Single String Banjo Lesson With Hank Smith

by David Bandrowski

In this banjo lesson, Hank Smith shows you how to incorporate your middle finger into your single string playing on the 5 string banjo. Single string playing is a technique where your right hand picks multiple notes in succession on the same string, thus allowing you to play lines similar to that of a guitar player. 

Banjoist Don Reno was famous for this style starting in the 1950's. Bela Fleck took this style of playing into a whole new universe starting in the 1980's. These artists mainly used a 2 finger approach when playing single string phrases, using their thumb and index finger. They would essentially play like they would if they were using a flatpick where the thumb takes the notes on the downbeat and the index finger takes the notes on the upbeat. 

Today, players like Ryan Cavanaugh and Noam Pikelny are advancing the single string technique once again by incorporating their middle finger into their single string phrases. In this lesson Hank Smith will show you how to do this and will talk about the advantages that it can give you. Enjoy!

Let us know if this lesson helps you and if you have any questions or things you would like demonstrated in the comments below. Good luck!


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