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Level 1: Beginner
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Level 3: Advanced
Old Time Fingerpicking
Classic Style Banjo
Celtic Tunes
30 Day Challenge
Playing Backup
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Banjo Lessons: Developing Scruggsy Solos

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wanna start talking about how you can
develop your own solo, so
you don't have to be just always depending
on tablature.
And you can start thinking for yourself a
little bit more.
And expanding your awareness of how to get
around on the banjo.
A very important thing that Earl Scruggs
came up with, and
others before him, but I think he really,
really put his stamp on this.
Is instead of hitting a note straight on
like this, [SOUND] If there's a melody
note on the third string, [SOUND] What he
will often do, not always, but often,
will slide two to five on the fourth
You might just start sliding.
Two forward rolls and two notes.
Or he might just start with a quarter
That's the third string.
If you have a melody note on the second
string, [SOUND] Open.
[SOUND] You can just slide.
[SOUND] You're sliding into that note.
[SOUND] As on the fourth string, where
you're sliding up to the fifth fret.
[SOUND] Same note as the third string.
[SOUND] And we talked about this in the
tuning section.
[SOUND] That two to three side implies
up to that second string melody note.
Or it might be a forward roll.
If you have a melody note on
the first string.
Earl will often hit that as
a quarter note.
And in just the delay of a quarter note,
hit the hammer on in the second string,
[SOUND] So you're hammering on into that
same note, that D note, but here on the
second string.
he might just hit it straight on right at
the beginning of the measure.
On the downbeat just hammer on.
If you
have a melody note on the fifth string,
You can slide up on the first string.
if you have a melody that does something
like this,
You can do the pull off.
To get that same effect.
Basically, what these,
these techniques do is they give you more
of a vocal quality to your playing.
Rather than just hitting a note dead on.
There are many tunes where you'll just
give a little bit of a slide
into the note.
In a bluesier tune on that fourth string,
you might slide three to five instead of
two to five.
Instead of that.
now let me give you an example, just a
quick example of tunes that use each of
these, that start with these notes.
So, going back to the third string open
We're gonna talk about Earl doing a slide
You could take a tune like nine pound
hammer, real traditional tune which we'll
get into in a little bit here.
And so far, so it could be, either be.
And just slide it.
Into it, or-
And delay it by the quarter note.
And of course,
if someone said, how would Earl play this?
I would say, well, he'd probably do that
two-to-five slide.
In fact, when I checked out, he just goes
He hits it dead on so.
Always expect the unexpected with Earl.
Once in a while he'll just hit it dead on
the note.
But generally he'll do a slide or hammer
on and do a note, that sort of a thing.
You don't go, oh the nine pound hammer.
You'll tend to slide in to it.
If a melody note's on the B note.
You Are My Sunshine does that.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
But instead of hitting it dead on like
that, you are my sunshine, my only sun-,
which is a very pretty tune.
It's just a different way of approaching
But if you want to Scruggs-ify it, you can
slide into that note.
You are my sunshine.
Same thing, melody right there.
There it is again.
Here it is again.
Please don't take my sunshine away.
There was a harmonic,
by the way, up here on the 17th fret of
the fifth string.
if you have a melody note on the first
Such as Wildwood Flower which is often
done in C, most often done in C,
especially on the guitar.
Let's do it in G.
Melody note on the first string.
You can hammer out into that note.
And so on and so forth.
If you have a melody note on the fifth
Like John Henry.
When John Henry was a little baby boy But
you can slide into that instead.
But for
our purposes here I've chosen
Poor Ellen Smith, which is a,
just a good old time tune and
I'll play the Scruggs-ified version of it.
It's another one of those cheerful murder
ballads which make their way into the
bluegrass repertoire.
So the first note's the first string, so-
You're hammering into that note.
Poor El, poor Ellen Smith.
No, the note on the second string, Smith.
I'm just throwing in that pull off as
How she was found.
She, and I'm getting the pull off on this.
She was found.
I'm just hitting that fourth string dead
And then hammering onto a C.
Shot through the heart lying cold.
Melody note on the second string.
I'm sliding into it.
Cold on the ground.
And our old friend, that tag lick there.
So one more time for Poor Ellen Smith.