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Had I attended Pete's Beginners Camp then instead of taken lessons with tablature I am certain that I would have stuck with it and been miles ahead of where I am today. 

-- S.F.


I can't tell you how much you stretched my boundaries in the basic camp but it really helped focus me an gave me a kick in the pants.
-- M.J., Basic Banjo 11


I really had a great time and learned a lot at the camp.  I have been practicing everyday and seem to have made huge steps in improvement in many ways.

-- M.M., Denver, CO, Int 11


the camp was more rewarding than I ever thought it could be ... owing to Pete's dedication to task ... and the tremendous group of cool guys he had to work with

-- R.W. IL, ADV 11


Pete, you are the most dedicated, hard-working banjo teacher I have encountered - it was a treat to be in your workshop.

-- R.D., ADV 11


I can't thank you enough for your expertise and wonderful teaching skills!    You've helped me "see the light", it was a (banjo) life-changing experience! My banjo playing is gunna rock!

-- A.H., Maryland, ADV 11


Great camp and a great value.  If you have the need you could easily raise your price and not lose students!

Your process works. I showed my wife how by creating a solo for I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY and got a pretty good one in less

than 24 hours- tape, chords, singing, melody and rolls.  It hasn't been played in front of people yet, but it will.

-- R.M., AZ, Basic 11


I just wanted to let you know that the camp last week was awesome. I can't think of anything I would change. It was a Life Changing Experience for me almost like being Born Again.  I have been banging my head against closed doors for years, but  now I have found one open.  It's like this is what I am supposed to do with my life, what I have been searching for, for a long time.

-- T.N., Basic CO 11


It was a great day and we played two sets of 45 min ea.  I think I took a break on all but two songs.  I did what you suggested (finding the melody notes to match the lead singer) and worked up a few really good breaks.  I was nervous, but after the show I had about 4 folks come up to me and said how much they liked my playing.  That was the best part.  I have to thank you for all you have taught me over the years and the encouragement to actually believe I could play in front of people.  Plus....I made $50.00.

-- D.N., Basic and Intermediate camps


Thanks again for the excellent instruction during the beginners banjo

camp this year.  I want you to know that I finally can make a "D"

chord without looking!

Today I went to a SLOW jam with banjo's,  guitars, dobros, fiddles,

mandolins, and a bass.  It was wonderful!  Played lots of back-up but

tried several "placeholder" solos, and even did a bit of singing.

This group meets twice a month and I'm already looking forward to the

next session.

Your emphasis on getting into jamming is right on.

-- D.E., AZ, Basic 10


I paid a lot to come to Boulder to get instruction from the best, and I got that!

-- J.L., ID, Inter 10


I cannot express in words as to the experiences I had with all of the people in the intermediate camp. I am already thinking how to go back in a year and be inundated for six days of banjo playing and lick dump... I have learned an immense amount of info and am already rolling away.

-- G.S., WY, Inter 10


Thanks again for a fabulous week, I really enjoyed it and learned a lot about bluegrass music, banjo playing, and how to progress with it as a lifelong hobby!

-- L.M., CO, Basic 10


The months after the camp were the most productive and fun I've had with the banjo.

-- K.P., MD, Basic 09


It's nice to have someone so passionate who can also communicate the details of good playing...as well as reminding all of us why we started in the first place...to have FUN.

-- A.M., VA, Int. camp 08


I have gained more since January than I had been able to learn by myself the past 5 years.  ... learning at a faster pace makes this effort so much more satisfying.


Your insight and ability to teach concepts in an easy to learn manner, coupled with your passion for the banjo and it's followers makes you a great teacher.

-- B.S., MT, Basic 09


In Jan 09 I could play from memory about 5 or 6 songs learned from Tab.  I never made up a Solo on my own until Monday night of the Class.  I was so amazed that I played a song I never had before and I made up the Solo on my own.  Simple but I did it.  So Six or Seven months later I can play 30 + songs and half of them I did on my own. (THANK  YOU VERY MUCH).

-- T.R., Prescott, AZ, Basic09



An all around invigorating banjo experience. I felt no time was wasted and your choice of material had a nice flow keeping things from becoming static. Your broad knowledge of bluegrass and it's history was an unexpected treat and your passion for the banjo contagious.


