Force yourself to Imitate

When playing a break do you tend to imitate other banjo players or try to be original. Being an original player is usually the goal of most players; however, imitating a hot lick or break can be very beneficial. Try playing a break exactly like the recording. Can you do it? It’s not as easy…

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Check Out the Drive!

JD’s “the man” when it comes to driving the banjo.  He is one of my favorites.  I’m always amazed to watch him and his band perform.  Enjoy this video.  We can all certainly learn something from this great pro.  Who’s your favorite hard driving banjo player?

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Stay off of the Banjo Bridge!!!

One of the most difficult habits to break is resting your pinky finger against the bottom part of the banjo bridge.  I’ve heard this from several banjo players and have experienced the same bad habit myself.  To me it was a point of reference that I later learned was really dampening the vibrations that are translated to the head…

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Banjo Chord Progressions (Part 2)

Here’s the chord progression list.  Try these songs played in the 1, 4, 1, 5, 1 progression.  Remember, work up some licks in each position and some licks to lead in and out of the positions and you’ve got some good jamming material.   Nine Lb Hammer I’ll Fly Away Roving Gambler Sittin’ On Top…

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Banjo Chord Progressions (Part 1)

It’s no secret that many bluegrass songs follow very similar chord progressions.  There are a few different chord progressions to keep in mind; however, if you were to memorize some rolls that work well in a couple different chord progressions you’ll find that you immediately have some jamming material for many popular bluegrass songs.  Once you…

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My Favorite Banjo Capo

I’m going to recommend to you my favorite capo.  I have used capos ranging from clamp’ons to rubber bands to screw tightened mechanisms and the best out there by far is the McKinney / Elliott Capo.  Please note that I am not getting anything in return for promoting the Elliott capo, as a matter of…

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Thanks to all the Banjo Pickers

Hey, I just wanted to quickly thank you all for visiting this site on a regular basis.  We are right now experiencing a fairly large amount of new readers and you all are to thank for helping spread the word.  If you would like to link to us on your site I would be happy…

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What’s your favorite Banjo Capo?

Banjo capos are used to shorten the strings on your banjo which then raises the pitch.  Many bluegrass songs are played in keys other than open G; therefore, the capo is a standard piece of equipment when it comes to the bluegrass banjo.  The capo was invented by the guitarist Jose Patino Gonzalez and is now used worldwide…

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Video Banjo Lessons

If you are new to banjoexpert.com we want you to know that there are several video lessons here.  You can access them by clicking the video link on the right sidebar under topics.  If you are looking for more video lessons, stay close.  We post free video lessons on occasion without warning. We are gearing up for a…

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How to play the banjo “fast” (Part 2)

Here’s the secret to increasing your speed.  Play the entire banjo tune all the way through faster than you can actually play it.  Q. What does this mean? A. You should play the tune at a higher rate of speed than you have been practicing.  You may miss a few notes here and there, but…

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How to play the banjo “fast”. (Part 1)

Are you struggling to play the banjo as fast as you would like.  Playing the banjo at a high rate of speed is quite a challenge for many beginning banjo players.  There are; however, a few tricks to remedy this common struggle.  You must know that it’s quite possible to play any banjo tune up…

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Get the Mellow Tone.

When you’re playing a slower banjo tune or wanting to spice up an old stand-by try adding some more mellow tones.  This is accomplished by moving your right hand closer to the fingerboard while picking.  The closer your picking hand is to the bridge the brighter or “harsher” the tone is going to be.  Sometimes…

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How To Tune Your Banjo

Hello, one of the 1st things you’ll want to do with your banjo if your just starting out is to get it into tune.  The strings ordered in pitch from the highest pitch to lowest is as follows:  5th string G, 1st string D, 2nd string, B, 3rd string G, and 4th string D. When you…

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FREE Banjo Tab Writing & Editing Software

I’ve been using a banjo tab editing software that you may be interested in if you enjoy tabbing out your own banjo licks. It’s also very useful for learning new songs simply because it has a midi feature. You can download it at TABLEDIT.COM. Try it out. It also has an upgraded version if you…

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My Favorite Bluegrass Blog (Banjo Stuff)

Hey, I just wanted to give everyone a quick tip. If you’re looking for the latest in bluegrass news you might want to checkout thebluegrassblog.com. I watch it on a daily basis. You’re sure to find the latest bluegrass and banjo news. The owner of this blog is an outstanding individual. Check it out and…

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Banjo Tailpiece

Qustion: Ryan do you float your tailpiece? Answer: Try not to dampen the vibrations that increase the volume and tone quality of your instrument. I personally have totally removed that little set-screw in the end of the tailpiece that is used to crank it down close to the head. You don’t want to put a…

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Is timing really everything?

