Introduction to online Banjo lessons
These online beginner banjo lessons are designed to get you started with the banjo basics. On this page, you'll find ten subjects each containing mini banjo lessons, so you have a step by step process on how to learn the banjo. Every lesson includes a video and banjo tab that you can play along with so your timing can improve from the very start. Go ahead, jump in and have fun!
Welcome to the Tunefox Beginner Lessons for Banjo! Here you’ll find all you need to get started on your instrument, from tuning and learning how to read tab to playing your first song. Our hope...
Tuning your banjo and reading tab
Welcome to the first Tunefox banjo lesson where you'll learn how to tune your banjo using an electronic tuner!
Tab is one of the most popular learning tools available. Tunefox features tabs for all of it's banjo songs, licks, and lessons so to prepare you for the rest of the site, let's talk about how to...
The Right Hand - Picks, Hand Position, Banjo position, and Your First Roll Pattern
Where your banjo is positioned in your lap will help you find the correct right arm and hand position. Make sure your feet are planted flat on the ground and you're sitting with nice, upright...
Learning roll patterns is a great way to get familiar with right hand technique on the banjo. In this lesson, you'll learn your first roll pattern - the alternating thumb roll.
Two More Roll Patterns
In this lesson you're going to learn one of the most essential roll patterns for playing Scruggs style melodies and backup - The Forward Roll.
This eight note pattern is an essential part of Scruggs style picking. For learning purposes, let's split this up into two phrases of four notes.
Here you'll learn how to combine roll patterns. In bluegrass banjo songs you wont really ever stick to one pattern so it's good to practice playing different rolls together.
Your First Chords - C & D
The three chords you'll learn in these lessons are G, C, and D. You'll already familiar with G as it's your banjo tuned open. Let's take a look at the C chord.
The fingering of the D7 chord is very similar to that of the C chord. Let's take a look at how this chord is constructed.
One of the best things you can do when learning new techniques is try them out in different contexts. Here, you'll learn how to switch chords while playing the forward roll.
This lesson is similar to 4.3 in that we are practicing switching our G, C, and D chords using a specific roll pattern.
Pinches, Slides, Hammer-ons, and Pull-offs
The pinch is a common technique that you'll hear in bluegrass banjo vocabulary. Here you'll learn how to play a first and fifth string pinch.
The slide is the first of three left hand slurs you'll be learning in this lesson series and is what we consider to be the easiest slur.
The hammer-on is a useful slur on open strings or closed strings. The hammer-on that you'll be learning today moves from an open string to a closed position.
The pull-off is kind of the opposite of the hammer-on in that you're starting higher in pitch and 'pulling off' that note to bring you to a lower pitch.
Your First Song: Boil Them Cabbage Down
This is an old folk song that is a popular first tune for banjo and fiddle players because of it's simple and easy-to-hear melody.
In this lesson, you'll learn how to incorporate your 2-3 slide into Boil Them Cabbage Down.
The Foggy Mountain Breakdown Roll
Here's another roll pattern to add to your musical toolkit and this one is used at the very beginning of the popular banjo song, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown."
The Foggy Mountain Breakdown roll with the hammer-on is one of the most essential licks you'll play.
Here we go! This is the very first part of Foggy Mountain Breakdown as played by Earl Scruggs.
Cripple Creek is one of the first songs most bluegrass banjo students learn and the reason is that other than one measure, it consists of the slurs that you learned in Lesson #5.
The second measure of the A section to Cripple Creek takes the slurs you learned in Lesson #5 and puts them together.
The form, or order of parts in Cripple Creek is AABB. You've learned the A section, now let's move onto the easy part!
Let's put the pieces together and get cookin' with your first song - Cripple Creek!
Chords and Vamping
Vamping is an easy way that banjo players play backup behind other people's solos or behind vocalists.
This is the easiest chord on the banjo because it only requires one finger!
This chord shape is the most used because the root, or first scale degree is the lowest pitch in the chord. This is the note that defines what the chord is called.
The first inversion chord is another version of a major chord but the notes are in a different order than the root position chord or the bar chord.
Cripple Creek Backup