Healthy Playing Technique

I’ve read and heard musician’s refer to playing a musical instrument as athletics on a smaller scale.  

This is actually a pretty accurate appraisal and one that is worthwhile evaluating.  

Playing the banjo is more than just using your fingers.  No matter what style of banjo playing, there are physical considerations that can be helpful in fostering a healthy approach to your banjo.   Because no two people are alike in the way they walk, talk, dance, sing, run, stand, sit, swim, play tennis etc, we must allow for a huge range of tolerance to allow individuals to find their own personal comfort zone.   The suggestions here are not meant as “absolute” or “iron clad” or “cast in stone.” 

These are mere guidelines that might aid in facilitating greater comfort while playing.

December 20, 2013 by Barry Hunn

5-String Banjo Chord Inversions

Many banjo players learn songs and rolls from tablature, but never really learn what notes they are playing on the banjo. This series of articles is going to take you through this process.

This first exercise is going to teach you the chords on a banjo all the way up the neck. By learning all of the chord inversions, the fingerboard will open up to you and those notes up the fretboard won't be so intimidating. It will also open up your playing to a whole new world of ideas.

November 25, 2013 by David Bandrowski

The Symmetrical Tuning of the Tenor Banjo

By nature, the tuning of the tenor banjo in fifths inherently has a major advantage in that chord voicings and scale patterns are symmetrical. The intervallic relationship between an adjacent string is the same.  This means that if you make a triad on the fourth, third, and second strings with the root in the bass, a triad shape would be the same if you moved it up one set of strings to the third, second, and first strings.
November 14, 2013 by David Bandrowski

Improvisation: How do you do it?

Admired and feared, improvising has sometimes been shrouded by mystery and misunderstanding.   New banjo students are often baffled by top players who pick beautiful streams of notes but never the same way twice on a given song.
May 09, 2013 by Barry Hunn

Making the Most Of Your Practice Time

These days we all have limited time to do the things we like. We always have to make the most out of our time. If you are reading this, one of the things you like to do is to play the banjo, with one of your goals to always be a better player.

We often hear of players who tell us that they are practicing all of the time, but they don't seem to be getting any better. 

April 23, 2013 by David Bandrowski

The Ergonomic Subtleties of Playing Banjo

OK, so you are saying to yourself that “banjo” and “subtle” are an oxymoron, right? How can a banjo in any way be connected with that word? Well, folks, just as “still waters run deep” so it is with our beloved banjo. If you aren’t paying attention to those subtle little details of playing the banjo, you may just be working too hard!

One of the most critical factors to playing the banjo is playing position. 

July 10, 2012 by Barry Hunn

Will I Ever Get Better?

“Will I ever get better?” is the perennial cry of the pre-beginner (folks say there is no such thing as a pre-beginner but I have been one for 10 years…) or beginner player. We always feel just a tad bit “lacking” in improvement despite all of our best efforts. The truth is that we have more than likely made more progress than we know.
June 21, 2012 by Carolina

It's OK to Strum the 5-String Banjo

I know this statement seems like a “given” but I have spoken with many folks who feel they have to apologize because they “only” strum their 5-string banjo. My favorite way to play the banjo is to strum it! It’s relaxing, it’s easy, and it’s fun.

There are many wonderful advantages to strumming a banjo:

June 07, 2012 by David Bandrowski

Tips To Improve Your Banjo Playing

Whether you are an experienced banjoist or a novice, it is always fun to find out ways to improve your playing. I have a few suggestions that might help you get “in shape” for the height of the festival season that is just around the corner!
April 22, 2012 by Carolina

Tenor Banjo Lesson - How To Build a Chord Melody

In the following lesson, we will learn how to take a basic melody, and turn that into a full chord melody arrangement.  We are going to use the popular tune "When the Saints Go Marching In" in the key of F as our example.
April 03, 2012 by david