Back-Up Banjo

Back-up Banjo


Basic bluegrass ensemble playing uses back-up that supports the overall band sound. One approach to learning this kind of back-up playing is to use repeatable phrases of two or more measures over the chord changes. The examples below show repeatable G chord phrases using left-hand slides beginning one fret below the chord tones of G-B-D:

These left-hand slides are ornamental slurs. Therefore, if you slightly delay the left-hand slide to coincide with the plucking of the following note in the right hand pattern, you can get the “professional sounding” timing effect. The first example below is a slide on the fourth string which is slightly delayed to coincide with the striking of the third string:

Fourth String Lead:


Did you hear it? The same idea is employed for the third and second-string slides. 

Third String lead:


Second String Lead:


These three simple slide exercise examples will help you get a feel for great sounding G chord back-up licks.