One of the most important places for a bluegrass banjo player to find themselves is in a jam session. This, of course, is where most of the learning (and fun) happens. It’s important, however, for this player to have a grasp on a sizable vocabulary of adaptable licks with which to craft solos. Having this skill in your back pocket is what makes a great bluegrass banjo player rise above the rest.
In his course, 30 Bluegrass Banjo Licks You MUST Know, Ned Luberecki works with you on licks for playing in C, D, Em, F, G, A, and Am chords so you can be prepared when it’s your time to shine at the jam.
Here are six video bluegrass banjo lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Ned Luberecki’s 30 Bluegrass Banjo Licks You MUST Know on TrueFire!
Bluegrass Banjo Lesson – A Bunch of Pull-Offs in C – Lick 12
This lick uses a lot of pull-offs in much the same way that a clawhammer banjo player might use them. The slide and final pull-off at the end are reminiscent of something a flat-pick guitarist like Doc Watson or Tony Rice might play.
Bluegrass Banjo Lesson – D Chicken Pickin’ – Lick 17
This one reminds me of country “Chickin Pickin'” electric guitar playing. You can resolve this one back to D or to G if you replace the last D note with the open G string.
Bluegrass Banjo Lesson – Scruggsy F – Lick 21
Here’s a lick for either the key of F or to play over an F chord in the key of G. Every now and then you’ll need to play a tune out of the open F chord position and this will give you a couple of measures worth of Scruggsy sounding pull-offs to help.
Bluegrass Banjo Lesson – Em Bluesy – Lick 23
This one combines a handfull of pull-offs into a really bluesy sounding lick for an Em chord. You’ll need to play a couple of consecutive notes on the 3rd string. Watch the right hand fingering for this one.
Bluegrass Banjo Lesson – Moveable Hammer/Pull Combo – Lick 27
This lick uses the open 5th string, so it’s best when used with chords in the key of G, but it can be used over the barre chord position in A, C, D, Bb, F, G and their relative minors (F#m, Am, Bm, Gm, Dm and Em). The tabbed versions are for C and D, but once you can play the lick, try it out in different positions for different chords.
Bluegrass Banjo Lesson – Melodic Fiddle Tune Ending – Lick 30
This is the standard fiddle tune ending lick. It’s often also followed by the “Shave and a Haircut” lick. The variation uses a triplet in the beginning to add a little extra sparkle.
Digging these free bluegrass banjo lessons? Check out Ned Luberecki’s 30 Bluegrass Banjo Licks You MUST Know.