I feel like you've given me a good glimpse of what it takes to really know the banjo and how to make it an expression of myself,

not just exclusively regurgitating someone else's licks.

Brennan Buckley, CO, Int. camp 09


I learned more than I could believe in one short week.  I continue to practice about 1 hour daily.  The tapes are great.  I'm even better at playing in front of real people.


Last evening, July 26, I played my banjo in front of about 30 people, with Jeff (on the bass) and a rhythm guitar player.  This morning, I played a solo in front of about 200 people, accompanied by Jeff on the upright bass.  It was a short, one-time lick of "I saw the Light" at speed.  My oldest son recorded it on video.  The playback sounded pretty good--only a few garbled notes.  I was anxious, but took your advice and techniques and settled in, concentrating on the floor and shutting my eyes; and I survived.


Thanks again.  Even my wife says I am doing better!

-- K.J., Basic Camp 2008, Clinton, MO


thank you, as I have in the past, for the brilliance of your instruction, the empathetic nature in which you advise and instruct students, the unselfishness you demonstrate in the details of your teachings, and the many hours of thought you have given to rendering only the most necessary details in positioning a student for continued growth.

-- D.W., 08


I'm extremely motivated to learn more and feel that Pete not only inspired and motivated us, but gave us CONCISE suggestions for the direction we should take. It was FANTASTIC!


I have been to quite a few workshops (Ross, Tony, Janet, Steve Huber and Camp Bluegrass twice, and others) and this was the best camp of all for banjo instruction of a great process.

-- P.M., Katy, TX, Basic 07


Thanks for the passion and energy you have put into your teaching of the banjo and bluegrass. Your passion and enthusiasm shines in your classes.

-- D.T., Basic camp 06


Dr. Wernick is a great teacher who excels at individualizing instruction. Truly inspiring.

-- Anonymous, Basic camp 06


You do a terrific job. You really have thought through your teaching philosophy and it shows. I appreciate that you have high standards and expectations. Although I play at a very low level, the satisfaction I felt at the end of the week was much, much greater than when I "succeed" at something I am accomplished at.

-- J.M., Basic 06



You are a very very good teacher. It's obvious you understand what's important about the banjo and essentially Bluegrass Music in general. Not picking strings, but the psychology, sociology, history, and pleasure of banjo.

I came to this camp to become part of the "family" I've been admiring for years. I feel like I'm now on my way. You have given me the tools and now I'm ready and anxious to go build things.

-- Anonymous, Basic camp 05


Best $$ I've ever spent toward my banjo experience.

-- Anonymous, 05 Basic camp


I continue to be astonished that an individual of Pete's caliber is even willing to work with a group of beginning banjo students.

Pete creates an atmosphere that drives individuals to be better, and the tools to do it.

Pete's musical talent is only surpassed by his teaching ability. I've spent a great deal of time in classrooms (2 undergrad degrees, and 2 graduate) and I've never encountered an instructor with the dedication and great teaching style that Pete possesses. His only goal seems to get people playing banjos and enjoying it.

-G.B., Basic 05


After coming back from Boulder our bass player turned to me after a tune and said, "What happened to you? It sounds like Dr. Banjo really kicked your ass." I learned a lot at your camp.

-- J.O.,   A06


I really enjoyed the Banjo Camp. It was thoughtful, well organized, and beneficial in more ways than I could have expected. The fact that you've been doing it for more than 20 years is evident.


The Friday night concert was especially effective, I thought. It puts a bit of pressure on everybody, and it's truly motivating. Who'd have thought a dozen banjo players could play one piece together, and sound good? It was also very helpful (though painful) to view the game tape on the final day.


I appreciated your teaching style, putting everyone on the spot just slightly on occasion, yet making us all feel encouraged and comfortable. That must be tough to do sometimes.


Having free access to your library of publications and videos is a great benefit.  So was the opportunity to buy instructional materials. I just subscribed to the Banjo Newsletter after a lapse of many years.


It's fascinating to hear about your interactions with other great pickers, especially first-generation guys like Scruggs and Bill Monroe. Also your observations about playing bluegrass as a business.


It was interesting to hear your psychoanalysis of audiences. For example, they'll "root for" certain types of performers to succeed, more than others.


More than learning specific licks and techniques, what's important to me is to get motivated. That comes from being in the presence of other pickers--some at higher levels than I am and some similar. It's inspirational to see the young guys who have worked so hard to develop their skills.


