10 Songs Every Banjo Player Should Know


#1

I am looking for input into the 10 songs every banjo player must know. I am an intermediate player (or so it seems by Banjo Ben’s tabs) and I want to make sure I can cover the basics. So, give me your list of songs.


Learn the Classics
#2

I don’t think that I can play 10 songs but here’s a few that I do know and feel are essential. I’m beginner - intermediate level I guess:

Cripple Creek
John Hardy
Black Mountain Rag
Foggy Mtn Breakdown (I don’t know up the neck part yet)
Jed Clampett
Duelin’ Banjos (I only know basic Ben’s version)


#3

Here is the list for 25 “jamming tunes” for this years’* Mid-West Banjo Camp* :smiley:

MBC’s Official List of Bluegrass Jamming Tunes

Amazing Grace
Banjo in the Hollow
Bile 'em Cabbage Down
Blue Ridge Cabin Home
Bury Me Beneath the Willow
Clinch Mountain Backstep
Cripple Creek
Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Good Old Mountain Dew
I Saw the Light
John Hardy
Little Cabin Home on the Hill
Little Maggie
Lonesome Rd. Blues
Long Journey Home (Two Dollar Bill)
Mama Don’t Allow No Music (Played Round Here)
New River Train
Nine Pound Hammer
Old Home Place
Old Joe Clark
Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms
Salt Creek
Salty Dog
Soldiers Joy
Wabash Cannonball
Will the Circle be Unbroken
Worried Man Blues


#4

This is a useful thread. I was wondering how you would learn them by skill level. Im learning cripple creek right now and im a beginner. Wondering what should i learn next.

I heard foggy mountain breakdown and that seems really advanced. Probably save that for last?


#5

Wow! thanks for both lists! So far, I have 14 of the 25 down. MSwhat, I have all but Black Mountain Rag down (I picked up the first half just messing around but do not have it well enough to jam). Personally, I would probably add:
Rocky Top (I am from TN)
Blackberry Blossom
Dueling Banjos (Everyone asks for this song, Ballad of Jed Clampett)
Flint Hill Special


#6

— Begin quote from "Toango"

This is a useful thread. I was wondering how you would learn them by skill level. Im learning cripple creek right now and im a beginner. Wondering what should i learn next.

I heard foggy mountain breakdown and that seems really advanced. Probably save that for last?

— End quote

As soon as you’re comfortable with your rolls I say jump right in on Foggy Mtn Breakdown. I learned FMB from Rob Bourassa’s Youtube channel. You’ll have to search out all the parts but it’s very good and if I can learn it ANYBODY can learn it. Get the basics from that free lesson series and then work on the up the neck parts and licks from Ben’s tabs. I believe Ben’s video is free.

I’ve always said learn what you like. Yeah there are a lot of difficult songs but I think most all of them can be toned down for beginner or intermediate players who aren’t quite up to speed yet.

Another good option would be to go through all of Ben’s beginner vids one by one and then move on to intermediate. Keep us posted on what you decide to tackle next.


#7

Hi Toango, the skill level is different for everyone à little bit. For example, I really struggle with pull offs so a song with that is always harder to learn, but for someone else it might be something else. However, I manage to learn every song by starting with small bits and a metronome at low speed (metronomeonline.com or a free app on smartphone or tablet helps you anywhere). Eventually, I choose a song either beginner or intermediate and sometimes advanced, because I like it the best at that moment and I just want to be able to play it. It will just take longer sometimes :slight_smile:. And yeah, sometimes I do give up for the moment. But it learns you on what techniques you should focus when practicing.

On topic: great list, I see i’ve have got some work to do! Oeffh


#8

Toango,
My first songs on banjo were the following in this order: Banjo in the Hollow, Cripple Creek, Old Joe Clark, and then for the 4th tune–Foggy Mountain Banjo.
Best


#9

Saw this list and noticed I only have 8 of the 25 down.

“Honey, get my banjer! Looks like I gotta increase my practice time.” :smiley:


#10

— Begin quote from "fiddlewood"

Here is the list for 25 “jamming tunes” for this years’* Mid-West Banjo Camp* :smiley:

MBC’s Official List of Bluegrass Jamming Tunes

Bile 'em Cabbage Down

— End quote

That’s a medically accurate description of digestion, but I don’t think I’d want to see or hear a performance of that song. :cry:


#11

“Clinch Mountain Backstep” is a standard tune in my circles. Pretty easy to learn on mandolin, not sure about banjo.


#12

Not accounting for level of difficulty, if I could play banjo (which I don’t), the three songs I would want to learn early on are:
Cripple Creek
The Ballad of Jed Clampett
Foggy Mountain Breakdown

I know… I am pretty generic, but those are the songs that come to mind.


#13

we cant leave out… Rueben,Flint hill special,I’ll fly away…


#14

Ok…are these song a player should know because of what you learn from them? Or is it because that’s what other people want to hear?


#15

I would say the answer is both. These are songs people want to hear, and they are songs that stretch you musically for a long time. You are a pretty accomplished banjo player by the time you learn 10, or 25 of the most popular banjo songs.


#16

wao it was really informative


#17

Essential song to know…“Happy Birthday”…Be ready for it cause it will find you no matter where you play!

JB


#18

Good call on Happy Birthday. I like to play it on a ukulele. I bet it would be awesome on beardedBanjo’s banjulele!


#19

Learned that on the banjolele a few weeks back for my daughter’s 5th birthday. Talk about a hit!


#20

Cripple Creek
Fireball Mail
Earl’s Breakdown
Ballad of Jed Clampett
Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Reuben’s Train
Flint Hill Special
Little Darlin’ Pal of mine
Molly and Tenbrooks
Down the Road
Clinch Mountain Backstep
Dueling banjos

GOSPEL
I saw the light
I’ll fly away
Will the circle be unbroken

Yeah I know, that’s a total of 15, sorry :smiley: … PS, Jingle Bells is pretty cool too