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Easy and very helpful way to learn pretty much any song

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Dec 9, 2019 - 10:49:50 PM
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10 posts since 12/5/2019


Title sounds like 'click bait' but its legit.

I got a bit fustrated with learning by tab
-Tab is still very very useful, I did use it to teach myself:

Scott Joplin's
'Sunflower Dance' from 1901 (patented)

but anywhoooo,

Iv taken well to simply picking any song i can think of current i am working on:

-Take Me Home, Country Roads,

-Some Of My Favorite Things
(from The Sound Of Music)

-Alladin's A Whole New World
(from the Disney cartoon movie)

-But it all sounds good.

Yes, pick any song your heart desires and heres the gold:

* Print out a 'banjo chords diagram' from google images- costs pretty much nothing.
(the more chords you can find in one single diagram, the better!)

*think of a song u want to learn then google the guitar chords. dont worry what Key it says to capo or anything.

now you have the chords for the song.

*Next, use your 'banjo chord diagram' to find the chords on ur banjo.

*strum the chords until you have learnt them and have worked out what tempo sounds good to you.

(i learn it by memorising the chord sequence for the 1st verse, getting that sounding ok, then learning the second verse and then third etc, until i have memorised the whole thing.)

- i have alot of fun even just strumming the whole thing, but-

*once comfortable with ur chords,

*Now you can, instead of just strumming, when holding the chords down start trying the clawhammer 'bum pa diddy, bum pa diddy'

its a game of trial and error at this point but i find it helps to learn what notes are where- by instinct. play that sucker' 'till you find a pattern for the chord ur on that sounds good to you.

*try ANYTHING! Drop thumbs, pull-offs, Hammer-ons, a slide here and there to connect one chord into the next one, its all experimental at this point so just try to enjoy it and have a laugh,

*sooner or later you will end up, by skill or by chance, discovering nice little patterns and sequences that sound good.
Repeat them as many times as u like to learn and then you can slowly build the whole thing into ur own version of the song you are learning :)

*i like to practice like this because it forces you to memorise chords, and its fun.
Never disregard 'fun-ness' in learning :)
it is a powerful teacher..

*if you end up teaching urself a few different songs u will all of a sudden realize that you now know a whole lot of chords- where they are and the names of them, without really having to had think too much.

*any weird chords that you cant find? just google it!

*while searching for the guitar chords there will likely be a few of the same song versions online.

Some versions (easy) will have easy chords, like basic G,A,Em,D etc.

the harder versions can have really odd chords that may be quite tricky to reach/hold down on ur fretboard.

these chords may be closer to the authentic sound of that song,
but u'd be suprised what you can play (and how good it sounds) with simple chords.

give the harder ones a try, if ur up for a challange, better to try it once than never :)

In Closing,

i hope this helps someone get out of a rut or at least makes banjo more fun to learn :)


Dec 9, 2019 - 11:04:13 PM
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10 posts since 12/5/2019

Keep in mind-

there is no 'quick' way to learn banjo,

but if ur enjoying they way in which you are learning, be it-

Music theory

you will end up playing more often, having fun and therefor getting better, over time- faster than if u dread even looking at the banjo in fustration, because nothing makes sense.

everyone sounds like Sh** to begin with, laugh it off!

different mixes of learning work for different people, a bit of tab, a lesson, a touch of this, a reading of music theory, a silly 'anything-goes' jamming session

googe how songs are made, put together, etc..

some musicians will tell you "you cant do this, you cant do that"

no, THEY cant do this, nor that.
it dosnt mean you cant!

EXPERIMENTATION is why we have Medicine, Chemisty, Physics, Maths....

go get em!!

Dec 14, 2019 - 8:54:59 PM
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963 posts since 8/7/2017

TorbenV, I've really accelerated my learning by reading Josh Turknett's "Laws of Brainjo".

Hope you find it useful also :-)

Jan 10, 2020 - 6:44:46 PM

514 posts since 10/21/2012

What you're doing is how I learned to make my own arrangements, almost exactly. It's neat to see that someone else went down that road.

I would just try to pick out songs I know. First I noticed that melody notes were often the chord tones I was fretting. Then I noticed that the melody notes that weren't chord tones were often between the chord tone and the nut, so I could get to them pretty easily. Then I learned how to use hammer-ons and pull-offs and drop thumb, to lead from one melody note to another. Then I learned how to hit strings differently when they're not melody notes, so that the melody notes can pop out. And so on. This one short paragraph took years for me to figure out, and I'm still learning it.

I would say to anyone wanting to learn music, to from the very first day try to pick out things you hear or remember, and keep doing that as you continue to learn from books and lessons and tabs. It's very rewarding to learn to make a tune your own, without tab. My arrangement of a tune is nowhere near as exciting as how an expert plays, but it's mine and I'd rather play my own simple arrangement someone else's fancy one.

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