Bela Fleck Celtic Medley - how to play, how to make tab


I love the Celtic melody in that Bela Fleck song. I would love to learn how to play it, but I cannot find any tabs for it. I do not mind making my own, but I am new to banjo and do not know how to start. How do you go about identifying notes and strings other musicians are using so you can make the tab for it?


Hi Joe, This is not a skill I possess so I am unable to offer any direct help. Have you tried writing to Bela ?

In my experience professional players are a lot more approachable than you might think and you have a 50% chance that you will get a positive response. Certainly worth a try. Check out his website.


That’s a really tough skill to master. Identifying notes is hard enough, especially when a full band is overlaying the main instrument, but correctly identifying which string and fret to play really makes it tough. There are some notes that could be played in 3, maybe even 4 places on the neck. So the trick is to put the notes in context with surrounding notes in hopes of finding a hand position that makes sense.

If you can find him playing it on video, that helps a lot. Otherwise, I recommend Archie’s suggestion.


Hi Joe,

There are a couple of guy’s over on the Banjo Hangout that tab stuff out from scratch, Jack Baker, Richard Van Patten and Mooooo are some that spring to mind who may be willing to help. Also Tom Arri has produced some great TABs from scratch. Tom & Jack are the guy’s that helped me get started with TablEdit.


After doing some searching for this yesterday, I discovered Bela Fleck has a couple of instructional books on the banjo. In the description of the book, it mentions Celtic style. Has anyone gotten one of his books and seen if it does teach this? I might have to buy one and see. I have tried learning from books in the past, however, it is more difficult as they do not normally tell you which fingers to use on the left hand. That is fine, if they follow chords, but when it is free hand stuff, you really need to know what is most efficient so you practice properly in order to get faster. That is what I love about Ben’s style of teaching. He breaks it down for you and tells you when it matters to use specific fingers. :slight_smile:


Try this Joe


Thank you for that. I did not realize he had a DVD. I will have to check it out. He looks so young in that video.