Plectrum Banjo Challenge Part 1

I would like to present a challenge for plectrum banjoists. I’m going to leave this up unanswered for one week, then start giving some hints. Why? Because I have several points to make, and this is the best way for me to make them! My ultimate goal in this exercise is to cause learning, and to serve as a teaser for the publication of my jazz improv book (hopefully by summer). 

My ulterior motive here is to conduct an informal poll; even if you are totally stymied by it (especially if you are, actually!), I would like you to answer the questions in order. You can do this either on Facebook or in the comment section below (or even in private message if you don’t want to share with the world).

Don’t be discouraged to start; I will be teaching this over the next several weeks. It is actually very simple; I believe anyone at any ability level can be taught to play and understand it (and possibly to use it in actual music!). Give me the opportunity to prove that. This is how I learn to teach; just because something works for me doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for someone else—and I want to know that and why or why-not!

Please, I can’t tell you what to do of course, but I would like you to participate—whatever your ability level—so we can actually all learn something from this. I’ll mention participants and the results of this test in the acknowledgement page of my book. Thanks!

Open up the PDF and take the challenge!

6 comments on “Plectrum Banjo Challenge Part 1Add yours →

  1. Can you read it? Yes

    Can you figure out the fingering? Yes

    Can you tell me what scale/chord/type? Maybe, I believe it to be a C diminished.

    Can you play it? Yes

    Sound “hip” or “weird”? Little weird.

    Worth my time? Yes

    1. Aced it! I don’t want to respond any deeper until I’ve heard from a few others. Thanks for playing!

  2. Ron, I am on holidays for a couple of weeks and banjo-less, but I will try this when i get back home in mid-February.


  3. 1) yes, but the 2flats are little confusing at first sight. After second reading its OK.
    2)I have found the one on the fifth position and than move 3 frets in next measure, etc. What is the second best?
    3)Cdim, Ebdim …….
    4)Yes, after practising. Need to accustom my ear.
    5)Yes. I am looking for everything, that helps me to play solos, and not only straight fours in the rhythm section. Thank You for doing this.

    1. Lukas; #2: You can also do it on the 1st fret, 2nd string, moving up 3 frets in each measure. I will be posting Part 2 soon with TAB to show fingerings. #4: It does stretch the ear a bit! Thank you for your answers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.