Banjo Lessons for Beginners

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!

  • 1.1


    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...

Lesson #1

Tuning your banjo and reading tab

  • 1.1

    How to Tune Your Banjo

    Welcome to the first Tunefox banjo lesson where you'll learn how to tune your banjo using an electronic tuner!

  • 1.2

    How to Read Banjo Tab

    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...

Lesson #2

The Right Hand - Picks, Hand Position, Banjo position, and Your First Roll Pattern

  • 2.1

    Right Hand Position and How to Wear Fingerpicks

    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...

  • 2.2

    The Alternating Thumb Roll

    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.

Lesson #3

Two More Roll Patterns

  • 3.1

    The Forward Roll

    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.

  • 3.2

    The Forward/Backward 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.

  • 3.3

    Combining Roll Patterns

    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.

Lesson #4

Your First Chords - C & D

  • 4.1

    The C Chord

    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.

  • 4.2

    The D7 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.

  • 4.3

    Switching Chords Using The Forward Roll

    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.

  • 4.4

    Switching Chords Using The Forward/Backward 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.

Lesson #5

Pinches, Slides, Hammer-ons, and Pull-offs

  • 5.1

    The Pinch

    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.

  • 5.2

    The Slide

    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.

  • 5.3

    The Hammer-on

    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.

  • 5.4

    The Pull-Off

    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.

Lesson #6

Your First Song: Boil Them Cabbage Down

  • 6.1

    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.

  • 6.2

    Boil Them Cabbage Down with Slides

    In this lesson, you'll learn how to incorporate your 2-3 slide into Boil Them Cabbage Down.

Lesson #7

The Foggy Mountain Breakdown Roll

Lesson #8

Cripple Creek

  • 8.1

    The A Section - Part 1

    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.

  • 8.2

    The A Section - Part 2

    The second measure of the A section to Cripple Creek takes the slurs you learned in Lesson #5 and puts them together.

  • 8.3

    The B Section

    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!

  • 8.4

    A and B Sections Together!

    Let's put the pieces together and get cookin' with your first song - Cripple Creek!

Lesson #9

Chords and Vamping

  • 9.1

    Backup 101: Vamping

    Vamping is an easy way that banjo players play backup behind other people's solos or behind vocalists.

  • 9.2

    The Bar Chord

    This is the easiest chord on the banjo because it only requires one finger!

  • 9.3

    Root Position Chords

    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.

  • 9.4

    First Inversion Chord

    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.

Lesson #10

Cripple Creek Backup

  • 10.1

    The A Section

    To complete learning any song you gotta learn the backup! This lesson will teach you how to apply the vamping and chords you learned in Lesson #9 to the song, "Cripple Creek."

  • 10.2

    The B Section

    The final step! Learn the B section to Cripple Creek and then you're ready to jam.

Online Banjo lessons

Online Banjo lessonsBegin your bluegrass banjo journey right here with Tunefox. These online banjo lessons will give you a comprehensive understanding of banjo roll patterns, chords, and slurs so you can start learning bluegrass banjo solos in the Tunefox song library as soon as possible. Start from the very beginning of putting on your picks and learning to read tab and journey through learning how to blend rolls with chords to playing backup on your first tune - Cripple Creek. Watch the video lesson included in each section and then play along with the interactive banjo tab to get the material under your fingers and in your ears. If things are too fast for you at the beginning, slow down the playback using the tempo slider and build your speed gradually.

By using a combination of the online banjo video lessons, banjo tab, and even the Official Tunefox User’s Group on Facebook for feedback and encouragement, you’ll be in good shape to start jamming with your friends and playing more complicated bluegrass music on the banjo. Tunefox is here for you from the start so let us know if you have any questions along the way. Email us at support@tunefox.com.