Beginners in banjo will know all too well that it takes practice and effort to learn the instrument and become entirely familiar and comfortable with it. Still, they are more than willing to put in the time to get to know the banjo so they can reap the rewards of their hard work. But learning the banjo need not be all that difficult – especially if you can start with some simple and easy songs to play.
And believe me, there are plenty! Once you learn a tune or two, it can inspire and motivate you, even more, to move on to bigger things. To help you get started, here’s your best list of songs for playing the banjo as a beginner. You can learn all these easy banjo songs at JoffLowson.com
- Cripple Creek
Most every banjo player has heard of – and perfected- Cripple Creek, and there are plenty of good reasons why. For one, this song is easy to learn if you’re playing five-string banjo, and most banjo professionals and teachers highly recommend it. Cripple Creek is always on the list of songs for banjo players because it’s easy to play and great fun too.
- Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace is easy to play on the banjo, most of the notes are on open strings. It’s a song that everybody knows, and it’s always going to be easier to learn to play something when you have the melody firmly in your mind before you start.
- Take Me Home, Country Roads
A well-loved favorite with which many of us are familiar, this classic John Denver song is a great one for beginner banjo players. Most of the notes are in simple fingering positions, and the tempo is not too quick. This tune is known for being pretty simple yet allows you to play some fancy rolls and pinches once you’ve learnt the basic structure.
- Waggon Wheel
Like Country Roads, everyone will join in with you and sing the chorus once you learn to play this song! Interestingly enough, this song was written over a long period of time. The chorus was written by Bob Dylan in 1973 but the verses were added 25 years later by a member of the Old Crow Medicine show, for whom this became a career-defining hit.
- Duelling Banjos
If you want something extra exciting to learn, you can go for Duelling Banjos, This was featured in the 1973 film Deliverance and became one of the most popular banjo tunes of all time, selling millions of records. The original version was called ‘Feuding Banjos’ recorded in 1954 by Arthur Smith. There’s a rumor that Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs played on the original recording, but they never spoke a word about it. This song is much easier to play than you might think, although it’s going to take you time and a lot of practice to get up to the speed of the film!
- Buffalo Gals
An old folk standard going back to the 1800s, this song has just two chords G and D which change in a very regular manner making this song ideal for beginners to learn about chords and jamming skills. The melody is mostly 8th notes, so you are playing at half the speed the banjo is normally played. You can add some three-finger rolls to make it more spectacular.