Nashville Skyline Rag


Is anyone (like me) in the process of learning Nashville Skyline rag? I have been playing it for about 6 months and would like to know when the melody is going to appear!! LOL. My speed is picking up but I am not even close to playing it as fast as Ben! I would just like to get an Idea how long it took others on here to learn it and play it before you started hearing a definite melody come through! PS: I have been playing banjo for 3 years. Thanks !!!


I’ve been playing for a little over three years now (3 yrs from Jan 2013).

We all learn at different rates. And it also depends on previous musical experience. For instance, I played guitar (and piano) for many years before I started to learn the banjo so that most of my learning is focused on the right hand.

And it also depends on your practice routine. Again me, I have a lot of free time so I practice at least a few hours a day.

For me, learning the banjo has been all about repetition. So you play a song with a G lick. Then you play another song with the same G lick and another and another. So you repeat this G lick maybe 25 or 50 times a day by playing these songs over and over again. And eventually you’ve played that lick so ofter that your hands automatically remember it. So playing a G lick becomes easy at that point.

Now for me, there was a minimum number of licks and phrases and hand positions I needed to learn like that to get to a tipping point. Now, most songs are pretty easy for me to at least get to sound halfway like they should.

So I think you just need to keep plugging away there. Be confident that every day you practice you will show a little improvement and that one day you’ll get to that tipping point.

I will say though that I learned Nashville Skyline about 10 months in. It took me quite a while to getting it sound halfway decent (and it probably still sounds only halfway decent when I play it now!). Maybe a year (I don’t really remember) from when I started (I still play that song every day). It doesn’t really have a melody so it’s more about riffing which may make it harder to make sound like it should.