Inspirational videos for uke-beginners! John Simmance, 82, shows his progress and gives tips as he learns to play the George Formby strum on banjolele over 4 months – and sing at the same time!

Please note: If you want to contact John Simmance or leave a comment on his videos, you need to visit John’s channel on YouTube:

First Efforts at Learning the George Formby Banjolele Strum – after 3 weeks practice

John Simmance played the banjolele his father gave him in 1947, always wanted to learn the Formby style of playing, but didn’t know how! Now, thanks to the Internet, and several excellent players who have made instructional videos, he knows HOW! So now, at nearly 82, after many years of being out of practice, he bought a Gold Tone banjolele and now he is practicing until his fingers are sore! After three weeks, he is beginning to get the basic Formby “Split Stroke” and struggles with the “Triple”.

But to encourage other old men to try something new, and to show that an old CAN learn new tricks – or at least begin to – he offers this video!

Next Efforts at Learning the George Formby strums – after 6 weeks practice

This is a continuation of my video “My First Efforts at Learning the George Formby strums” showing the progress I made in three more weeks of practice on my banjolele! Old men! Don’t stop trying to do something new!

My Final George Formby strum efforts! – after 9 weeks practice

This is the third and last video recording my efforts at learning the difficult George Formby strumming techniques on the banjolele! The first was made after I had been practicing for three weeks, the second followed after six weeks, and this last one covers my progress after a total of nine weeks.
The message behind them all is directed at old ment like me: the fairy tale that old dogs can’t learn new tricks is just NOT TRUE! So: old men, if you wan’t to try something new, don’t listen to the opposition of others (or your own doubts) and just DO IT! You’ll be glad you tried.

My banjolele progress after four months practice!

A short record of my progress learning the George Formby strumming techniques on the banjolele, four months after I started.

Spiffing interview with Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer on “Ukulele Porn”

Brilliant showmanship from the inestimable Mr B! Do hope he makes it to Newcastle again soon. It’s enough to make one consider taking up the banjolele, and that’s saying something!

Check out this video:

“The first installment of Chap-Hop superstar Mr.B the Gentleman Rhymer’s ‘Histories’ series. The history of hip-hop. In five minutes. On the banjolele. Chap-Hop hoorah!”

Amplify’d from
June 30th, 2010

An interview with Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer

Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer - interview with ukulele porn
I had the rather fortunate pleasure  of interviewing Chap-Hop pioneer Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer.  For those of you not familiar, he’s a B-Boy banjolele playing gentleman who has a taste for the finer things in life.
Tell me about Chap-Hop.

With Chap-Hop I am reconnecting Hip-Hop to the queen’s English and manners.

Why did you choose the banjolele?

The banjolele has a more abrasive, more amusing sound than the uke, more suitable for funky licks and what-not.

What tips do you have for all the wannabe Ladies and Gentleman reading this?

Just take a look at yourself in the miror for a second or two longer than you usually would and ask yourself ‘should I really be wearing this sweatshirt?’. Then buy a pipe and a ukulele. The only advice I have for the ladies is come and see my next show!

Any favourite ukulele/banjolele songs?

Lust For Life by Iggy Pop was written by David Bowie on a ukulele. That turned out ok.