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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Seeking Help with Roll Pattern in "Uncle Bubba" by Henhouse Prowlers

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AlBanjo and Romina Power - Posted - 11/21/2023:  12:28:30

Hello fellow banjo enthusiasts,

I recently had the incredible opportunity to see the Henhouse Prowlers live at La Roche in France this summer, and I must say, they were absolutely terrific! As a devoted fan of bluegrass music and an avid banjo player, I was particularly impressed by Bill Wright's backup playing. His technique has a lot of drive, and it adds such a dynamic layer to their music.

One song that really caught my attention was "Uncle Bubba." Ben Wright's roll pattern in this track is fascinating, and I am very eager to learn it. However, I'm having some difficulty figuring out the exact pattern he uses. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could help me understand or break down the roll pattern used in this song. It would be a fantastic learning experience for me.

Thank you in advance for any assistance or insights you can provide!

Here is a link to the song on YouTube 

Best regards,




Edited by - AlBanjo and Romina Power on 11/21/2023 12:58:08

eagleisland - Posted - 11/21/2023:  12:43:31

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there IS no "roll pattern" that he's using. Rather, he's using a variety of different rolls - mostly forward and square, with pinches thrown in here and there - depending upon what effect he wants at a given time. Though there may well be some of the fabled eight-note roll patterns many new players study, he's not limiting himself to them. He's playing what he wants to play.

I do hear (and see) a lot of forward rolling going on - but not necessarily in the context of a pattern. Patterns tend to be limited to eight notes. Rolls can go on endlessly.

henhouseprowler - Posted - 11/21/2023:  16:40:26

Alfonso! Ben Here! You emailed me after the fest and I've been so busy. But that's a lame excuse. Expect an email in the AM (my time).

Ok, first the guy above is kind of right. There's a lot going on there and I don't think about it much anymore, but I do think there is a foundational "roll" in there. It's more of a 16 note roll with the first half being a full forward-reverse roll and then the back half ends up being 5-2-1-5-1-2-3-1.

Like this:

Fwd Reverse Roll -3 2 1 5 1 2 3 1  

                                 T I M T M I T I

Alt Fwd Reverse -5 2 1 5 1 2 3 1

                               T I M T I M T M

Add those together and you get the 16 note roll that I feel as the foundation.


I think I came to that many years ago after being tired of the Fwd Reverse Roll, but still liking how it drove things differently than the forward roll.

Anyways, sorry I haven't responded since our initial exchange after the fest. Super honored that you're needing out on my playing, friend!

Edited by - henhouseprowler on 11/21/2023 16:45:15

AlBanjo and Romina Power - Posted - 11/22/2023:  00:52:46

Hi Ben,

what a wonderful surprise to hear back from you directly! smiley Thank you so much for taking the time to explain your approach to the foundational "roll" in there. I am eager to try this pattern out and see how I can incorporate it into my own playing style.

I deeply appreciate your willingness to help, and I am honored to learn directly from a musician I so greatly admire. Your unique style and mastery are huge sources of inspiration for me. I hope to catch one of your live performances again soon!

Thank you again for everything, and best wishes for your upcoming projects and performances.

Warm regards, 


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