What makes this style of banjo playing sound so unique
One of the reasons banjo is such a unique sound in bluegrass is the fact that it's played with three fingers as opposed to a flatpick. This allows for speed and dexterity as well as the ability to easily play melodic style, which is a way to play scales and melodies using adjacent strings, as opposed to entirely on one string.
The tab below demonstrates the difference of playing multiple notes on one string(first measure)- as you would on guitar or mandolin- and playing melodic style (measure 2), where you play each note on a different string. Learning melodic style is firstly a study in scales to map out the fingerboard, then how to utilize these scales to play melodies up and down the neck.
We recommend that you have a good understanding of the basic Scruggs style techniques and repertoire before heading in the direction of melodic playing.