Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Banjo Licks Question

I am a beginner and can play quite a few songs now on the old 5 string. I would like to make my existing songs a little more interesting by playing up the neck and using other licks. For example with cripple creek.

My question is can you use any licks as long as they are in the same key as the song and when do you implement them in order to not ruin the melody of the original tune?

I hope this makes sense and I hope someone out there can help me!

Thanks in advance

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Great question, @stu.g.smi! I actually answer those questions quite a bit in my build-a-break lesson series on the site. Go to the banjo page and select “build-a-break” from the left margin. All of those lessons start out with a basic melody interpretation then I teach you how to beef them up, and why I do it :slight_smile:

To answer your questions, yes, they’re good if they’re over the same chord. But sometimes you get a “cool” factor by playing the same licks over different chords. Ruining the melody is a subjective thing. I love the melody, but you have the freedom to express yourself after establishing the melody, especially if you return to it every now and then.

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