Integrating the Bluegrass Roll and Chords
The most important thing to learn for bluegrass banjo player is how to move from one chord to another without stopping. I call this ‘Using the Frame of the Music’ to create music. I use a specific technique called ‘The Chord Change Exercise’ to accomplish this first task. If the banjoist has to stop to change chords, there is no Musical Frame. Preparing for the bluegrass roll by learning the chord changes first is the key.
The second most important thing to learn for bluegrass banjo player is ‘Using the Frame of the Music’ to integrate the Bluegrass Roll with the chord changes. This is the engine that drives the train. That machine gun attack of banjo notes comes from the bluegrass roll.
This tab and recording uses a simple roll pattern T I M T I M T M* for the right hand and a simple string pattern on the instrument– 3 2 1 5 2 1 4 1. This allows the player to begin to integrate left and right hand together, using simple chord changes and a simple roll pattern.
Always do the exercise slowly without stopping.
*(T=thumb, I=index finger, M=middle finger)
Grab your banjo and practice this idea using this tab and recording below and enjoy the Beautiful Music.