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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Straight Ahead Jazz for Banjo - Left Hand Fingering

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

AJLeonardi - Posted - 06/30/2019:  09:28:05

I'm a beginner banjo player (and first-time string player) and found myself drawn to wanting to learn the why/how of the neck and music generally. Straight-Ahead-Jazz for Banjo was recommended to me and I love the content, BUT even in the first exercises i find myself wondering what the optimal left hand fingerings are (I think I went through 3 or 4 different variations for the first exercise, and I still don't think I know the best way).

Has anyone else had this issue with the book and have some tips on where to find some videos of these exercises (or Tabs updated with the left hand details)? I googled around a bit, and searched the forum, but didn't find anything.


Ryk - Posted - 06/30/2019:  11:21:34


You've jumped into the deep end of the pool right away. Here's a discussion of the book: Pat's other book "Key to Five-String Banjo" would be a more helpful way to start.
If it's possible i always buy directly from the author: They make more money and you have contact with them when questions like these show up.

What you're trying isn't easy ... but it's a great trip. Have fun with it.


Old Hickory - Posted - 06/30/2019:  11:55:45

"Straight Ahead Jazz" is for 5-string in standard G tuning and it assumes 3-finger picking. 

Not sure how much is applicable to 4-string (which is the subject of this forum).

If you're actually interested in 5-string, perhaps a moderator could move this discussion to the Other Styles forum, where the focus is non-bluegrass applications of the 5-string.

Omeboy - Posted - 06/30/2019:  12:02:36

Old Hickory is absolutely right. There are no five string jazz players in this section of the BHO: primarily tenor players and a handful of plectrum players. If I were you, I'd contact Pat Cloud directly via his website.

AJLeonardi - Posted - 06/30/2019:  17:42:21

Thanks Ryk I'll take a look at the other book too!

Old Hickory , Omeboy thanks for the tips! Sorry for the off-topic thread. Thought I had seen mention of this book here before, and took a chance.

parlour player - Posted - 07/02/2019:  15:33:30

This is The Jazz forum .

It does not matter whether its a four string or a five string banjo.

publish and be dammed !


AJLeonardi - Posted - 07/02/2019:  16:14:59

haha thanks for the help, guys!

I reached out to Pat, and he got back to me, but wasn't super explicit with fingerings -- I presume he might want to leave this stuff open ended on purpose so people experiment. That said, I'll probably struggle my way through it for a bit and then book a skype lesson with him. His rates seem to be reasonable.

pearcemusic , wow! Thank you! that is a ton. It'll take me a while, but I'll jump into this once I get through the videos Pat sent over.

One thing I'm learning here is that this stuff requires STUDY, not just practice. Haven't had to study anything since University haha, it's quite a learning curve.

Thanks for the help and guidance everyone!

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