A Book Of Five Strings - online tutorial

Strategies for mastering the art of old time banjo.

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I'm not just being smart here, it's important that you understand this. Sometimes we worry so much about improving that we lock ourselves up and stop making any progress at all.
Today you play this way.
Tomorrow you may play another way.
The only important thing is that you are playing.
Give yourself time to grow, and be aware that if you look too far ahead you won't see the wonderful things in front of you right now.
Dealing With The Fifth String
People think that the fifth string is a problem when it comes to playing in keys other than G or C, but that isn't exactly true. All you have to do is tune or capo the fifth string to match the root, third or fifth note of your "I chord".
Alternate Tunings
I hardly ever use alternate tunings for the banjo. I really can't stand playing with people who have to retune every time the music moves to another key.
If you want to use an alternate tuning that's cool, just keep in mind that no matter what you tune the strings to the fretboard is still going to follow the chromatic scale. What that means is that everything we have covered here from scale patterns to movable chord forms can be applied to any tuning. The fingerings will change, but rules like the sequence of whole and half notes that build major or minor scales stay the same.
This isn't just true on the banjo. It will work on any fretted instrument. Go work out a scale on a guitar or a mandolin. They are different instruments with different tunings, but they all work under the same system.
Learn one thing and you learn ten thousand things.
Learning Tunes In three Easy Steps
1.  Figure out the rhythm.
2.  Identify the key and chord progression.
3.  Start playing along.
That's all there is to it. Any stylistic preferences you bring into the game will just gum up the works.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III