Discuss the Banjo lesson: The Foggy Mountain Lick



Yes, your grandma will disown you if you don’t know this lick. Learn it.


What is the reason that people insist on dropping the thumb to the second free in this lick? Is there a technical reason? Or is it because that’s what earl Scruggs did?


That’s the way Earl did it and it sounds good. The thumb being stronger you get more emphasis.

Not everyone uses the thumb


Dropping the thumb will get you thru the lick quicker than a double finger once you get proficient. In my opinion the dropped thumb will also get you out of the lick faster.


Exactly what the above 2 said. You definitely want to use your thumb to get in the habit now. In time, when you’re playing Foggy Mountain Breakdown at 163 BPM, you’ll be glad you did. Not many people can play that lick at that speed with just their fingers, and most of those who can don’t make it sound right.


Good to know. Thanks for the replies guys


Coll where about in Scotland are U located ?




I’ll also see Russ play this lick without using his thumb…just because he can.


I know he can play it that way, I went looking for it but this arrangement popped out at me


Let me tell you how true this is. My grandma had me play Foggy Mountain Breakdown at her funeral. Grandmas love FMBD.


Dude are you serious? I played it at my wife’s grandpa’s funeral…he demanded it! It was weird but I did it anyway.


Ha! That’s so cool.

Yeah, that was the 3rd song I learned on banjo when I was 13. She told me then and several times over the years, “I want you to play that Foggy Mountain song at my funeral.” She got it. 12 long minutes of FMBD with a little I’ll Fly Away sprinkled in to break up the monotony… all while people were filing by for their last viewing.

The funny thing was, people were enjoying the music so much they wouldn’t leave. A couple of dozen just stuck around by the casket. :laughing:



Mark and Ben… I like that story so much!