You mentioned a past student who reacted emotionally to a previous camp, feeling that he's wasted too much time without getting serious. I can relate to those feelings. I won't make any promises about re-thinking my life, but I do plan to be a much better picker by the end of 2007. Thanks for your help, and for what you've done for banjo playing and bluegrass music.

-- T.L., A07



I feel so energised about the banjo and finding time to digest all the great stuff you fed to us will be no problem - I am that hungry to come to grips with all that's new. I now listen to bluegrass and recognise licks that I relate to and will work to put in my repertoire.

Coming to Boulder was one of the best decisions I have made in my lifetime.

Thank you very much Pete. You ran a great camp.

-- I.&A.S., 07


the banjo camp was responsible for helping me break out of tablature dependence, and which gave me the encouragement to work out melodies on my own, as well as removing some of the fear of playing around others.

-- B.B., 06Basic


I wanted to thank you for everything you've done for me in the 

last month or so.  I've always wanted to play music but never had the time when I was running my own business. When I picked up the banjo again after 25 years, I was having fun but I don't know if I would have stuck with it, if I didn't go to the banjo camp.  That showed me that the objective is to get better but most importantly, to have fun (and play with others).


I've been involved at the highest levels of rowing and it's not 

often that a top level oarsman becomes a very good coach.  You are 

one of the best teachers or coaches I've encountered and are as good a banjo player as I have heard.  You've shown me what I can strive for and that I can have a blast even if I'm never that good.  One thing that comes through in all of your sessions is the passion that you have for the banjo, bluegrass music, and teaching.  The most important thing that your students come away with is a bit of that passion... I know I did.

-- D.P., 06Int


I had a blast. It's a great experience.


15+ hours per day of playing banjos, talking banjos, learning how to play banjos, watching videos of famous players and having pete show you exactly what they're doing, working on perfecting licks, adding new licks, and jamming.


It was a lot of work but I enjoyed every minute of it and wish I was still in Colorado playing my banjo every minute of every day.


It is worth $300 + travel and lodging. Absolutely. I still can not believe how much material Pete can cover in 6 days nor can I believe how much energy he puts into making the camp a success for everyone. I have all the material on audio tape -- that way I can listen to it and recall all the things that I haven't integrated into my playing yet and get them down.


The things that I picked up that will be most useful to me are "flavored chords" (C-6, D-aug, D-9 sort of stuff), some extremely interesting/useful rolls, how to play (and invent solos) in D (spike at 7 only) & C (without a capo) and E (with capo 2, spike 9), and last but not least, a lot more about playing backup banjo behind a fiddle player (Fiddle & Banjo style).


There were a bunch of other things covered, but I either don't have them down yet, or haven't realized how amazing/enlightening they are -- hopefully, I will in time.


One key point would be to make absolutely sure you get yourself into the correct camp. There were 2 or 3 players in our intermediate camp that would have done a lot better in the basic camp. You'll enjoy intermediate camp if you can play "reasonably" well, can follow most chord changes by ear, AND are working out your own solos to standard songs -- rather than learning them from tab. Pete worked hard to make sure the folks that were in the wrong camp still got a *lot* out of the camp but there were large chunks of the class that must have been frustrating for them because the material was just too hard.


If you struggle or often hesitate changing chords to *any* of the standard chords (C, D, F, A, F-shape, D-shape, barre), or can't maintain a reasonably smooth roll (forward, backward, and/or titm) while switching chords, OR if you're welded to tab you should take Pete's basic/fundamentals class.


I'm defintely going to take one of Pete's jam camps. I'm thinking about going to the one in Morehead, KY this summer. Pete still has a lot that I haven't learned (yet), more jamming is always good, and I want to work more on inventing solos "on the fly".


Am I a better player than I was a week ago: YES. Do I have some new practice techniques that will help me improve faster in the future: YES. Did I learn some material that will make my playing more interesting: YES. Would I attend another camp organized by Pete Wernick: YES. Did I recieve value for my money: YES. Will I be attending the Advanced camp: YES -- probably won't be ready next year but I'll hopefully be ready in a few more years. Should YOU attend this camp: YES (if you meet the requirements).

