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Old Time Fingerpicking
Classic Style Banjo
Celtic Tunes
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Banjo Lessons: Lead-Ins

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When I first started playing the banjo and
even just before I heard it one of the
most exciting sounds to me was this.
That thing right there just blew me away.
It was so cool.
That was a lead in.
And I think it's really important now to
lay out some lead ins.
There are a bunch of different lead ins
you can use.
They all kinda had the same rhythm, but
there all a little bit different from each
other depending on what note the tune
you're gonna play starts with.
So let's start off with when you have a
melody note starting on the first string.
Let's say, something like Wabash
Again, these are all in G.
You can do lead ins in other, other keys
as well, of course,
but right now our purview will just be a
key of G.
So for Wabash Cannonball.
It's hard to stop playing.
All I wanted to show you was the was the
lead in and I had to play the whole tune.
Sorry bout that.
Anyway, [NOISE] so
what you're doing is you're starting on
the count of the upbeat.
If you want to look at it that way
depending on how you want to count this.
Let's say, you want to count four beats in
the measure.
One, two, three four.
One, two, three, four.
And then you go into it.
And I don't have the, I don't, what we're
doing here is not showing you whole tunes,
but just reading into a tune and
it could be any tune starting on [NOISE]
the fourth string.
thing you could, could do [NOISE] is start
with the third string.
Earl does this sort of a lot and does this
many times.
Instead of going bah, bah, bah, bah, he'll
go bah bown, bah, bah.
He has an extra eighth note to begin with.
Be like one and, let's see.
One, two, three, four,
One and two and.
That counting is consistent here.
But one, two, three, four.
[SOUND] One, two, three, four.
[SOUND] See how that quick open third
string leaves the index for that.
Like that.
So that's another way you can approach it.
Here's another way to get down to that
melody on the fourth string if the tune
starts on that melody note on the d string
[SOUND] You can go.
you're pinching the first and third
strings with your index and middle.
[SOUND] Quick eighth note, as it was in
the example just before and you go one and
two and one and two and one.
you're going ring, middle, index down,
chromatically down
the fourth string playing every single
fret to the open fourth.
a tune called Handsome Molly works very
nicely with this kind of a lead in.
If you don't know this tune check it out
on Amazon or iTunes.
Country gentleman did it.
Some other folks have done it.
Sounds something like this.
So [NOISE] you got that one.
Now let's say you have a melody note.
Tune starting with a melody note on the
third string, such as Molly and Tenbrooks.
You just go.
Cuz that's how Earle Scruggs started it
back in the' 40s,
late' 40s with Bill Monroe.
So it's just thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb.
Zero, two, four, zero.
Index ring on the left hand.
There are a variety of tunes,
many tunes that start with the open third
Another way to do instead of just going is
[NOISE] zero, two, four.
You can pinch on the first and third
And do that.
Again, that.
That kind of a rhythm.
And in this case I am [NOISE] just
sliding four to five on the fourth string
into a forward role.
[SOUND] Pinch, pinch first.
[SOUND] Again, the pinch will be index and
Or you could go.
Zero, zero, two,
instead of going like that, you go zero,
zero, two.
And then slide into that [NOISE] Melody,
not that open third string.
what you did in the example before.
Forward roll, two to five slide,
open third, first, fifth.
Pinch the first and third, quarter note
fifth first.
I'm sorry.
I'd like to do thi.
I meant to do this.
That's it.
And you could use this for Nine Pound
So that works nicely for that.
Something I came up with the concept of
playing the syllables,
which you'll find else where in these
Instead of going.
[SOUND] To really play the syllables of
the words.
do a very quick single string lick here,
which you can
go to the intermediate section to find out
more about single string.
But it's basically, you're playing as the
name implies.
The same string more than one time.
[SOUND] This time three times on the
fourth string.
[SOUND] Actually, you're playing four
times, but
the fourth time is just a quarter note.
But before that, you're going.
[SOUND] Thumb, index, thumb, thumb.
[SOUND] And then the slide.
Thumb index thumb, thumb.
you're rather than going thumb, thumb,
thumb [NOISE] which would be very awkward.
By going thumb index thumb alternating
with the index there.
Allows you to get a lot more speed.
Or you could just simply go zero,
two and into like one and two and one and
two and one and two.
So far [INAUDIBLE] works nicely with this.
With a two and
five slide going into
the third string,
first string forward rolls.
If you want more of a bluesy sound, you
can go zero, two, three.
Same kind of idea of
what we've been doing, but this time,
zero, two three.
So, one and two and one and two and one
and two and.
Again that slide.
