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Essential Right-Hand Patterns for Bluegrass and Clawhammer Banjo

The key to becoming a great banjo player is having solid timing and rhythm in your picking hand. One of the best ways to develop this ability is to practice the most frequently used patterns in clawhammer [more…]

Reading Banjo Chord Diagrams

The vertical lines on a banjo chord diagram represent the 4th through the 1st strings of your banjo, moving from left to right — as if you were looking down on the fingerboard of your instrument from above [more…]

Fretting Essential Banjo Chords

Whether you're accompanying others or blazing through a fiery banjo solo, you need to know where chords are located on your banjo's fingerboard. Here are 12 chords you'll put to good use in thousands of [more…]

Understanding Banjo Tablature

Tablature is the written form of music for the banjo. While it looks much like conventional music, tablature provides banjo-specific information, such as what string you play and whether the string is [more…]

Banjo For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Knowing how to interpret chord diagrams and being able to read banjo tablature, the written form of music for the banjo, will pave the way for a much smoother road ahead on all of your banjo adventures [more…]

10 Essential Jam Session Tips for Banjo Players

The most fun you can have with the banjo is playing music with other musicians in jam sessions. If you've never done this before, however, a few things are useful to know before you take out your banjo [more…]

Swapping Out Bridges and Banjo Heads for Better Sound

Of all of the parts you can easily swap out and upgrade on your banjo, bridges and heads can make the biggest difference in sound. Your banjo is a combination of wood and metal held together with nuts, [more…]

Playing Scruggs, Melodic, and Single-String Banjo: A Bluegrass Crash Course

These days, bluegrass banjo isn't limited to the dazzling roll-based approach created by Earl Scruggs in the 1940s and 1950s. Bluegrass banjo today also includes the melodic innovations of Bill Keith and [more…]

How to Create Your Own Bluegrass Banjo Solos

You take a big step up as a banjo player when you're able to create your own unique solos, using the licks and techniques that you've picked up from other songs to create new music. When playing Scruggs-style [more…]

How to Identify the Five-String Banjo

Although the five-string banjo is by far the most popular type of banjo being played today, decades ago the most popular banjos in the first half of the 20th century were four-string tenor and plectrum [more…]

The Parts of the Banjo

The neck is one of the two main sections of the banjo (the pot being the other). The neck is the long piece of wood that supports the strings and tuners. Necks are usually made of maple, mahogany, or walnut [more…]

What is The Pot of the Banjo?

The two major sections of the banjo are the neck (the long piece of wood supporting the strings and tuners) and the pot, the round lower body of the banjo including all of its constituent parts. You can [more…]

How to Pick Up String Vibrations on the Banjo

When you strike a banjo string with a right-hand finger or thumb, the string starts to move back and forth. These vibrations move through the bridge (a piece of wood positioned on the banjo head) to the [more…]

8 Tips for Becoming a Great Banjo Player

If the banjo is the first stringed instrument you've ever attempted to play, it may seem as if you have a million things to remember at this first stage. [more…]

G Tuning: Getting Your Banjo Strings in Order

Although banjo players use a variety of tunings to play different kinds of songs and to create different moods on their instrument, the most frequently used [more…]

What Is Relative Tuning of the Banjo?

Relative tuning involves using one string as a reference to tune the other strings of your banjo. That string doesn't really have to be in tune with any outside source, because in this case, you're just [more…]

How to Tune a Banjo Using Another Instrument As Reference

If you don't have an electronic tuner or you want your banjo to be in tune with others in a jam session, you can use pitches from other instruments to get your banjo where it needs to be. In general, ask [more…]

How to Tune a Banjo Using an Electronic Tuner

Tuners provide a reference point for you to tune individual strings one at a time. These days, a tuner is pretty much an essential accessory to carry with you wherever you take your banjo. [more…]

Why You Should Tune Your Banjo at a Jam Session

Relative tuning for your banjo is great when you're playing by yourself or for quickly touching up a string or two in the middle of a practice session. However, when playing with others [more…]

Talk the Banjo Talk: Important Terms

Many folks prepare for a trip to a foreign country by practicing a few phrases in the language that's spoken there. Playing the banjo is very much the same kind of adventure — it's great to know banjo [more…]

How to Strap on Your Banjo

You've probably already discovered that banjos can be heavy. Even if you have a more lightweight, open-back banjo, the distribution of weight on your banjo may very well be uneven, with much of the mass [more…]

How to Stand and Play Banjo

The key to being comfortable while standing with the banjo is to adopt a position that's similar to the position you use when sitting. If you've found a good sitting position, stand up with the banjo and [more…]

Banjo Basics: Fret with the Left Hand

The left hand's job is to change the pitches of the banjo strings to get all the notes you need for chords and melodies. The left hand accomplishes this task by pressing the tips of the fingers against [more…]

How to Sit Down and Play the Banjo

How you hold your banjo while sitting down is determined by how much you need to see the banjo fingerboard while you're playing. Some players use the position dots on the top side of the banjo neck to [more…]

Banjo Chords: How to Finger G, D7, and C

The first time you discover how to fret a chord on your banjo is a very big moment in your burgeoning playing career. Whether you're blazing through a banjo breakdown or accompanying a campfire singer, [more…]

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