oddman wrote:Far too often, I have compared the melody from a recording and tried to pick the melody out of a tab, just to find out that they're not the same! What I often have done is to find the melody notes in the tab (they are in there somewhere) and highlight them. Play just these notes a few rounds so you get familiar with the tune. If it doesn't sound the same as a recording, you have some options. Either don't listen to that recording, find a more close recording, find a closer matching tab, or change the tab to fit your recording. If you change the tab, please be careful so you don't make the roll unplayable. I have used all of these tricks at times.
Once I'm comfortable with the melody I start rolling. Very slowly! The trick is here to keep rolling without losing the melody. I exaggerate the melody notes when I start out. As you start playing quicker, the melody will meld in better.
Try to play the melody notes with the right finger as you would when you put the rolls in.
Please be aware that I'm no banjo instructor, quite the opposite! I'm a complete rookie that have struggled very hard with the same problem you have and had to try to find ways to work around it.
Thanks for chiming in, Knut. These are all good suggestions.
One thing that's not been mentioned is the "divide and conquer" principle. Too often when there is a tab, a player will just plow through it from start to finish. In that situation, the player is preoccupied with *reading*, and this is one of the pitfalls of using tablature. REAL PLAYERS DO NOT THINK IN TABLATURE. So if you want to sound like them, try doing what they do: Real players think of the melody, and their right hand just keeps putting out notes in rhythm because *it knows how to*. If you spend a lot of brain power telling your right hand when to hit the first and fifth strings and all that, that's a lot of brain power that should be spent on other stuff. Your right hand should know how to keep the flow going in rhythm just like your legs and feet know what to do when you give the simple command "walk"
. If this doesn't happen, you need to just keep rolling! Practice rolling along smoothly with chord changes. Go ahead and put on a good record, and roll along while making the right chords. Not only is that fun AND sounds good, but it also helps instill the fundamental routine of your right hand... keep time, and don't let up, even as you reach for different melody notes with your thumb and other fingers.
If you work on the song a line at a time instead of plowing through all 16 measures, you'll get more done with obvious results. Divide and conquer.
My guess is that you don't play with other musicians, and so rarely have to keep a roll going for any length of time. I'm guessing that's what you need most. My strongest advice: Don't sit there trying to play haltingly from tablature. Play along in real time with real music, and let the melody emerge naturally. Play songs, and not banjo instrumentals, as their melodies are easier to follow and easier to play. You'll get it.
Best of luck!