Im tellin y'all! I am going to get my moneys worth out of this forum! Hahaha. Sorry if I am becoming a bother. Tons of questions. My wife says I'm a serial hobbyist. When I get into somethin, Im tellin ya I am wide open!

Anyway, I always wanted to learn the banjo, well a buddy of mine told me today he has two just layin around. He doesnt play, just loves bluegrass. I think he is going to bring me one to get my feet wet. Any pointers on where to start? I'm going to try and find someone local that messes with them. Told him I would get it restrung for him. Been sitting for years, sure it needs it anyway.

Is this going to effect my fiddlin'? Does anyone play both and did you struggle when learning going back from one to another?

Thanks y'all



  • Frederick
    edited January 2022

    Hi Aaron. I play both and I never have a moment's problem switching back and forth between the two instruments. I do find that it takes me quite a bit longer to "warm up" on the 5-string rolls than it used to. At 71 I guess I shouldn't complain.

  • Speaking of warming up the rolls, that is where I would start. Get on YouTube and learn some basic 3-finger rolls then practice them over and over and over until your rhythm and speed feel really solid. I actually that is probably more important than jumping straight into tunes! Search for "forward roll" and "backward roll" and get good at those two.

  • Use a metronome and practice until your timing is rock solid.

  • Fred, that is absolutely awesome! Such a cool sound! I got goosebumps with that one!

    Thanks for info guys! I will definately get to rollin! Ha

  • Fred, you pick a banjo really nice! I love listening to that.

    Aaron, hope you enjoy the banjo. For me, I started guitar fingerpicking back 58 years ago, as a child. I tried to play scruggs rolls on banjo by the time I was about 19 years old...and my fingers just wouldn't get out of guitar picking long enough to ever feel comfortable with banjo for me...I mainly play clawhammer moral of this long tale is that if Bluegrass banjo rolls don't work out for you, you can always go to Old Time clawhammer style. Seems a lot easier to me. Whenever I do pick a banjo, like if clawhammer doesn't work on some particular song, I pick it like a guitar, with works out weird because since there's only 5 strings I have to do odd maneuvers in between it just comes more natural for me to do it that way. Back when I first gave up on scruggs and picked a banjo like a guitar, back when I was maybe 19 or 20, I remember some people telling me that just ain't the way to pick a banjo...I felt so bad about myself, turned to 100% clawhammer, and stopped picking a banjo for years. Then I heard an elderly woman picking the daylights out of her wasn't really rolls, but it was interesting picking and she was singing with it...then she said she had to pick her banjo like a guitar because she never could learn banjo that point...I thought...ok, well if it's ok for her, a performer, who sounds pretty good, then it's ok for me. So by that time I started sorta guitar style fingerpicking on my banjos again...figuring the lesson I learned is that I should just play my instruments any way I like to...and not worry about feeling "permission" from others as to how i should be doing That's a long story with a bunch of unnecessary just sayin', you might learn the scruggs rolls...but if for some reason that gives you trouble, there are other ways to play a banjo too.

    Bottom line...have fun with that banjo!

  • Awesome story cricket. I am familiar with the clawhammer style and its unique sound. Not sure if I ever heard anyone pick a banjo. I may just play around and see what works. Who knows if I will ever get comfortable with a banjo, but I cant wait to give it a shot!

  • Geez, Thanks Aaron. I love pickin' banjo.....I just love fiddlin' more. lol

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