-- T.G., I06


I cannot thank you enough for the terrific week spent in Boulder and I have been on banjo high ever since since returning to Memphis.

-- B.W., B06


Thank you for a most enjoyable, intense, and invigorating week at

your banjo camp, January 2-7, 2006.  I won't search for the right

superlatives because I would lose too much practice time.  I do count

myself fortunate to have gotten to attend.


All of the camp was helpful.  The Friday night performance was

especially useful.  Watching you put the show together and give tips

to the various performers taught me much.  Also, watching your group

perform in Arvada on Tuesday night was a treat.  I think you could

make that a requirement of the camp.  It seems you could easily

connect it to the camp instruction by explaining how you put various

principles into practice.  (You did some of that, but not all



Although I did not get to see all the individual evaluations of the

other student's playing, every one I did see was helpful.  You have a

knack for immediately sensing problem areas and giving direction for

removing the problem.  This was especially noticeable in your work

with Dave Patton.


Another good feature was the historical color you provided throughout

your comments.  I will reiterate my encouragement to write on this

subject.  As bluegrass music matures, reliable sources about its

development will become important.


I won't go on, but will close with more thanks and admiration for

your knowledge, your willingness to spend time with your students,

and your ability to make it all very enjoyable.

Best wishes,

-- S.A., Department of Mathematics, Texas A&M


Prepare to learn a lot from Pete's camp.  I know

you will like it.  It is well worth the money.

-- J.M., BNC05


Date:    Thu, 06 Jan 2000 11:09:53 -0700


I highly recommend studying with Pete.  I did a Pete Wernick banjo camp about five years ago, and I walked away not knowing exactly what I had learned.  It took a while to soak in, and after a couple of years this is what I realized I got out of the camp: Pete shows you how bluegrass banjo works.  He tells you how to play the melody, and where to throw in hot licks.  Just how tasteful banjo playing is comprised.  Even if you feel you play way outside the norm (as I did then), it is vital to know where the norm is.  Both in the jazz and bluegrass idioms, I read over and over how important it is to play it straight before you venture off into outer space.  People, especially musicians, like to know you can do it.  There is something for every banjo player in Pete's classes.  He is a professional musician through and through, and just that alone is worth being around.




-- J.S.


My playing has improved dramatically. Your instruction and video tapes are the reason things are coming together. Yesterday was the first time I played on TV.  I played a lot of the backup licks I learned from you. There is another element that is probably most important to me and that is your encouragement. All of your students raved about what a wonderful teacher and person you are. Your caring made us all try that much harder.


-- L.C., LA


I went to Pete's MerleFest camp in

'95 and it was a turning point in my banjo playing.   It was also a thoroughly great vacation. I've met several other Wernick camp veterans and we all agree - the camps great for your banjo playing, and great fun too.

-- B.R., UK


I'll take this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoyed that camp.  It truly inspired me to think more and practice regularly as well as smarter.  My playing has definitely come up a notch since then.

-- L.P.


 Your incredible gift for quick assessment of what a student

needs and then providing it made a deep impression on me when I was a banjo student at your MerleFest Jamcamp 2000.


-- C.S.


Subject:  [AcuTab] banjo camp

Date:  January 12, 2003  18:50:04


Hello Everyone,

I spent the last week in Pete Wernick's "beginners" banjo camp.  What a phenominal experiance!!!  I learned a tremendous amount, met some really nice people, and had the opportunity to get to know and study under one of the best banjo players of all times.  I would encourage everyone to try one of his banjo camps (he has them for beginner, intermediate and advanced players).  I can now look forward to attending his intermediate camp next year!

-- B.


It is unmistakably the best banjo workshop I have ever attended. 

-- M.A., NC


our band, Sweet Sunny South, is moving right along. We've entered the T-Ride band contest and have a rapidly developing schedule for the summer. I owe everything I play to you Pete. Without attending your Basic Skills Camp, I never would be playing at the level I am now, nor would I be so disciplined in practice. It is simply amazing what spending a week with you can accomplish. Like learning a new language, complete immersion with a worthy guide (yourself) is the most effective learning tool I've found.


