BY STEVE TROVATO
THE BANJO ROLL IS AN ESSENTIAL
technique for playing ripping country two
beats. In this lesson, I’ll show you how to
play two great banjo roll licks. In banjo rolls,
the right hand does most of the work and
uses a technique called hybrid picking.
Example 1 is the granddaddy of all banjo
roll licks. The pickup chords are played by
plucking strings three, two, and one simultaneously
using your pick, middle and ring
fingers respectively. Watch the duplicate
Ds on the third and second strings.
Example 2 is played over back cycling
dominant 7th chords, beginning on an E7
chord. Arch your fretting fingers allowing
the open E string to ring against the other
notes. Simply move the lick down is halfsteps
to create the sound of each new chord.
Notice the hammer-ons on beats one and
three of each lick. The last measure is a
classic tag or ending in the key of G.
Both examples use the top three strings
and feature the same hybrid picking patterns.
Flatpick the third string, and pluck the second
and first strings with your middle, and
ring fingers, respectively. Add a snap to the
open strings by using a bit of your fingernail.
For maximum sustain, pay close attention
to the left-hand fingering and stay
relaxed. Practice slowly before you increase
the tempo. Use the bridge pickup and dial
in a clean, bright twang with a little compression
and reverb. Have fun!