Banjo Fundamentals

Understanding Banjo Tablature

Tablature is the written form of music for the banjo. While it looks much like conventional music, tablature provides banjo-specific information, such as what string you play and whether the string is open or fretted.

The five horizontal lines represent the five strings of your banjo, with the top line corresponding to the 1st string and the bottom representing the 5th string. The numbers indicate left-hand fretting positions, with 0 standing for an open string.

Essential Right-Hand Patterns for Bluegrass and Clawhammer Banjo

The key to becoming a great banjo player is having solid timing and rhythm in your picking hand. One of the best ways to develop this ability is to practice the most frequently used patterns in clawhammer and bluegrass style, playing them over and over again until you've completely internalized them.

Here are the crucial right-hand moves you'll use just about every time you pick your banjo.
Clawhammer patterns

The Basic Clawhammer Stroke

Double-Thumbing Technique

Bluegrass patterns

Alternating Thumb Roll

Forward-Reverse Roll

Forward Roll

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