Banjo rolls are great for your right hand, requiring a hybrid picking style (combining fingerstyle with pick). A little bit of practice can have you ripping these things over fast tempos in no time at all since they are a repetitive arpeggiated pattern. Once the muscle memory is established you're good to go.

Example A is a classic forward roll pattern. The trick here is to have every string sounding out at the same volume. This will require balance between the fingered notes and the pick. Keep your picking hand against the bridge in a quasi-palm muting technique. Once you get control over the the velocity of the notes you can try snapping that high G to give a sense of syncopation.

Example B is a reverse roll. The reversing of the fingerstyle part of the hybrid picking technique can present problems for some players (like me). I always found this one required more work than the forward roll. A good trick here is to use the classical guitar technique of "planting" the right hand fingers.
Place both a and m on their respective strings, perform the arpeggio. On the repeat place both the a and m on their respective strings again before playing the high g sounded by the a finger. This helps keep the rhythm intact and can improve speed. 

Finger planting for hybrid picking is a subjective I will get into in a future post.

C is an arpeggio figure in the style of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" by Flatt&Scruggs. What kind of roll is this? Forward or Backward? Get this one up to speed and throw it in any tune in G you need to spice up a bit.

Below is a PDF of the lesson you can download.
banjo_rolls_for_guitar.pdf
File Size: 215 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

 


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