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citizenkenz has made 2 recent additions to Banjo Hangout 

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Created 7/11/2017
Last Visit 7/23/2017


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 citizenkenz posted forum topic 'Begginer in need of tips' 7/13/2017 7:36:38 PM

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 citizenkenz added a blog entry 'Beginner banjo iso practice tips' 7/11/2017 6:59:24 PM

Beginner banjo iso practice tips

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 @6:59:24 PM

Hey guys!!

I just started picking about a month ago after playing guitar for about five years. I've picked up the "Earl Scruggs and the five string banjo" and have found it to be a great help. However I've reached a stalling point as far as practicing goes. I'm looking for tips for what to be practicing. Should I be learning songs or licks? Rolls or chords? For some reason I have it in my head that I need to be learning scales so I've stated to practice some G scales. Mainly, I just need some direction. Can you guys give me some advise so that I know I'm headed in the right way? Thanks BHO .


2 comments on “Beginner banjo iso practice tips”

Texasbanjo Says:
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 @4:38:17 AM

The bluegrass banjo is based on arpeggios, not scales. Nothing wrong with learning scales, but you're still thinking like a guitar picker rather than a banjo player. Get comfortable with your basic rolls, learn your basic 4-finger movable chords, learn some licks and then, take off and learn songs.

While the Scruggs book is a great library reference book (I have both the 1st edition and the 2nd), there are many much better, easier to work through beginner books out there. You might look into Janet Davis' books, she has everything from her beginner book to books on Splittin the Licks and Up the Neck picking. Jack Hatfield is also another who has beginner books, backup books, etc., and there are many, many others out there that might get you started on the right track.

Most guitar pickers have a problem with the banjo because of the 5th string drone. Most just don't know what to do with it or how. Learn what it's used for and how to use it and you're probably on the right track.

If you play by ear, start picking out songs, get the melody down and then try to add the "frills" that make it sound like bluegrass; i.e., slides. hammers, pull offs, hot licks at the end of a musical phrase, walks up and down to new chords. I'm sure if you play guitar you're already familiar with doing just that.

Good luck and welcome to the Hangout

You might want to ask your question on the bluegrass forum. It gets more reads than the blogs. Forums are located on the left hand side of the page. Under forums, click forum home. Scroll to appropriate forum and click on it. Then in the upper right hand side click on post new topic. Give your topic a subject, ask your question(s) and click submit new topic. Then check back for answers. You'll probably get more answers than you really wanted. We're a friendly, mostly helpful bunch.
n1wr Says:
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 @5:08:39 AM

Ken - Sherry offers good advice. You are young, so your going to want to play fast. Resist this! Go slow, and focus on your accuracy and timing. There's nothing worse than a sloppy banjo player.

Playing by ear is a great skill for a banjo player. Murphy method dvds will help you in that regard. If you poke around the hangout you will see miles and miles of discussion about learning by ear vs. using TAB. The answer is really to use both - use all of the tools that you can find. If you are serious about learning banjo you should have a copy of TablEdit, the program that works with the TABs (6000 plus) here on the hangout.

And don't overlook the benefit of having a teacher. You can learn some terribly bad habits when you are starting banjo - and they are hard to break. A teacher, even if it is only once a month, will help keep you from going astray, and will help guide you in learning the right things up front.

Stick with us here on the hangout. No question is too silly, but use the search engine. Every question you have as a beginner has been asked - and answered over the years.

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