THE BANJO ACCORDING to Danny Barnes

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About This Course

Roots music iconoclast Danny Barnes reveals his systematic approach to the banjo, with one-of-a-kind insights on improvisation, reading music, getting a good sound out of the banjo, rhythm and timing, and more.

DANNY BARNES

Widely regarded as one of the most innovative and genre-bending artists in contemporary roots music, Danny Barnes’ musical interests are varied and adventurous, and he incorporates that versatility into his progressive approach to the banjo.

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Although he demonstrates an appreciation for the history of the bluegrass, country, and folk music from which the banjo’s reputation was born, his inventive take on the instrument, using the banjo to play non-traditional music like rock, fusion, and jazz with electronic percussion and loop elements, is what truly separates him from his contemporaries.

 He’s also one of roots music’s great songwriters and performers. “A good song has a way of speaking to everybody,” Danny says. “I have faith that more people are going to hear my songs, which is really what I have to offer. I’m not one of those virtuoso instrumentalists, I can’t compete with those guys, but the one thing I can do is write really good songs.” Part Southern gentleman, part humble artist, Barnes is being more than a bit self-effacing with this statement.

Danny has come to redefine the banjo’s perceived image in an eclectic career for which genre definitions have merely been a polite suggestion. From his early days as the driving force behind the impressive Austin Texas–based Bad Livers, a band of pioneering Americana missionaries, through a prolific solo career and the development of his trademark “Barnyard Electronics” project, a startling approach that incorporates digital technology and various effect pedals to stretch the tonal range of the instrument, Danny has always listened to his proudly offbeat inner voice.

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Watch the video above to get a taste of what you’ll learn in Danny Barnes’ banjo course.

Sample Danny Barnes Banjo Lesson

The Right-Hand Stuff, Part 2: The 1 2 1 5 Roll

Danny talks about the second roll he thinks is important to practice and have in your repertoire, the 1 2 1 5 roll, which allows you to move a melody up and down the banjo neck on the first stringWith Notation/Tab

Danny Barnes Banjo Lessons

 A subscription to The Banjo According to Danny Barnes includes: 

  • Danny's one-of-a-kind insights on improvisation, reading music, getting a good sound out of the banjo, rhythm and timing, and more
  • New lessons added every month
  • Detailed tab/notation for selected lessons that concretely illustrate Danny's concepts 
  • High-quality video with multiple camera angles so you can see closeups of both hands in action

Get started now! Use promo code DannyLand at checkout and get your first month free or $20 off an annual subscription. Subscribe to The Banjo According to Danny Barnes course today for access to all of these banjo lessons and new material every month!  

DANNY BARNES

The Banjo According to Danny Barnes Danny talks about the things he’ll cover in his course, including improvisation, reading music, getting a sound out of the banjo, rhythm and timing, etc., and how they all fit into his system for approaching the banjo.

THE RIGHT-HAND STUFF

  • The Right-Hand Stuff, Part 1: The Forward Roll The engine of the banjo is the right hand, but as players advance, more attention is often paid to the left hand. On the banjo, if you have a good feel in the right hand, anything you play is going to sound pretty good. In this series of lessons, Danny looks at the right-hand and gives you advice on getting a good rhythm with your right hand. He starts by looking at a couple of rolls that are good to know, the forward roll and the 1 2 1 5 roll. In this video, he concentrates on the forward roll, showing you how to practice it with a metronome and get your rhythm smooth and even.
  • The Right-Hand Stuff, Part 2: The 1 2 1 5 Roll Danny talks about the other roll he thinks is important to practice and have in your repertoire, the 1 2 1 5 roll. The 1 2 1 5 roll allows you to move a melody up and down the banjo neck on the first string. Danny shows you how to do that on a tune like Alan Munde’s “Deputy Dalton” and how to practice the 1 2 1 5 roll with a metronome. He also shows you a variation that moves the middle-index finger alternation to the second and third strings (2 3 2 5) and third and second strings (3 4 3 5).
  • The Right-Hand Stuff, Part 3: Single-String Technique The third right-hand technique Danny talks about is called single-string technique, in which you alternate the thumb and index finger on one string. This technique is good for playing written melodies and scalar passages.
  • The Right-Hand Stuff, Part 4: Timing Danny talks about the importance of working with the metronome to hone your timing. He also talks about “feel,” how to push and pull the time, and the difference between “bluegrass time” and “blues” time. He demonstrates how to lock in with another player by playing with guitarist Scott Nygaard.
  • The Right-Hand Stuff, Part 5: Accompaniment Danny talks about getting a good sound and maintaining your feel when you’re accompanying someone. He’s joined by guitarist Scott Nygaard to demonstrate how Danny accompanies someone playing the traditional fiddle tune “Blackberry Blossom.”


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