Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #012, John Henry I

Hi All,

This is where you start to pick on the banjo. Take your time and go very slowly when you are starting out. Dont be in a hurry so as to play the song too fast, because timing is what you are striving for. A song or a tune doesnt have to be played fast for it to sound good or even to achieve Drive if thats your goal. Always strive for good timing and clarity of your notes. Try to make your notes sound as clean as you can. Be careful to get the proper fretting with your left hand to achieve that clarity. Remember to place your fingers just behind the desired fret. When I referred to the term "Drive", to me that means that the sound of what you are doing has great momentum and purpose, like a freight train rolling down the tracks. A train doesnt have to go fast to get to its destination, but along the way it always has great purpose and momentum. I have to say as well that a song doesn't need to be played with Drive all the time. Sometimes a song or tune doesnt call for drive, but maybe a different feel to get the desired sound and feel that you are trying to achieve in any given arrangement.

Rock On Everyone,



  1. Thank you for these lessons i am about to start playing the banjo..

  2. A few weeks ago, I printed out the tab for John Henry (Lesson #012) as a 8.5 x 11 page. Now when I try to do it, it's a very small image (maybe 2 x 3) and when I enlarge it, it's too fuzzy to read. Has something changed?

    Enjoying your lessons very much!!!!!