banjo lessons with tony trischka

United States Artists Friends Fellow 2012, Multi-Grammy® Nominee, IBMA Lifetime Achievement Award
5 string banjo, bluegrass & roots - all levels

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Learn Online with Banjo Lessons from Tony Trischka

Tony Trischka has created a definitive video library that includes hundreds of banjo lessons, special guests, exclusive interviews, and performances. Students have unlimited access to all these online banjo lessons plus banjo tabs, backing tracks, and other study materials.

What ultimately sets these banjo lessons apart from other online offerings however, is the ability to submit a video for review using the ArtistWorks Video Exchange® learning platform. Tony Trischka reviews each submission and records a video response, offering tips about how to improve. All students can access Tony’s Video Exchange library, which has been steadily expanding since 2009 and may contain the key to unlock your playing.

Top Quality Banjo Lessons

  • 100s of banjo lessons at your own pace
  • All levels and styles of playing welcome
  • Slow Motion Isolation and Video Looping
Video Exchange® Learning

  • Submit practice videos to Tony Trischka
  • Get custom feedback on your playing
  • Practice the advice and improve

Worldwide Community

  • Connect with students around the world
  • Learn from everyone’s Video Exchanges 
  • Stay motivated to progress your playing

Tony Trischka Banjo Lessons

Click a lesson category below to explore the curriculum
  • Level 1: Beginner
  • Level 2: Intermediate
  • Level 3: Advanced
  • Old Time Fingerpicking
  • Classic Style Banjo
  • Clawhammer
  • Celtic Tunes

Level 1: Beginner

  • Welcome
  • Holding The Banjo
  • Tuning the Banjo
  • Intro to Chords G C D7
  • “This Little Light of Mine”
  • Right Hand Position
  • Left Hand Position -NEW!
  • Reading Tablature
  • “Ode to Joy”
  • Finger Picks
  • Alternating Thumb Roll Exercises
  • Forward Rolls: “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • Mixed Rolls: “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • The Slide: “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • How to Practice
  • Osborne Roll: The F Chord - “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • Osborne Roll: “Boil Them Cabbage Down” Variation on 5th Fret -NEW!
  • Osborne Roll: Fingering
  • Osborne Roll: “Sourwood Mountain”
  • Rolling Backup
  • D Chord
  • Note Emphasis
  • “Michael Row the Boat Ashore”
  • “Penny's Farm”
  • “Wildwood Flower” Key of C
  • “Old Joe Clark” Osborne Roll
  • Osborne Roll: “Cluck Old Hen” -NEW!
  • “The Watermill”
  • Practice Techniques & Reaching Goals -NEW!
  • Call For Videos
  • Separation of Notes
  • Hitting the Head with the Picks
  • Keeping a Positive Attitude -NEW!
  • Playing with Others Part 1
  • Playing with Others Part 2: Beginning Back-up
  • Playing with Others Part 3
  • Using the Capo
  • Metronome
  • Beginning Hammer-Ons Part 1
  • Beginning Hammer-Ons Part 2: “Shady Grove”
  • Beginning Hammer-Ons Part 3: “Mole in the Ground”
  • Tone
  • Pull-Offs Part 1
  • Pull-Offs Part 2: 3-2
  • Pull-Offs Part 3: “The Old Cat Died”
  • “The Old Cat Died” - Up the Neck -NEW!
  • Pull-Off Etude 1
  • Pull-Off Etude 2
  • Choking the 2-3 Slide
  • “John Hardy”
  • 3/4 Time: “Down In The Valley”
  • Standing Position
  • Ear Training: “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”
  • Finding the Melody: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
  • Record Yourself
  • Up the Neck Part 1: “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • Up the Neck Part 2: “Skip to My Lou”
  • “Old Dan Tucker”
  • Changing a String
  • Working on Speed
  • Roll with No Name
  • “Cripple Creek”
  • Chords
  • “Bucking Horse”
  • “Red River Valley”
  • Straight Time vs. Bounce Time
  • “Shortnin' Bread”
  • Interchangeable Slides and Hammer-Ons - NEW!
  • Other Student Submitted Tunes: Beginner

Level 2: Intermediate

  • “Banks of the Ohio” - Down the Neck
  • “Banks of the Ohio” - Up the Neck
  • Foggy Mountain Breakdown Roll
  • “Train 45”
  • “John Henry” by Ralph Stanley - FMB Roll
  • “Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms”
  • Harmonics
  • “Grandfather's Clock”
  • Bridge Placement
  • Endings
  • Fancier Backup
  • “Don't Get Trouble in Your Mind” - Key of C
  • “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” - Key of D
  • 3-0-2 Lick - “Black Mountain Rag”
  • Practice Techniques & Reaching Goals -NEW!
  • Intermediate Hammer-Ons
  • “Bill Cheatham”
  • “Bill Cheatham” Hammer-On Etude -NEW!
  • “Lonesome Road Blues”
  • “Lonesome Road Blues” by Earl Scruggs - Down the Neck
  • 11 Ways to Leave Your Level -NEW!
  • “Happy Birthday” (Key of G)
  • Transposing 1: “I'll Fly Away” (Key of G)
  • Transposing 2: “I'll Fly Away” (Key of C)
  • Transposing 3: “I'll Fly Away” (Key of D)
  • “Shady Grove” (Modal)
  • “Sally Goodin” Position
  • The Diggy Diggy
  • Developing Scruggsy Solos
  • “Long Journey Home” Developing Solos (with Bill Evans)
  • “Worried Man Blues”
  • “Worried Man Blues” - Up the Neck
  • “Salty Dog” by Ralph Stanley
  • “Sandy Boys”
  • “Sitting On Top of the World”
  • “Sitting On Top of the World” - Up the Neck
  • Pull-Off Etudes: "Cripple Creek"
  • “Swanee Jig” Pull-Off Etude -NEW!
  • “Cindy” by Pete Seeger -NEW!
  • Improvisation
  • Scruggsy Improvisation
  • Earl's Downward Thumb Rake -NEW!
  • “Jesse James” Double Banjos (with Bill Evans)
  • “Whoa Mule” -NEW!
  • “Cacklin' Hen” -NEW!
  • Keith Tuning Pegs - Part 1: Setup & Use
  • Keith Tuning Pegs - Part 2: “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • Keith Tuning Pegs - Part 3: “Silverado Trail”
  • Melodic Style Part 1: “Devil's Dream”
  • Melodic Style Part 2
  • Melodic Style Part 3: “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • Melodic Style Part 4: “Sandy River Belle”
  • Melodic Style Part 5: “Sore Fingers Hornpipe” 1
  • Melodic Style Part 6: “Sore Fingers Hornpipe” 2
  • Melodic Style Part 7: “Black Mountain Rag”
  • Melodic Style Part 8: “Turkey in the Straw” (Jerry Garcia Arrangement)
  • Melodic Style Part 9: “Skip to My Lou” (Key of C)
  • “Redwing”
  • Melodic Style Part 10: “Redwing”
  • “Remington Ride” by Don Reno -NEW!
  • “Sweet Georgia Brown”
  • Melodic Style Part 11: “Sweet Georgia Brown”
  • Hot Licks (with Bill Evans)
  • “Little Rabbit”
  • More Metronome Work
  • Tuning to D
  • D Tuning Part 1
  • “Ruben” - In D Tuning
  • “Shortnin' Bread” - in D Tuning - NEW!
  • D Tuning Part 2: “Hand Me Down My Walking Cane”
  • D Tuning Part 3: “Soldier's Joy” 1
  • D Tuning Part 4: “Soldier's Joy” 2
  • D Tuning Part 5: “Liza Jane” -NEW!
  • Theory - Scales
  • Theory - Chords
  • Theory - Major Chords
  • Theory - Minor Chords
  • E Minor Part 1: “Pretty Polly” (Down the Neck)
  • E Minor Part 2: “Pretty Polly” (Up the Neck)
  • E Minor Part 3: “Red Rocking Chair”
  • Bluesy Solo
  • Chord Extension Theory
  • Transposing
  • Earl's Backup for “My Little Girl in Tennessee”
  • Earl’s Backup for “Doin My Time” - NEW!
  • “Nine Pound Hammer” Improv
  • Melodic Style: “Skip to My Lou” (Key of D)
  • Fiddle Tunes in D Part 1
  • “Old Molly Hare”
  • Fiddle Tunes in D: “ Fox Chase”
  • Fiddle Tunes in D: “Chinquapin Hunting”
  • Fiddle Tunes in D: “Arkansas Traveler”
  • Backup in D Without a Capo
  • Lead-Ins
  • “Roving Gambler”
  • Earl Scruggs: “The Girl in the Blue Velvet Band”
  • Chords in Proximity
  • Single String Part 1
  • Single String Part 2
  • Single String: “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • Single String: “Bill Cheatham”
  • Single String: “Arkansas Traveler”
  • Single String: Chordal Approach
  • Single String: “Green Fields of America”
  • “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” -NEW!
  • Travis Style Part 1: “Yankee Doodle”
  • Travis Style Part 2: “Buckdancer's Choice”
  • “Red Haired Boy” Version 1
  • “Red Haired Boy” Version 2
  • Arpeggios in G
  • Arpeggios in C
  • Arpeggios in D
  • “Great Big Taters in a Sandy Land”
  • Blues Etude
  • Composition Part 1: Noodling
  • Composition Part 2: Numbers
  • Composition Part 3: 30 Seconds to a Minute Part 1 - “Napa Scramble”
  • Composition Part 4: 30 Seconds to a Minute Part 2
  • “Happy Birthday” (Key of C)
  • Sixths
  • Thirds
  • Thirds: “John Hardy”
  • “Danny Boy”
  • JD Back-Up
  • “Golden Slippers” - Up The Neck
  • “Golden Slippers” - Down The Neck
  • Hammer-On Etudes
  • Slide Etudes
  • “Soldiers Joy”
  • “Rickett's Hornpipe”
  • Diatonic Chords
  • Other Student Submitted Tunes: Intermediate

Level 3: Advanced

  • Other Drones - Part 1: 3rd String Pattern
  • Other Drones - Part 2: “John Hardy” Using 3rds
  • Other Drones - Part 3: Rhythm Variation
  • Other Drones - Part 4: “John Hardy” Using Rhythm Variation
  • Other Drones - Part 5: “Cripple Creek”
  • Other Drones - Part 6: “Cripple Creek” Variation -NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 7: 4th String Pattern -NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 8: 3rd and 4th String Pattern Etude - NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 9: Pinch Pattern Variation - NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 10: "Cripple Creek" A Part Variation - NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 11: "Cripple Creek" B Part Variation - NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 12: 1st and 3rd String Pinch Pattern - NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 13: "9 Pound Hammer" Useful Pinch Lick - NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 14: "John Hardy" Using 6ths - NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 15: 1st and 3rd String Pinch Pattern Variation - NEW
  • Other Drones - Part 16: "John Hardy" Using Chromatic Pattern - NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 17: Middle String Pedal Pattern - NEW!
  • Other Drones - Part 18: Middle String Pedal Pattern Etude - NEW!
  • Melodic Scale Patterns
  • Single String Scale Exercises
  • “The Hee Haw Theme”
  • Don Reno: “When You and I Were Young Maggie”
  • “Sally Johnson”
  • Backward Alternating Thumb Rolls
  • Shelton Roll 1: “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • Shelton Roll 2: “Salty Dog”
  • Shelton Roll 3: Ending Lick
  • “The Danny Thomas” -NEW!
  • Advanced Scale Techniques
  • Improvisation Technique: Ron Cody
  • Four in a Row 1: “John Hardy”
  • Four in a Row 2: FMB Lick
  • Four in a Row 3: Etude
  • Four in a Row 4: “Salty Dog”
  • “Blackberry Blossom”
  • “Salt River” - Key of A - No Capo
  • Drop C Tuning: “Espanoletas”
  • ”Cattle in the Cane“ - Key of A - No Capo
  • Double Forward Roll
  • Transposing: “Turkey in the Straw” in G and C
  • “Death March”
  • E Flat
  • E Flat: “Whiskey Before Breakfast”
  • Advanced Improvisation
  • “Cherokee Shuffle” - Noam Pikelny's Break
  • “Plantation Symphony”
  • Bela Arpeggio Technique
  • Bela Scale Technique
  • Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
  • Bach Violin Sonata
  • Mixolydian Mode
  • “Devil's Dream” - Variations
  • “Old Joe Clark” (Advanced)
  • “Heavy Traffic Ahead”
  • Playing in the Key of E Without a Capo
  • Other Student Submitted Tunes: Advanced

Old Time Fingerpicking

  • New Tuning: Calloway
  • Dock Boggs Part 1: “Pretty Polly”
  • Dock Boggs Part 2: “Coke Oven March”
  • Dock Boggs Part 3: “Sugar Baby”
  • Dock Boggs Part 4: “Cumberland Gap”
  • Snuffy Jenkins Part 1: “Cripple Creek”
  • Snuffy Jenkins Part 2: “Wood Pile”
  • “Black Jack Grove”
  • “Tom Dooley” by Pete Seeger

Classic Style Banjo

  • Picking In The Parlor- Classic Style Banjo
  • “Watermill”
  • “Home Sweet Home”
  • “This House Is Haunted”
  • “Plantation Symphony”
  • “Washington Post March”
  • “Onion Rag”
  • “Rattling Clog”
  • “Pauline Waltz”
  • "Banjoisticus" - NEW!


  • “Chinquapin Pie”
  • “Boatin' Up The Sandy”
  • “Last Chance”

Celtic Tunes

  • “Sheebeg Sheemore”
  • “Kinlock of Kinlock”
  • “A Stranger in Cork”
  • “The Golden Castle” -NEW!

Reviews for Tony Trischka's Banjo Lessons

  • "A ton of great banjo lessons. You get to submit video and have Tony respond. On top of that, everyone's videos/responses are available. So that gives you a video lesson on a ton of songs. Several times I've been looking for a break or ideas to spice up a break and I can find something cool in the Video Exchanges. Then on the forums, you can ask Tony questions. He typically responds in a day or so and is very personable."donthacker
  • "The banjo lessons already up on the site take you from raw beginner up through some advanced concepts. Then there are the special guest interviews/lessons with people like Noam Pikelny and Steve Martin teaching you. But the icing on the cake are the Video Exchanges. If you're a student you submit whatever you're working on - whether it is one of the banjo lessons from the site or just a tune you like. Tony checks out your version, makes technique suggestions, and generally offers a couple of variations for you to try. Oh, and Tony can direct you towards individual player's styles if that's what you're looking for. Want to do it like Earl? He'll go totally Scruggs on you. Or Don Reno? Or Bill Keith? It's all there."Chris Ragaisis
  • "This site has been great in pushing me, musically speaking. Were it not for the lessons, the forums, the students here and, of course, our incomparable instructor and mentor, I wouldn't be at the brink of playing in a professional setting. ArtistWorks has been more than supplemental material; it has been foundational. I can't overstate my appreciation for everyone here."TwoWeevils
  • "Tony's banjo lessons are so easy to follow and the tablature is very well done. I have also learned so much by watching the Video Exchanges. Tony's response videos always have several alternate licks and ideas and he covers many styles. I highly recommend the site to anyone."robbie93
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About Tony

Tony Trischka has inspired countless bluegrass and acoustic musicians for more almost 4 decades now. Trischka made his recording debut in 1971 on 15 Bluegrass Instrumentals with the band Country Cooking. He went on to record three solo albums between 1974 and 1976: Bluegrass Light, Heartlands, and Banjoland. Since 1978 he has played with artists such as Peter Rowan, Richard Greene, and Stacy Phillips, and countless others. His Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular album, which came out in 2004, received multiple IBMA awards and a Grammy Nomination. In 2010 he produced Steve Martin's highly acclaimed Rare Bird Alert album, which was nominated for Bluegrass Album of the Year. Trischka was the musical director for the documentary "Give Me the Banjo", which aired on PBS in 2011. Aside from teaching, Tony continues to push the boundaries of banjo music on stage and in the studio.

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