-- K.D., CO


What I Did On My Winter Vacation


     Have you ever wondered what it would be like to attend a Banjo

Camp?  I'd read the advertisements for the various camps and frankly

didn't have the courage to sign up for any of them.  As a fairly new

picker my confidence in my ability was lacking, I hadn't played in

front of other people much and I was certain that everyone else would

be a lot better than I was.  Then I heard about Pete Wernick's camp for

beginners.  Unlike any of the other camps I read about, Pete offers

three different camps on back to back to back weeks.  The first week is

for beginners (that's where I fit in), the second week is for

intermediate players and the third is for the advanced pickers.  These

are all held at the Sandy Point Inn in Niwot Colorado, just a few miles

North of Boulder.


     So, the first of five days arrived.  I was one of fourteen

campers, from New York to California and several states in between. 

Pete was unable to begin the first day with us because his mother-in

law's funeral was that morning.  Instead we met with a terrific player

and teacher by the name of David Patton, who quickly put us at ease and

got us picking.  After reviewing some basic tuning and stringing

techniques we took a tour of the near-by Ome Banjo factory.  If you've

never had the chance to see how these beautiful instruments are crafted I would recommend this tour.  That afternoon Pete joined the group and we went to work. 


The main objectives for the week were to teach us all how to fit in at a jam session, learn how to hear and find the melody of a song, make a practice tape to play with and then create a solo for our song while using the practice tape.  As I read this it strikes me that it doesn't sound like too much of a challenge, but let me assure you that if you've never been to a jam and never recorded yourself playing, it makes for a very busy week.


Over the next four days we got a lot of experience jamming with our fellow campers.  We also received a great deal of instruction from Pete, not just as a group, but face to face, one on one instruction.

Sprinkled into all of this we heard a lot of Pete's war stories, watched him play some of the most amazing banjo imaginable, and got to know a really nice group of fellow banjo players.  Our "final exam" consisted of playing as much of our new solo as possible on the group jam tape that was recorded at the end of camp.

This is obviously the only Banjo Camp I've attended, but the experience was so positive I know it will not be the last.  I'll be sending Pete a check to reserve a spot in next year's intermediate camp, and will consider those offered by other instructors.  If you've never been to a camp, try it.  If you're not sure of where you fit in, ask the instructor.  Finally, if you ever have the oportunity to get to know Pete Wernick, jump on it.  He is not only a wonderful player and teacher., he is a warm and friendly man that I'm honored to call a friend. 

-- B.M.


Thanks for unlocking "the mystery of the right hand" for me-- an invaluable gift.

-- J.E., VA


Hi Pete, 

I got the dinner theater gig.  

I took two big steps up from the two camps I attended.  You also straightened me out on right hand position and got me playing Foggy correctly. I'm very appreciative.  I still get a big kick just sitting in a practice room by myself and playing my butt off. 

Also, I never miss a chance to recommend your camps whenever I can.

-- S.W., Banjo Player


You have received some wonderful advice from a master player and teacher.  I was fortunate enough to attend Banjo Camp North this past year and Pete Wernick was one of the instructors.  I'd cling to any advice you receive from him.  I printed out the "Teaching Beginners" article from his website and gave it to my teacher (who's wonderful, by the way).  I told him he was already doing all the things that Pete Wernick recommended so I knew I was in good hands.

Good luck.  This is a wonderful instrument and is well worth the time and effort to learn to play it.

Another piece of good advice I've been given -- listen to A LOT of banjo music.  When you listen to Pete play on the Hot Rize CDs, you'll be amazed at how "clean" he plays.  He's a true artist.

Keep pickin'

-- R.D., Falls Church, VA


I've gotten more out of it than I could have imagined. My practice techniques have changed, my goals have changed, and I'm excited again.

-- H.G., Ft. Collins, CO


Pete's love of the music, enthusiasm for teaching, professional experience and knowledge of the banjo make for a wonderful learning experience.

-- S.R., Kirkwood, MO


I want thank you for the group lessons last Saturday. I cannot tell you how much they enlightened me and I have been playing on and off for over 30 years. I feel more confident now and I think I am ready to jam.

-- D.H., Colorado


Just a follow-up thank you for a fine intermediate camp last week.  Your agenda was just right and your techniques superb.  I'll score it (by far) the best camp I have attended.  It is obvious that you have an interest in each student and getting RESULTS.

-- J.C., Albuquerque, 05


The camp was perfect for me.  I learned a great deal and the other campers were great. You gave me a lot of good drills and tips and that was fantastic.  AND, I think I have come a long way in recognizing chord changes and even getting the right chords.

