Discuss the Banjo lesson: Rolling Backup in C Position



Do your rolls get stale when you play out of C? Let me heat 'em up and put some butter on top. We’ll work on creating movement within the chords, learn some transition and filler licks, then put it into practice with Red River Valley!


So, y’all, I put a lot of work into this one. It probably should have been 2 or 3 separate lessons. I also highly recommend you watch and are familiar with the processes of the Fiddle Tune Backup lesson.

Let me know your thoughts on this one after working your way through it.


Thanks, Ben. This is some interesting stuff that I can use at my weekly jam where the girls all like to sing in C!


will thiis work if you Capo 2nd fret with playing in the key of “D” ?


Yep! I think I talk about that somewhere, perhaps in the basics video, but these techniques are for any time you play out of C POSITION, not simply the key of C. Thanks!


Oh Boy, banjobenclark.com just gets better and better. Thank you so much for doing this Ben I really appreciate all the work you put into this lesson. I just got through the Scales and Triads segments and already I have learned a bunch of stuff I didn’t know.


It will help a lot of people, but I created this with you in mind, my friend.


Thanks Ben. I’ll get a lot out of this. Make sure to do a lesson on D rolling backup soon!


Check out this one when you get a chance and let me know what you think: https://banjobenclark.com/lessons/how-to-play-in-d-banjo


Thank so much for doing this, I’m still tinkering around with the rolling backup for fiddle tunes lessons. I’ve decided I’m going to work on it hard to get through it so that I can start on this one. Since backup is the majority of everything most folks play during a song it makes sense to be proficient at this and be able to do it on the fly.


Good deal, and be sure to ask questions along the way if you get confused or stuck.


Hi @BanjoBen

Measure 26 in the F triad section is shown as an A Chord.

I am a little puzzled as all the notes in that measure form pat of the F Chord. Did I miss something here?

I realise the second fret of the 3rd string is an A note


Yes, in the video I mention that those are the triad notes that are being highlighted, not the chord. Great question, thanks!




That’s a great lesson! But I’d still love to learn some rolls or licks that work specifically for backup in D. It’s a topic that doesn’t get discussed very often!


So, essentially you’d like the format I did with this C position lesson but with D instead?


Hi David, I think it’s fair to say that backup in general in ALL keys is a topic that doesn’t get the same level of exposure that teaching a break does despite the fact that 90% of the banjo players job is to play backup in a band situation.

It been a bit of a crusade of mine these past six or seven years trying to persuade most of the prominent teachers out there to include backup as part of their teaching syllabus. I am personally grateful that Ben has listened to my feedback on this very topic and has been making great efforts to address this problem and has begun to include lots more lessons on backup as part of his teaching program. I am sure he will in time get round to teaching backup in the key of D.

I am also hoping he will look at doing some Advance Lessons on Classic Scruggs Licks check out my earlier post.


Yes! In this one I enjoyed the transition licks and scale movement in addition to the basic roll patterns. I’m quite enjoying the recent videos that focus on backup. Seconding what Archie said on doing more backup lessons, we’d all appreciate it.


i agree


i should explain more. I have Banjo Bens, up the neck licks memorized but that is not enough for good backup. Not enough . Wayfare points in G was great. That added a little more, for G anyway. Seems like to me you cant get enough backup licks memorized, up the neck. Jams i go to they dont want to hear a thundering banjo behind the singer. So i go up the neck to be quieter. Just my opinion for what its worth.