One of the most important aspects of banjo playing is improving your timing. This can prove to be a real challenge if you spend most of your time practicing alone. Finding a good jam or putting together a band will do more for your timing than anything. There’s just something about a group of people…

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Bill’s Banjo Pick Question

Question: Ryan, thanks for taking the time to put up such a great banjo site! I noticed your finger picks seem to extend beyond the top of your fingers and your index pick seems farther than your second finger pick. Is this the way you’ve always played? Answer: The ProPik #2 picks are what you…

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Put some “bluesy” in your banjo licks!

Alternating your index and thumb on your right hand can really produce some cool sounding licks. This lesson is a prime example of a bluesy sounding lick which derives from alternate picking with your right hand. Make sure to start this lick off with your index finger and then alternate to your thumb, and repeat.…

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Have a Banjo Song List?

When you are jamming or playing the banjo in a public place, you must be prepared to play one of your big hits and wow the fans! Do you have a list of banjo tunes that are ready at a moments notice? Work up two or three songs, if not more, that you can play…

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Pencil Lead! Make a mark on my banjo?

  An old pro once said to rub a little pencil lead in the grooves on the nut of your banjo.  Many say that this will eliminate the nut grabbing your strings and muting the linear vibrations as you’re playing.  It will also eliminate some of the “string grab” when you are tuning. It’s always frustrating…

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Up the neck kick-off!!!

Slide up to the 12th fret from the 8th fret with your middle finger to start this lick. This lick can be used in many different songs. It’s how you would typically start Lonesome Road blues; however, you can use it to kick-off many songs. The little “back down” from the eight fret is good…

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Adding some FLARE to your endings!

Adding flare to your playing will really make a difference. This is where you start making your own style. Try experimenting with many different kinds of bends, stretches, pull-offs, hammer-ons, tildies or whatever… You want to add some spice to your playing. It’s what the crowd loves and ends up begging for. You’ll know it…

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Fancy Banjo Lick!

This is one of those hot licks that sounds phenomenal when played at a high rate of speed. Actually, I think it sounds awesome when played very moderately. Learn this lick and you’ll have all the banjo pickers staring at your fingerboard and asking you how it’s done. You can insert this lick into tons…

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Hammer, Hammer, Hammer/pull-off!

Here is the classic of classics when it comes to hard driving banjo playing. You’ve got to have this one in your daily repertoire. Play it over and over until you’re playing it in your sleep. It should be very second nature. After mastering this lick try adding another hammer or two in the middle.…

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Chromatic lick on the 5th fret

Work on this one until you can play it lightning fast with much grace, also try playing it backwards. This really helped me to learn it inside and out. Have fun! If you find this lesson helpful, leave a donation for Ryan so you can enjoy the spirit of giving too.

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Try this fabulous up-the-neck ending!

This is a good ending to use on slower songs. It’s a good bouncy song ending. Really pop the vamping (playing a chord while your fingers are in position on the strings but not touching the frets) as your moving up the neck with the chords. That’s what makes this one stand out. If you…

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Lonesome Road Demo

This fine ole song has some great versatile licks in it. You can use them in tons of songs. I really like the high “G” chord. If you can hit it fast and clear, it’ll really pump up your fans! If you find this lesson helpful, leave a donation for Ryan so you can enjoy…

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Foggy Something Demo

I added this one so you could see that cool E minor continuous hammer on. It’s a lot of fun. The ending to this particular video is one of my common stand-bys. I use it a ton. It’s fun to really punch out the pull off on the “G” string right before ending the song.…

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Bluesy Chords

Bluesy chording really comes in handy in those difficult ¾ time songs. You can pluck around all day when you get a few of them memorized and really look like a pro. Mix them up and create your own. See what you can come up with. If you find this lesson helpful, leave a donation…

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Our 1st video demonstration

If you find this lesson helpful, leave a donation for Ryan so you can enjoy the spirit of giving too.

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