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Online Banjo Lesson: Creating Earl Scruggs Solos

In the video excerpt above of this Tony Trischka online banjo lesson, the banjo master breaks down a little building block for creating Earl Scruggs-like solos from Tony’s Online School of Banjo.

It’s a simple technique.  When there is a melody note on the third string, Scruggs would often slide from the second fret to the fifth fret on the fourth string.

Scruggs often does this directly or starts with a quarter note and then commence with the 2-5 slide.

It’s an effective technique that can be added into your own bag of tricks as you begin to build your own solos. The video above presents the technique in detail.

Want to make it more bluesy?  Make that a third fret to fifth fret slide and see how it affects the feel of the run.

“It’s a very important thing that Earl Scruggs came up with, and others before him, but I think he really put his stamp on this,”  says Trischka of the 2-5 slide.


Watch Tony's Free Banjo Lessons

Tony’s Online Banjo School has hundreds of full length banjo lessons for beginners all the way through to advanced banjo players, including:

  • Holding The Banjo
  • Tuning Part 1
  • Tuning Part 2: Fun With Tuning
  • Intro to Chords G C D7
  • This Little Light of Mine
  • Right Hand Position Part 1
  • Reading Tablature
  • Ode to Joy Part 1
  • Ode to Joy Part 2
  • Alternating Thumb Roll Exercises
  • Foggy Mountain Breakdown Roll
  • Train 45
  • Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms Part 1
  • Harmonics
  • Backward Alternating Thumb Rolls Part 1
  • Shelton Roll 1: Boil Them Cabbage Down
  • Shelton Roll 2: Salty Dog
  • Shelton Roll 3: Ending Lick
  • Advanced Scale Techniques 1
  • Improvisation Technique: Ron Cody Part 1

And the cool thing about it is you can submit videos of your playing and Tony Trischka himself checks it out and responds with videos giving you feedback on YOUR playing.

For more samples of Tony's teaching style, check out our free banjo lessons

Tony builds on this Earl Scruggs technique in a number of ways in his online banjo lessons, but we're curious, what kinds of moves have you seen or used that take this move to the next level?