Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: Banjo Forward Roll Study

You’ve learned some basic chords and now ready to focus in on the forward roll. I have 3 variations of the forward roll that will keep you brain from forming bad habits and misconceptions about the roll as we learn a cool tune.

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question as to how much I need to practice a lesson, do I need to achieve proficiency before moving on?
is proficient at full speed without error or pausing?

Hey buddy! Great question! I do not think you need to have it up to speed before moving on, but rather have it in your brain. A good sign is to be able to complete it without any error or pause, as you said. And a good way to achieve that is to memorize it, especially the more simple lessons like this one. Keep pickin’!

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im kinda a beginner myself , but i read somewhere cant remember where. but it got stuck in my brain.
“if you practice slow you learn fast, if you practice fast you learn slow”
“if you can´t play it slow - you can´t play it fast”


As a beginner also, I am finding the metronome is my friend. Starting it at a slower speed and building speed in time with the metronome is very helpful.


I may have missed something in the video, but why are we not fretting the 2nd string at the first fret for D7? Thanks!

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I’m keeping things as simple as possible in this lesson. It’s not fretted because the 2nd string is not played while over the D7 chord. You’re encouraged to place it down, however. Thanks!


The mp3s are only playing the first 12 measures correct?

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Hi Darren,
The Mp3s play through the entire PDF tab…24 measures.

if you listen to the first one (with the banjo) you can hear the example of how it goes with the rhythm.



I literally just got my banjo in the mail last week (I have been playing guitar for 17 years, and mandolin on and off about 10). These resources have been awesome! So much good info here!


Thanks so much, @nicole! And please spread the word :slight_smile:

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Welcome to Banjo Ben Nicole, I know for sure your gonna have a lot of fun learning banjo here I am sure you will also find lot’s of goodies to add to your repertoire 17 years experience of guitar & mandolin playing.:santa::santa::santa:

I’ve been playing guitar for 50 years. Finger picking for at least 40. I thought it would be a simple transition to banjo. Boy, was I wrong. Banjo is fascinating. Instead of the same picking pattern through most of the song, the picking hand changes up the combination frequently.
My years of playing might benefit me in a few ways. That is, finger placement, chording, etc. But backing way down to beginner level as a banjo player requires me to master picking combinations. It is challenging, entertaining, frustrating, satisfying, and compelling.
I have a whole new appreciation for this art form.
I offer encouragement to everyone who feels frustrated or discouraged. It’s not a race, it’s a journey. Enjoy the trip.

All the best,



ohh take this the right way. but i am actually glad when i read your post.
with your experience and you think its hard. then maybe im not a sluggish oldtimer. and it is a hard instrument i choose.

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ANY instrument is challenging when first learning it (for reference" I play 5 of them at various levels). Although some things do transfer over, like the plectrum from guitar to mandolin, or fingering technique between banjo,guitar & mando, or the tuning of mando and fiddle, there are still enough differences to make each one a challenge in itself.

Learning, in itself, is a learning experience. It takes a while ot figure out how you learn best. Tab,notation, by ear, visually…all are possible tools, but they don’t all work as well for each person. Time management, concentration, endurance, dexterity, and attentive listening, all play a part in the learning process, and all take time.

We all learn at different speeds and the thing to keep in mind is 1( if you put in the effort you will make progress (which is really the goal)…and 2) you’re doing it for FUN and enjoyment…there is no make or break test upon completion…


Nice post!

Thanks Archie😁

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Just joined Gold Pick and was wondering about the MP3 Im guessing that the 3 MP3 following the 1st (Bile Them Cabbage forward roll slow) are Guitar accompaniments at faster speeds to get used to playing with someone. Besides just playing alone?

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First of all, it’s good to have you on board @Woody! Yep, those are to practice along with. You can listen to the top one to hear what it’s supposed to sound like.

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yes, they are backup tracks.

One slower, one same speed, one faster in this lesson.

ha ben beat me to it…