Bluegrasss Banjo Lessons
I’ve prepared a unique program for learning bluegrass banjo that starts out with very logical and relatively easy solos that emphasize basic Scruggs rolls, using easy to read tablature. We’ll work out of my own book, Jack Tuttle’s Bluegrass Banjo Primer, and for beginners, we’ll focus on correct hand posture and positioning as well as developing solid timing and tone. We’ll also work on backup and chording by ear.
As the student gains the basics, eventually we’ll learn solos by ear. For more advanced students, we’ll learn note-for-note solos of Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, J.D. Crowe, and many others. Also, we’ll cover the famous backup licks of the greats. Developing improvising skills is also a major focus for those who are ready and willing. Will also learn more adventurous pieces from my Bluegrass Banjo Collection. I often play along with the student, sometimes on banjo, but often accompanying on guitar. Students are encouraged to record the lesson.
Here are some helpful resources and tips:
- Try checking out the tips on learning and backup on the About Bluegrass page.
- Go to my Shop to find info on my banjo books and Songs and Sheet Music page for mp3 files.
- View the Recommended Bluegrass Albums and Recommended Banjo Albums on the About Bluegrass page.
- Check out the Transcriptions below for a few songs to work on.
My list of practice suggestions has always included playing with others. Band-in-a-Box or a similar program to play along with can help you get there. It can also be a good “non-complaining” accompianist for when you want to go through your fiddle tunes for hours on end. It can also be your metronome as you try to play slow cleanly, or get faster. It’s also great for improvising over chord progressions. If you have the Band-in-a-Box program but don’t want to take the time to enter the chords, I have done all the work. You can download a zip file containing the chord progressions for 161 fiddle tunes.
- Fireball Mail – Earl Scruggs from my Banjo Primer
- Lonesome Old Home – backup licks by Joe Mullins with Longview
and accompanying lyrics page from my Banjo Collection
- Pretty Polly – Ralph Stanley from my Banjo Primer
- Salt Creek – from my Banjo Primer
- Molly and Tenbrooks – a break by Craig Smith from my Banjo Primer
- Think of What You’ve Done – Jim Mill’s break from my Banjo Primer