-- J.B., KC, MO, 05B


Basic camp was awesome. I have a set compass now, and a great direction. Thank you for the guidance and inspiration.

-- G.D., Niwot, 05B


Although I am fascinated with your banjo prowess I am even more in awe of your teaching ability. Last year and this year I watched you bring many people over seemingly insurmountable hurdles in a matter of minutes or seconds in some cases. Although there are many really good banjo players I doubt there are any teachers that can do what you do with whoever shows up. I'm glad you get such satisfaction from this.

-- B.C., Boulder, CO, 05B


Thanks for a great week. You have reenergized my banjo playing. I can't put the banjo down.

-- J.M., Normal, IL, 05A


Greetings Pete  (aka, great banjo guru),

This communication is way past due . . . but at least I've thought about it weekly since Banjo Camp!

Yes, I finally "got it."  I play my arrangement for Worried Man, and my husband comments, "Wow, that was beautiful."  Don't know if I'd go so far as "beautiful" - but it sounds good, and flows (finally).

When I got back to "real life" (what a bummer), I jumped into a Banjo II -Keith Frankel- class already under way down at Swallow Hill.  Even though I thought it probably would be a little more "beginner" than I was, I knew his methods were the same as yours, and I didn't want to lose my momentum from camp.  I also wanted to be able to come home and have people to play with, even if it was in a class setting.

Several of us in the class (at Swallow Hill) discussed getting together a Slow Jam - I had found slow jams in Longmont/Lafayette/Boulder area but not Denver.  A couple of weeks ago I talked to  Keith about the group's interest, and asked whether or not Swallow Hill might let us use one of their rooms for slow jamming.   Anyway, it blossomed into Keith deciding to approach Swallow Hill to "officially" arrange it, with him as host/moderator,  and also put the word out to the other instructors so the slow jam could gain beginner guitar, fiddles, and mandolin players (ideally).  This coming Monday (Feb. 28th) will be the first one! 

I went to the Midwinter Bluegrass Festival, and participated in the Beginners Jam (saw Gail from Banjo Camp there).   I have not had a day where I've spent less than 45 minutes practicing/playing (many days are more like an hour and a half),  and have also picked up your Bluegrass Jamming DVD, so I can fearlessly practice jamming with that!  

Along with technical gains, I'll be working on my "performance anxiety" by continually putting myself out there with others, in jams and workshop situations.  I think that's got to be the only way to get past it, just do it again and again (and again!).

I hope I have a year of really good progress and can join my other campers in the next level camp in 2006.   My husband says my banjo playing has markedly improved since camp -- now, when we're out listening to bluegrass bands play and I comment on the banjo playing, he says "you're on your way." 

Sorry to be so wordy!  Thank you so much for sharing your technical expertise, the history of the music and people behind Bluegrass...  -  you have a gift when it comes to imparting all of that to your students.    I feel that the whole camp experience has definitely taken me to the next level.

Still pickin'

-- L., Denver


 I have been going monthly to a jam with a friend who plays guitar AND sings great.  We play at a nursing home and the folks really enjoy it. It gives me good experience without the fear that I will look like I am all thumbs.  I also go monthly to another jam where we play several hours with musicians of various levels.  I really like that.  I practice about every night (even if only for 15 min).  I still practice the rolls on that sheet you gave us.  So all in all I am happy with my progress. Your Bluegrass Jamming DVD is my best friend!

- D.N., Denton, MD, Basic Banjo camper 2004, note written in early 2005.


I am able to do some things I couldn't have imagined prior to you inspiration. My band mates are impressed with my new more artful and tasteful approach.

In the middle of our practice session friday night my mando player screams out in the middle of a song "thank you Pete Wernick" . I asked him what's up and he said " i don't know what Pete did to you but your sound and the way you play is much better". so thank you Pete. We have taken our first festival gig in May in the North Ga. mountains

-- T.F., GA, CO 05


I took your advice about pro-actively seeking pickers. I went to one of the largest Jams around and kept the banjo in its case and did nothing but network. You were right! There is one jam just down the street that meets every Tuesday. That generated another jam on Friday only two blocks away. Pickers are now coming out of the wood work! Thanks for the tip and best of luck to you.

-- W.L., TX 05