Learning to play the banjo

We are often asked by customers on banjo teachers, methods and ways to learn, so wanted to point you out a great banjo learning site. Or I should maybe say The Banjo learning site.

Tony Trischka´s school of banjo at artistworks.com is the perfect place to learn from one of the best banjo players ever. The site is full of video lessons divided into 3 main sections (beginner, intermediate and advanced) so all levels are welcome there. Depending on your level, you choose where to start from. You have at least 60 videos on each section (only the intermediate section has over 100). Besides, you have extra material on classic banjo tunes, clawhammer style, celtic banjo tunes…

The way it works is perfect to keep motivation high on students. For every lesson or tune that Tony teaches (video+tablature) , you can add a video upload for Tony to review. He makes a reply back and provides feedback on playing, timing, etc.

After all, the one learning is you and the one that has to do the job with everyday practice, but the fact that the one assisting you is a living banjo legend is pretty motivating. Tony then gives you a video reply of a few minutes duration. He often gives a variation, and then adds some extra work for you to do. The amount of videos, video replies with its variations and interviews on the site is simply huge and give you hours and hours of materials to watch and learn from.

Really hard that anyone can surpass the value of this banjo learning program. You can join the school for a period of at least 3 months and the annual subscription rate is slightly over 200$. Believe me the amount of resources you find is worth much more than this and is one of the best ways to learn banjo at home.

Here is an excerpt of the lessons and tunes you can learn at the intermediate level:

  • “Banks of the Ohio” – Down the Neck
  • “Banks of the Ohio” – Up the Neck
  • Foggy Mountain Breakdown Roll
  • “Train 45”
  • “John Henry” by Ralph Stanley – FMB Roll
  • “Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms”
  • Harmonics
  • “Grandfather’s Clock”
  • Bridge Placement
  • Endings
  • Fancier Backup
  • “Don’t Get Trouble in Your Mind” – Key of C
  • “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” – Key of D
  • 3-0-2 Lick – “Black Mountain Rag”
  • Intermediate Hammer-Ons
  • “Lonesome Road Blues”
  • “Lonesome Road Blues” by Earl Scruggs – Down the Neck -NEW!
  • “Happy Birthday” (Key of G)
  • Transposing 1: “I’ll Fly Away” (Key of G)
  • Transposing 2: “I’ll Fly Away” (Key of C)
  • Transposing 3: “I’ll Fly Away” (Key of D)
  • “Shady Grove” (Modal) -NEW!
  • “Sally Goodin” Position
  • The Diggy Diggy
  • Developing Scruggsy Solos
  • “Long Journey Home” Developing Solos (with Bill Evans)
  • “Worried Man Blues”
  • “Worried Man Blues” – Up the Neck
  • “Salty Dog” by Ralph Stanley
  • “Sandy Boys”
  • “Sitting On Top of the World”
  • “Sitting On Top of the World” – Up the Neck
  • Pull-Off Etudes: “Cripple Creek”
  • Improvisation
  • Scruggsy Improvisation
  • “Jesse James” Double Banjos (with Bill Evans) -NEW!
  • Keith Tuning Pegs – Part 1: Setup & Use -NEW!
  • Keith Tuning Pegs – Part 2: “Boil Them Cabbage Down” -NEW!
  • Keith Tuning Pegs – Part 3: “Silverado Trail” -NEW!
  • Melodic Style Part 1: “Devil’s Dream”
  • Melodic Style Part 2
  • Melodic Style Part 3: “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • Melodic Style Part 4: “Sandy River Belle”
  • Melodic Style Part 5: “Sore Fingers Hornpipe” 1
  • Melodic Style Part 6: “Sore Fingers Hornpipe” 2
  • Melodic Style Part 7: “Black Mountain Rag”
  • Melodic Style Part 8: “Turkey in the Straw” (Jerry Garcia Arrangement)
  • Melodic Style Part 9: “Skip to My Lou” (Key of C)
  • “Redwing”
  • Melodic Style Part 10: “Redwing”
  • “Sweet Georgia Brown” -NEW!
  • Melodic Style Part 11: “Sweet Georgia Brown” -NEW!
  • Hot Licks (with Bill Evans) -NEW!
  • “Little Rabbit”
  • More Metronome Work
  • Tuning to D
  • D Tuning Part 1
  • “Ruben” – In D Tuning
  • D Tuning Part 2: “Hand Me Down My Walking Cane”
  • D Tuning Part 3: “Soldier’s Joy” 1
  • D Tuning Part 4: “Soldier’s Joy” 2
  • Theory – Scales
  • Theory – Chords
  • Theory – Major Chords
  • Theory – Minor Chords
  • E Minor Part 1: “Pretty Polly” (Down the Neck)
  • E Minor Part 2: “Pretty Polly” (Up the Neck)
  • E Minor Part 3: “Red Rocking Chair”
  • Bluesy Solo
  • Chord Extension Theory
  • Transposing
  • Earl’s Back-Up for “My Little Girl in Tennessee”
  • “Nine Pound Hammer” Improv
  • Melodic Style: “Skip to My Lou” (Key of D)
  • Fiddle Tunes in D Part 1
  • “Old Molly Hare” -NEW!
  • Fiddle Tunes in D: “ Fox Chase”
  • Fiddle Tunes in D: “Chinquapin Hunting”
  • Fiddle Tunes in D: “Arkansas Traveler”
  • Backup in D Without a Capo
  • Lead-Ins
  • “Roving Gambler”
  • Earl Scruggs: “The Girl in the Blue Velvet Band”
  • Chords in Proximity
  • Single String Part 1
  • Single String Part 2
  • Single String: “Boil Them Cabbage Down”
  • Single String: “Bill Cheatham”
  • Single String: “Arkansas Traveler”
  • Single String: Chordal Approach
  • Single String: “Green Fields of America”
  • Travis Style Part 1: “Yankee Doodle”
  • Travis Style Part 2: “Buckdancer’s Choice”
  • “Red Haired Boy” Version 1
  • “Red Haired Boy” Version 2
  • Arpeggios in G
  • Arpeggios in C
  • “Great Big Taters in a Sandy Land”
  • Arpeggios in D
  • Blues Etude
  • Composition Part 2: Numbers
  • Composition Part 4: 30 Seconds to a Minute Part 2
  • Composition Part 1: Noodling
  • Composition Part 3: 30 Seconds to a Minute Part 1 – “Napa Scramble”
  • “Happy Birthday” (Key of C)
  • Sixths
  • Thirds
  • Thirds: “John Hardy”
  • “Danny Boy”
  • JD Back-Up
  • “Golden Slippers” – Up The Neck
  • “Golden Slippers” – Down The Neck
  • Hammer-On Etudes
  • Slide Etudes
  • “Soldiers Joy”
  • “Rickett’s Hornpipe”
  • Diatonic Chords
  • “Bill Cheatham”
  • Other Student Submitted Tunes: Intermediate