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Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith
Ben Smith is the founder and editor of Oldtime Central. As an ethnomusicologist, applied anthropologist, luthier, and oldtime musician, he is particularly interested in nurturing the oldtime community worldwide.


Banging on the Hood: Fiddle lesson with Craig Judelman

In this video, Craig Judelman teaches a rockin' tune from the The Georgia Mudcats. It's a fun C tune with some quick A minors in there too, so it sounds a little different than many C tunes. Here's the...

We Came for the Fiddle Tunes, but Stayed for the Yodeling Cowboys: A Review of Texas Hillbillies

In his 1962 travelogue Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck reverently ascribes a religious mystique to the Lone Star State. “And this is true,” Steinbeck writes, “to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other...

Mike Burns: interview + tunes

I grew up north of Charleston, West Virginia in the small community of Mink Shoals, located on the Elk River.  Most of my time was spent running around the woods or fishing and swimming in the river.  The only music I was exposed...

So You Want to Learn the Mandolin: Online Resources for the Neophyte

The Mandolin was my first instrument.  I still remember how hard it was to learn music from scratch as a young adult, and I remember how long each individual tune took me to master.  I think most readers can remember learning Angeline...

Circle Bowing: fiddle lesson with Craig Judelman

This next video in the series on oldtime fiddle technique dives into circle bowing - a key component of what makes oldtime fiddling so unique and driving. By continuously playing one string and catching another on certain beats, circle bowing allows oldtime...