But instead of sliding from two or four,
you're sliding from three which gives you
the flatted seventh.
Which is a blues notes.
Or you can do.
A tune
called Whose Shoulder Will You Cry On.
It was recorded by this wonderful
Bluegrass singer and guitar player,
Red Allen.
I think, he did this back in the 60s,
recorded it maybe for county sales.
Worth checking out.
Whose Shoulder Will You Cry On.
So you hit the first two strings, it's
the simple [NOISE] one that we've already
done on a number of occasions here so far.
[SOUND] So one and two and one and.
[SOUND] And one and two and one.
[SOUND] So you're coming off [NOISE] that
first two string, eight note.
[SOUND] Open to the fourth fret of the
third string down to the,
with the ring finger, middle on the third
fret of the third.
[SOUND] Pinch with the first string.
Second fret of the third string with the
[NOISE] index.
Pinch of the first string and then the
Third quarter note, two forward rolls.
Now let's say, you have a melody note on
the second string.
Thanks to the Ohio works very nicely for
You're basically doing this.
Zero, zero, two.
You could even just do that by itself.
Into the slide sliding into that melody
note on the second string.
The two to three slide on
the third string.
But in this case, I had you hitting the
first string as well with each of these.
A little bit stronger sound of the pinch.
So one and two and one.
So one and two and one.
And two and one.
Or you could do.
Is a song called Down Yonder,
which was recorded by Sonny Osborn was
part of the Osborn Brothers and
I think Don Reno might have done this.
It sounds like this.
So anyway, you're getting a full fledged
tune just from this little lead in.
But anyway, that's.
[SOUND] That's best way to lead into that
You could do.
[SOUND] Put that fifth string in before
That same rhythm.
[SOUND] One and two and two and.
And then here's the one I was talking
about at the beginning of these lead ins.
The classic.
you have the pinch on the first two
strings open and
add the index on the first fret of the
second string.
And then the index moves up one fret to
the second fret of the second string,
because you want to be ready to do.
[SOUND] That two to three hammer, which is
usually done index to middle.
I sometimes see people going.
[SOUND] Index, middle and then they hammer
on middle to ring, which is fine.
It's no big deal, but.
To me it just feels better to use
the index and middle.
you could put the fifth string to that the
open fifth string.
There's that rhythm again.
So one and two and one and two and.
And then you could do something like this.
Where you have uh,that same feel.
Once again, starting with the fifth
string, just put that in front of.
[SOUND] And you're going instead of up
above going up into the melody note,
you're going down on the first string.
So fifth string, second fret of the first.
[SOUND] Hit it again, quarter notes.
[SOUND] Index on the first fret of the
first and then open first.
If you have a melody note that starts on
the fifth fret of the first string.
[SOUND] Which is the same as the fifth
[SOUND] Something like John Henry.
You can just go.
Zero on the first string.
[SOUND] Two.
[SOUND] Open first.
[SOUND] Second fret of the first.
[SOUND] Middle.
[SOUND] Middle.
[SOUND] And then go up to the fifth fret
of the first string.
One and two and one and two.
And one and two and one and two and
one and two.
And that's how Earl Scrugg starts out John
The whole thing goes like this.
Starting on that note that fifth fret of
the first turn.
that fifth string the G note is a prisoner
which is a tune that bill Monroe recorded
many years ago.
Recorded originally by guy named Vernon
Dalhart in the late 20s.
So here's the Prisoner's Song.
Might have heard me do the second time
around I did this.
That's an example of contrary motion.
It's another way to get in to a melody
note on the fifth string, a G note.
Or the fifth fret of the first string.
I heard Bill Keith do this with The
Prisoner's Song.
[SOUND] One note's going or one strand is
The other's going.
[SOUND] Put them together.
It's a really cool sound, so.
[SOUND] I have the middle finger on the
third fret of the second string doing a.
[SOUND] Unison with the first string,
[SOUND] Move the middle down one fret and
the ring on the second fret of first
[SOUND] Then the index goes.
[SOUND] To the first fret of the, of the
second string.
The pinky goes to the fourth fret of the
[SOUND] Giving it the top part of a D
sevenths chord, pinky goes up one more
fret to the 5th fret of the 1st and you
have the open second.
that's another kind of fun thing to do
with The Prisoner's Song.
Hope you enjoyed these lead-ins and
see if you can apply them to tunes you
already play.
If you just are starting right on the down
beat of the beginning of the tune,
see if you can add these into the
beginning and if you have any questions.
Again, send it in as a video exchange or
reach me through ask Tony in the forums or
just write to my student page and I'll be
happy to help you out.