Rollin With the Changes

“Bring guitars, fiddles, mandolins, and other instruments,” a party invitation reads. “Even bring banjos (if you must).” Once again, the banjo finds itself on the butt end of a joke. But it would be a mistake for guitarists to dismiss the music that is played on this tambourine-with-strings too quickly. As Ray DiLello of Richmond, Virginia, seems to know very well, banjo rolls translate beautifully to electric guitar.
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“This is essentially a hybrid-picking exercise with an emphasis on rolls,” says DiLello of the cascading, arpeggiated passage below. With each three-string banjo roll you encounter, assign the pick, middle finger, and ring finger its own string to make the striking/plucking process an efficient and comfortable one. Arch your fretting-hand fingers to allow the neighboring strings to ring for as long as possible as you roll through alternating F#7 and G harmonies.

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