly is tuned GDGA#D . thanks for listening . Bruce

    • Phill Gibson says:

      Hey Bruce,

      Thanks – glad you like my blog! Sorry for taking so long in replying (to everyone, actually)

      Yes, two-finger style is remarkably different from ‘regular’ clawhammer style. Most folks don’t realize this, mainly due to not having any exposure to it. It does indeed lend itself to solo playing. Not all bluegrass songs do that, although a good many can, if you play them a certain way. And it’s also a lot less steep of a learning curve to boot!

      Have a great day!

  3. Bob Reid says:

    Hi Phill,
    Are you still blogging? I would like to be able to open the links on your pages, but I get the message that the page cannot be found. Help. I would like to communicate with you more.
    Bob

    • Phill Gibson says:

      Hey Bob,
      Sorry to take a while in replying – yes, I am still alive, at least! I had to go find a new host for my blog as the former host decided to stop supporting WordPress. I need to go finish up debugging some of the posts, it sounds like.
      Anyway, thanks for the posting. I am about to get started back with blogging again – yeah!

  4. Marla says:


    Check out this little picker!

  5. Bruce Woodmansee says:

    Hey Phill,

    I’m thinking you should start up the old blog again. Maybe you can update us on how your 4 finger style is coming?

    • Phill Gibson says:

      Bruce, you’re exactly right. I actually have several posts already written. Lots more in my head and on scraps of paper. One nice thing about WordPress is you can write several blogs and then schedule when they will appear. Think I’ll start back with one per week; maybe Friday mornings at 6!

      Thanks for the inspiration!

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