I'm sharing a short livestream video from Ricky Mier, winner of the Rockygrass 2021 banjo contest. He explains how & why to center yourself on the melody, and demonstrates by playing "Dark Hollow." It starts at 4:30 in the video.
"I want you to center yourself on the melody, and then build around it with rolls. That is the central thing of this whole banjo ascension process."
When playing up-the-neck breaks:
"You’ve basically got to know where a scale is, on one string. You don’t want to be learning a scale like this, across strings. You want to learn it on one string. Because that way it’s easier to add double-stops. And when it’s easier to add double-stops, it’s gonna be easier to add rolls. And when it’s easier to add rolls, it’s easier to get women, money, and power."
"When I say double-stop, it just means a two-note chord. Keep the melody on the first string because it’s easier to add double-stops. And this is just a particular example that you can use in a lot of bluegrass situations."
The video has no sound.
The sound gets fixed a few minutes in. You can use the link I provided to fast-forward to the 4:30 mark in the video.
I've always taught my students to make the melody the dominate in the tune. that is to make the melody stand out over all the other notes played. I taught that way for 20 years so this should be nothing new in the world of Banjo Teachers.
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Sounds like good advice and what others have written and talked about. "Stick to the melody Son", is an expression that does not go out of style.
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