Lesson #053, Fitting Different Rolls in 4/4 Time V

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #053, Fitting Different Rolls in 4/4 Time V

Hi Everyone,

Lets start with the b/f roll without the thumb picking the fifth. I think you know the drill by now! lol You can run that roll throughout the eight measures again building dexterity and agility in your right hand.

Now lets move on to one of my favorite subjects. Let me rephrase that. Lets move onto to my Favorite subject on the Banjo or in music in general. That subject is Improvisation. To me, Improvisation is the highest form of musical expression. It will be the most rewarding and the most humbling of experiences you will have in playing the Banjo. It will reflect your knowledge of music, your willingness to go deep within yourself, your willingness to share your thoughts and expressions to others, and your willingness to fail or succeed in the moment.

Let me say again that in these beginning stages of learning to play the Banjo that is very very important to learn from other Banjoist's who have layed the groundwork for us. Thats why I'm starting off with the style of Earl Scruggs. He is one of the pioneers of the Bluegrass Banjo, as well Don Reno and Ralph Stanely as well. I encourage you to listen to these Gentlemen. They are all very distinct players and all have great things to offer.

Getting back to Improvising, after you become more proficient in your playing, you will be able to play most any piece of Banjo music that you want. You can play exact tabs of all of the the gentlemen listed above. You will be able to play the things that I have produced for you. But, hopefully , as you progress in your playing, you will come to be able to create, and express YOURSELF on the Banjo.

Using these different rolls we went over in this series is the perfect place to start on your improvisations. Go very slowly, use just 1/4 notes at first , then 1/8th note with one particular roll, then another, then try breaking up the 1/4 and 1/8th notes however you want. If it doesn't happen right away.....DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT..... it will come together in time. We will continue on with many different things and you can always come back to things that we've already went any time you want . This material will be here forever. I've been playing the Banjo for a long long time and I still go back to review things I've learned in the past, but I always look to the future in learning new and exciting things.

Rock On All


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In 2009, at the age of 60, I decided to learn to play the 5-string banjo. I searched the internet for lessons and struck gold when I found David Cavage's free banjo lessons at Musicmoose.org. His video hosting site revver.com was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. Revver.com stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, Musicmoose.org is no more. I contacted David early 2020 and he told me he no longer had the original master videos and feared they may have been lost forever. This amazing course of free banjo lessons, from absolute beginner to advanced player, is too good to be forgotten, so this is my attempt to get David's work back out there again so that he can teach, inspire and spread the joy of banjo pickin' to more generations of budding musicians, just like he did with me. I've rounded up all the Moose stuff I could find and put it here, so start pickin' and enjoy!-------MooseHerder.