Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Banjo Roll Hangup

Hello, I am new to the banjo and working/practicing Ben’s “Banjo Rolls”. I seem to have a hang up with my timing and wanted to know if anyone else has run into this & has suggestions or tips to get over it.

Hard to explain but I keep hearing triplets when I attempt my 4/4 rolls. I have mental block counting “1 and, 2 and, 3 and, 4 and”.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Is this happening on all rolls? I can see getting a Forward or Backward roll confused with playing triplets but this shouldn’t happen on an Alternating Thumb roll.

How long have you been working on them and how many different rolls? I suggest getting one thing down correctly before starting another, or start another when you absolutely can’t stand to work on the first any more.

Rolls like any other technique take some time and many,many, many repetitions to get use to. It can take many thousand repetitions for some rolls to be in time (this is usually the case with anything for me) .

Do you have a metronome you could use? This does the counting for you…I suggest setting it at one click per note, that way there is no counting unless you have a quarter note n the roll (this would be two clicks).

You may be trying to play too fast.

Hope this helps some. Have patience, it takes a while, but getting it down right from the beginning really pays off in the long run. I might could help through Skype if you have it also.

Agree with tips Fiddlewood gave you already, these should help you. I have one more idea you could try:

Using a text instead of 1 and 2 and 3 … might help you to talk/sing the proper rhythm when you are playing the notes of the role making it easier to play them as should, best using words of 1 or 2 syllables.
E.g. I (1) Am (and) Play (2) -ing (and) on (3) my (and) ban (4) -jo (and) ; I admit, it seems stupid and you probably won’t do this when anyone’s around :sunglasses: but it does work.

And most of all, give yourself some time to get acquainted with the specificity of banjo and the rhythms of all the rolls.

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: hoho…Seriously! (giggle) This is one of the most inventive, simple, useful, straight forward, FUN hints I have ever read or heard being given to a novice player!

It works for other instruments too…

Now if you don’t mind…This Is fun!
I am play-ing-on-my- Ban-jo



:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

I- -play-ing-on-my-ban-jo
I-am- -ing- -my- -jo

must…stop…must…resist…temptation…aghhh!.. :laughing: :laughing:

Sweet! Or when you do get to intentionally playing in 3…
This is a Tri pull let

I know “triplet” can be said with 2 syllables, but I am originally from KY and we kind of add syllables and remove them as we see fit.

And for something a bit different
Three a gainst a two is real hard

Happy New Year all, thanks for the suggestions… I will work on rolls with tricks.
Banjo is new to me and I have to have a little patients working thru the basics.

Again , thanks for the idea’s

JR, I am not a banjo guy, but I suspect it’s similar to travis picking guitar (which I do). It’s a bit tedious at first, but then with time and repetition, all the sudden, BAM! You can just do it without thinking. That’s when it gets fun. Hang in there and let us know how it progresses.

Also adjust the speed on Ben’s tabledit files so that you can practice at a really slow pace (always stopping at difficult areas and playing those over and over). Of course this is after you work on the rolls slowly, and precisely first (as fiddlewood already advised). Accuracy first, then speed will always come later.

That “I am playing on my banjo” thing is a good idea. I was going to just say tap your foot loudly.

when i first started playing banjo i drove my family nuts practicing rolls.i would sit on the couch watching tv with my banjo in my lap constantly doing forward,reverse ,alternating,forward/reverse rolls.but you know i started getting good at it and after awhile they quit complaning [so much].

ONE ANSWER, metronome ! wIll improve timing! You can slow it down to your pace!

Remember, you can practice rolls anywhere, even while driving, for example!

Okay, I know that I am a newbie here and on banjo, but I think I understand the question because the “triplet thing” initially hung me up as well. In a 4/4 signature, I kind of expected things to be logical on the 4th beat of the measure. However, the forward and reverse roll patterns I started off learning are three eighth notes and then repeat three more times for a total of four rolls in the tab. If I play four eighth note rolls at 4/4 time, then I will have completed two and two-thirds rolls at the end of the first measure with the balance of the four rolls – four eighth notes or one and one-third of a roll – falling in the second measure followed by a half rest. So it takes a measure and a half to complete four rolls and the phrase ends mid way into the next measure. It was natural for me to think of the roll as an individual grouping of three – a triplet – within a beat, not split over a beat and a half. It started making more sense to me as I began stringing together rolls and using quarter notes and rests to flesh it all out. I guess that contributes to the syncopation that is so often referred to in bluegrass.

I’m sure this makes sense only to me, though… :confused:

I love how mreisz says he ain’t a banjo guy, yet comments on all the banjo threads. mike…time to come clean…you ARE a banjo guy! Now get out of the closet!!!

Oh no!!! It’s finally happened… I’ve been asked to come out of the closet… probably has something to do with my pink guitar :smiley:

Unfortunately, I am not a banjo player. I tried it fairly earnestly for about a month (before Ben had his site) and it was fun, but it was kind of slow going. One of these days, I will give it another shot. I think I would do much better with Ben’s help (as well as the help of all the forum members).

Good to see you back on the forums, Lafaminit! How’s the playing coming along?

Still pickin’ and grinnin’. Life keeps getting in the way, so I can’t hang out as much as I’d like to. Maybe one day I can be a full time banjer player. i’ve heard you can make hundreds of dollars doing that…

Is that in a year LOL I got fed some great beans and they took up a collection to pay for our gas but have never made money playing MMM Maybe there is a reason for that .

— Begin quote from "Lafaminit"

Still pickin’ and grinnin’. Life keeps getting in the way, so I can’t hang out as much as I’d like to. Maybe one day I can be a full time banjer player. i’ve heard you can make hundreds of dollars doing that…

— End quote

I think you heard it wrong…it was probably “spend hundreds of dollars” . :smiley: