Branching Out On the Banjo – Vol. 1
Patterns, techniques, and a “road map to the banjo neck” will give everyone from experienced beginners to advanced players new ways of spinning out your own licks, or learning those of the masters. The emphasis is on do-able, good-sounding, versatile ideas that work in both solos and backup. If you’re in a rut, this will open up endless possibilities for new realms of creativity! Each video is $30.00, or get both for $50.00.
“Of all the DVD’s I have from a wide variety of instructors, your ‘Branching Out’ set are the ones that I go back to again and again.”
DVD 1 of 2 in Series.
Includes booklet with tab & chord diagrams for EVERYTHING shown on the video!
Part I: A Treasury of Techniques:
110 minutes with 18-page booklet. Dozens of left hand chord groups, versatile rolls and licks that use them. Chord vamping and rhythm patterns for fast, medium, slow, and waltz tempos. The basics of chord theory taught briefly and simply, including building 6th, 7th, 9th, minor chords and knowing when to use them. Learn the licks as well as many ways to vary them. Favorite up-the-neck Scruggs licks, movable positions, more.
Solos for Back Up and Push (C) Essential parts of Theme Time, Powwow the Indian Boy
Backup for Life’s Railway to Heaven, Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes, Gone But Not Forgotten, Blue Moon of Kentucky.
Part II: Putting It All Into Practice:
90 minutes with 15-page booklet. How to put together tasty solos and backup, playing in keys of C, D, and F (using knowledge covered in Part I):
Solos and backup for Nellie Kane (D), Walk the Way the Wind Blows (F)
Solos for Gone Fishing (G), Wild Ride (D), Radio Boogie (C), If I Should Wander Back Tonight (G), High on a Mountain (G)
Essential parts of Dixie Breakdown, Foggy Mt. Special, Turkey Knob (D), Soldier’s Joy (C), Lonesome Road Blues.
Backup for Blue Ridge Cabin Home, Ocean of Diamonds, Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms.
It’s been 25 years since I put out Branching Out On the Banjo (Volumes 1 and 2) — designed as the most efficient way I know for sprucing up both breaks and backup, and applicable to any key, and whatever tempo, slow or up-tempo. It’s a road map to interesting variations all over the banjo neck. This way of expanding banjo knowledge is not about memorizing exact melodic licks or any specific licks…. it’s about expanding your tool kit of left hand positions and right hand rolls.
It’s based on ways of altering the basic F-shape or D-shape or bar-shape chords. The modifications are often no harder than the basic shapes, and they flavor those chords and create appealing sound, while expanding your knowledge of the neck a little at a time. The applications are endless, and I use them all the time in my own playing, whether jamming or working up arrangements.
Just knowing where the 6ths can be found in relation to each shape, or the flatted-thirds, opens up all sorts of possibilities to explore. This is a different approach from memorizing specific licks to try to incorporate on the fly (not easy). Once you know about where the 7ths and 9ths and augmented notes can be found, just by reaching a left hand finger to a new place, it’s amazing the variety you can add to your playing, even on the fly.
It may sound like this is about sounding super-complicated or jazzy in your playing, but many of these tricks are actually already in use by Scruggs or Crowe or other bluegrass players, just not shown with reference to the components of the chords they use. Many of them are not especially hard to execute, just variations of familiar chord positions. Many are not in common use, but still quite bluegrassy and tasteful.
Along with these left-hand door-openers, the videos also show a variety of right hand patterns (many in common use, some not) that also open up many options. Between the left hand and right hand variations, it’s like getting a big Lego set to try at your own pace. Many examples are shown, from famous breaks, or ones I’ve done over the years in Hot Rize.
Learning this kind of stuff from videos is what I consider the most efficient way to take on new material. Everything on the screen is also tabbed, and there are chord diagrams, but nothing beats hearing and seeing stuff shown at regular and slow speeds. Check it out and see if this material can open up more than pages of tab of exact licks can.