Exercises for Three-Finger Banjo


“This is a must-have volume for the serious banjo player who wants to push the perceived limits of the banjo.”


Forty-five years of learning, performing, publishing and teaching is the foundation for this unique book that will improve the technique and musical knowledge of players at any level. There are DOZENS of method books and tune collections for the three-finger banjoist. However the market has been virtually devoid of a true exercises book until now.

This groundbreaking book is a valuable supplement to any three-finger method or teaching style. Exercises for Three-Finger Banjo features left and right hand drills in beginner through advanced Scruggs, single string, and melodic technique as well as music theory applied to the five-string banjo. Major, minor, seventh, augmented (whole-tone) and diminished scale fretboard patterns are included, as well as am explanation of modes. Incredibly useful Major scale fretboard diagrams spanning the entire fretboard are shown.

This book includes dozens of photos – proper body position, right-hand and left-hand position and fingering of unfamiliar formations. Scruggs style drills include: roll exercises, rhythm and emphasis, equal note spacing, syncopation and bounce, and improving the timing of slides, pulls, hammers and bends. Also, using two or three fingers for bends for more power and control. Single string and melodic exercises include: vertical and horizontal scales, scale sequences, dyad, triad and four-note (seventh) chord scales and double stops.

Other topics rarely discussed by teachers and instruction manuals: metronome training, assigning left-hand fingers, using a guide finger for faster chord changing, how to wear and bend the picks for the best tone, the Hatfield index and ring system for more efficient upper-neck fingering, physical exercises for developing finger and hand strength, using right hand digits on unfamiliar strings, efficient changing among chord forms, shape coded diagrams for memorizing the chord types and the number system graphically, never before codified melodic formations. The Carroll Best Formation is emphasized. This is an often neglected formation that produces DRIVE in melodic playing. because it allows familiar Scruggs right hand sequences. Dozens of practice tips and theory tidbits are included, and many beginner-intermediate learning pitfalls are revealed.

“A comprehensive book is common for classical and jazz players. As the banjo has moved to ever expanding musical horizons, this book will provide the tools required for that level of accomplishment… This is a must-have volume for the serious banjo player who wants to push the perceived limits of the banjo-RCB.” – BANJO UNLIMITED REVIEW, APRIL 2017

Weight 20 oz