10 February 2022

Folk-tune arrangement for 5-string banjo

In a substantial new post on the Deering Banjo Company blog, UK banjoist Jamie Francis writes:

This article is designed to guide you through the entire process of arranging folk tunes on the fingerpicking 5-string banjo. I’ll be talking you through the thought processes, and techniques, that I would use, as well as helping you to build up some useful skills along the way. I’ve always felt there was a bit of a leap between the simplified versions of tunes that you might learn initially, and the complex, inventive arrangements that a skilled folk band would put together. Hopefully, I can help you bridge this gap.

The Irish jig in D which is used here as a working example is approached in four stages with several sets of exercises in tablature and video demonstrations for each stage. This is a foretaste of Francis's new book, The complete tune playing toolkit for 5-string banjo, published by Mel Bay and also available from Deering. Twelve of the forty tunes listed in the contents are American old-time tunes.

© Richard Hawkins

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