Banjo Tuition

bluegrass banjo tuition

For many people the sound of bluegrass banjo is embodied by the tune Duelling Banjo’s from the film Deliverance. Some may even have rushed down to the local music store and then found themselves completely flummoxed when trying to understand the dark art of bluegrass banjo. Fortunately I can help bring some light to the banjo mystery and have you soon playing some fun tunes. If you are an absolute beginner there are a few things to consider before you begin

  • Bluegrass banjos have 5 strings (well 4 strings plus a half length drone string
  • The strings are plucked using a thumb pick and finger picks on the index and middle fingers
  • Ideally chose a banjo that has been set up for bluegrass banjo as the string height is slightly different for other styles

Banjo tunes are written down using TAB – this is much simpler to read than music on a traditional stave

I start teaching using a banjo tutor book, but supplement this with music from other sources as we move forward

Some of the other things I can help you with are

  • Understanding the importance of backup playing
  • Using a metronome to develop timing and build speed
  • Playing with a guitarist
  • Audio recording of your playing to help with feedback and analysis

Tenor banjo tuition

Tenor banjo’s have 4 strings, are played with a pick and typically used for playing Irish and Scottish traditional tunes. Some of the things you can look forward to learning are

  • traditional music forms, jigs, reels, polkas, hornpipes, etc
  • tune sets appropriate for playing in sessions
  • playing while being accompanied
  • self analysis of your playing by listening to recordings of yourself


Please contact me with any queries

This is short question with  a long answer due to budget, materials and the style of playing you want to do. The best thing is to contact me with your question, e-mail or phone, or talk to a good dealer

Some tutor books come with mp3 files of backing tracks and other tracks can be found on the web. I am also happy to record backing tracks for you so they will be of a comfortable tempo and an appropriate key.