1. Beginnings, Endings and Turnarounds
What's more important than getting off to a good start, being able to turn a song around and repeat, or ending the song with confidence? These three pieces to the puzzle can tie it all together for you. The Beginning licks are low and up the neck intro examples that you could use to kick off a standard Bluegrass song. There are eight examples in G, five in C and and five in D. The Endings and Turnarounds have examples in G, C and D as well. These turnaround examples are used over and over in songs while playing backup or solos. If you have some down you are always ready to get in and out. All the examples are demonstrated on video slower and faster with pain staking edited tab!!
2. Must Know Scruggs Style Licks for G, C and D
I've filmed a bunch of the classic must know Scruggs Style Licks for G, C and D, slow and fast. These licks or short segments of music are the key to becoming a good banjo player. The Scruggs Style just works, if you learn it correctly it gives you the foundation to build on. There are licks like the intro to Foggy Mountain Breakdown, the shave and a haircut ending and more advanced licks like the double hammer pull-off classic in Earl's Breakdown. Others include up the neck classics, C and D licks, the Ground Speed D Lick, 2 to 5 slides, pull-offs and other must know material.
3. Melodic and Single String Style Banjo
Included on these two videos are building block licks in both styles. The videos also include a song in each style to practice and begin implementing or improving the techniques. On the first video you'll learn some Melodic Scales and runs, then learn the song, Turkey in the Straw demonstrated at three different speeds. Then learn some handy single string substitute licks you can use in Scruggs Style along with a challenging song, Blackberry Blossom played entirely in the single string style. Studying and learning these songs using these techniques is a great way to put what you've learned to practical use.
4. Backup Banjo
In the videos I've included many of the classic Scruggs Style Backup Licks that you'll need to know to begin developing or polishing up your backup skills. There are Vamping licks, two Slow Song Backup examples, a Backup Verse and Chorus example, Fiddle Backup example and a Bass Runs in a song example demonstrated in close-up video. Some of the material used for these videos is in my book The Banjo Encyclopedia so this is an opportunity to get a close-up video demonstration of these important techniques.
5. Up the Neck Banjo
The Up the Neck Videos will demonstrate many of the must know up the neck licks along with a song example played low and up the neck. In one of the video segments included I demonstrated a common low neck lick and then it's up the neck corresponding lick. This way for every lick or phrase you can play low on the neck , you will have an up the neck corresponding one, so you can move up and down and transpose quickly. The song example is She'll be Coming Around the Mountain played slow and fast low on the neck, then the slow and fast high on the neck. The two versions are as identical as the technique allows and will really give you a good lesson in learning to do this for yourself in the songs you know already.
6. Slow Banjo Styles
This video is a little shorter so it is not sold separately. However, it may be shorter but it teaches the key picking patterns and emphasis needed to get the slow backup sound for waltz's and other slower bluegrass tunes. This is definitely an example of a technique that is very hard to learn and teach from tab. If you play the notes without the emphasis in the correct place, it sounds as though it makes no sense. The video will give you the chance to see and hear it, so you can get the emphasis easily by ear, while getting the notes to play from the tab.
7. Blues Banjo
In this lesson I use comparison licks much like I did in the Up the Neck lessons to demonstrate how to make a common lick bluesy. I play a common lick the way it is normally played in bluegrass banjo and then demonstrate a simple way to make it sound darker, bluesy and ass kicking. I also demonstrate on the video a more straight ahead version of Nine Pound Hammer and then demonstrate a bluesy version of the same song. This will help teach you how to do this for yourself, so you can embellish the songs and solos you already know and create some narly solos of your own.
8. More Blues Chromatic, Triplets, Hot Licks
Here are some more bluesy, fun and hot trick licks to spice up your songs and solos. The lesson videos include triplet licks which are always fun and easy to use. Also on the video are some longer fun lick examples and some hot licks to learn that always get a listeners attention. These low and up the neck examples were chosen carefully to be ones that not only teach the techniques but are easy to use and plug in to the songs you already know.
9. Bending the Strings
Bending the Strings is a powerful technique to use on the banjo. Basically a bend works the same way as a slide, pull-of or hammer-on works, picking one note and getting a second note with the fretting hand. However bending the strings has an effect that you can't achieve with slides, pulls and hammers. These bending tricks always catch the listener and add a whole new dimension to your playing, and they are flat out fun to play too.